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Maps Blog

November
12

Released: Bing Maps UK

If you’re in the UK and go to Bing Maps via Bing.com/maps you will get redirected to Multimap.com…or, at least you would’ve until now. Going to Bing Maps will take you to the new Bing Maps experience in the UK. We’ve introduced a slough a features just for the UK market (and some shared with the US market). Also, for those who still want the Multimap.com experience you can still access it directly via Multimap.com; however, over the next few weeks you will be asked if you’d like try the new Bing Maps experience instead – I’d advise you try it. Once you go Bing, you never go…wait. Never mind. Check out the features.

  • Redesigned Navigation – An updated navigation bar that matches up with that of Bing Maps US – changing the colors to black and adding a zoom bar instead of just zoom buttons; however, you’ll also notice in the drop down when you hover over the Road (maps link) you’ll see in addition to the Road map options for London Street Map and Ordnance Survey Map, plus thumbnails of each.

 

 

  • Default Search: Location – Since this is Bing MAPS, and based on user feedback we thought it made sense to default search queries to location instead of business. So, put in a location and you’ll be directed accordingly.
  • Collins Bartholomew Maps – The popular and well know A-to-Z style maps are now available via our friends at Collins Bartholomew. The A-to-Z style maps provide a high level of detail in a very readable format. These are great for getting to know you way around London.

 

  • Ordnance Survey Maps – Maps for the outdoorsman (or outdoorswoman)! Our friends at Ordnance Survey provide a broad range over maps including their popular Explorer and Landranger maps for the hiker in you – mountain or urban!

 

  • Public Transportation Station Symbology – Symbols representing the different types of public transit are now clearly marked on the map. We no longer have clashing or overlapping symbols – they are just nicely arranged next to each other. You can hover over a station symbol to identify what the station name is. Also, each symbol is clickable to give you information about the station such as name, the lines that cross it and a link to the Transportation for London web site for planning your trip. You can also get directions to/from the station or email a Bing Maps link pointing to the station location to a friend.

 

  • Tube Maps – Clicking on one of the stations brings up the Tube Maps for the respective station and the stations it connects to; however, you can turn on all Tube Maps by clicking the respective link in the Welcome Panel.

 

  • Nearby Stations – Certain location query types, such as “EC4a 2dy” will result in a pin on the map, as well as a popup providing the closest stations to the respective location and how far away they are. Also including in the results are links to Directions, Saving the pushpin to My Places and Emailing a link to a friend.

 

  • What’s Nearby – Also in location results, the Welcome Panel will pop out and provide you with a list of business types that are around the respective area. These will be business categories that reside within the area. Also, notice the link to Explore Wikipedia information right inside of Bing Maps.

 

  • Explore User Contributions – If you want to see what other people have contributed (not only to Wikipedia that is now being pulled into Bing Maps), you can explore Collection Items with Photos, 3D Models, MapCruncher Layers and Photosynths (contributed via Photosynth.com). These are available via the Explore option in the Welcome menu.

 

  • Walking Directions – This concept is foreign to me since I grew up in LA (and nobody walks in LA, per the Missing Persons), but I can see how Londoners would like walking directions. It’s now available in the Route Planner (and you can use KM too).

 

  • London Congestion Charge Warnings – London has a system using cameras to charge you for passing through a sort of toll area. These areas will now be identified within your route instructions on Bing Maps. Don’t want to pay the charge? Use the draggable maps option to drag a route around the area.

 

  • Draggable Routes – If you need to change your route you can either enter an additional location in the Route Planner or just grab the route with your mouse cursor and drag it to where you want to go. This will regenerate the route for you.
  • New Popup Behaviors – Popups are now activated via mouse-click, rather than mouse hover. They also remain raised if you move the mouse away. Close them via the close symbol, clicking on another pushpin, or clicking on the base map.
  • Embeddable Maps - You can now take a map view right from Bing Maps and embed it into your site. To do this, you’ll want to click the Share button once your map is where you want it to be. You can copy the embed code from there; or, you can click the Customize View link which will take you to the embeddable map customizer (EMC). The EMC allows you to set a map to the map height and width (small, medium, large or custom); the map type (static or draggable); the map styles (road, aerial, aerial w/ labels); and, add links to Bing Maps for Viewing a Larger Map, Getting Directions or seeing Bird’s Eye. Once you’ve set everything the way you want it, click Generate Code and boom! there’s your code. You copy it, then paste it into your web page and you’ll have the map you wanted.

 

  • Function Buttons – In addition to changing the navigation atop the maps, we added function buttons at the bottom of the Welcome pane to make it easier to jump to specific features. Each button loads features on Bing Maps. Welcome loads the welcome pane; the car loads the route planner; the star loads My Places, formerly called Collections; the envelop loads the ability to share the map with someone via email, copying a URI or embedding the map into a web page (more on that below); the printer icon is for printing; and, the circle with a line through will load a Tube Map. This is an overlay of the tubes system. 

 

Whoa. I need some water after that workout. Congrats, people of The United Kingdom – you just got yourself one heck of a Bing! map system. If you're not in the UK and want see how good they have it, check out http://www.bing.com/maps/?mkt=en-uk. More to come…also check out the Bing Search Blog for more news about Bing in the UK.

CP – Follow me on Twitter @ChrisPendleton

Comments

  • Good job.  It's really nice.  Noticed this a few days ago.  We had some fun last night exploring the maps in 3D and looking at the Photosynths.  Those, for me, are the killer features, but it's also nice to finally get some really good UK-specific information in there.

    One question though - where is the UK business data pulled from?  I'm trying to get listed.  I'm in Thomson (who powers Google's local listings) but my business isn't showing up on Bing Maps yet...

    Thanks!

  • This is a massive improvement - all the features you have listed here have real value; but the single biggest thing for me is that the search works well now.  I can search for Belfast Airport for example and then find local hotels really quickly.  I can't tell you what a hassle this was before, and it meant I would use google maps instead.  Now Bing has the edge I think...

  • I think you should check out the statement "Thomson powers Google's local listings" as they are just one of many providers. Most of the info comes direct from Google Local Business Centre. I saw some marketing from Thomson the other day to a client of mine, it was very misleading about their relationship with Google.

    So, when do we get Bing Local Listing Centre UK? :) Using Thomson to get listed is terrible, unless you pay you rarely get listed at all and their information is pretty scant compared to the full features of Google's LBC.

  • great!

  • V much better, pretty usable now - but how on earth do I save a set of directions? In the past I've used a combination of google maps and mapyx.com (quo) to map and save my cycle routes, which hasn't been ideal - but I really really can't see how to save one of my standard routes which I create as a set of directions (to get distances etc). Oh and of course the OS maps don't let me do what I can with Quo, which is see the altitude profile of a climb.

    Good progress though, stick at it.

  • I'm not to impressed with the quality of the information the maps give I put in my own post code and it showing one business that has never existed here and another that closed down over a year ago. I've tried to find out where this information is coming from and if I was in America this seams an easy task but in the UK I can find nothing. Maybe some of the trumpet blowers could take some time out to verify some of the data being presented.

  • As above, how do you get listed on Bing Maps?

  • I have recently started to use the Ordnance Survey maps inside Bing Maps to create walks which I then export and upload to my Garmin Etrex GPS. The problem I have at the moment is that under My Places I have created a place called Walks with 4 walks under that section. When I click on the individual walks under the walks section it shows me all the walks on the map rather than the walk that I have selected.

  • Walking in UK - Hi, I'm from the Bing Maps dev team. The expected behavior in the case you describe is that the map is zoomed to a best-fit view of the path you've created. If you don't mind sharing a link to your list of walks, we can take a look and make sure it's behaving as expected in your case. Thanks for the feedback!

  • Is there a way to set the distance units in the 'my places' UI to show the length of polylines in KM? I cant seem to find it. Thanks.

  • any ideas on how to get a UK Business Listed on Bing Maps, like the free Google Maps listing?

    I have been directed to a market place form but there is no Bing info on there which makes me a bit wary?  

    Any advice greatly appreciated!

  • @annettet - the best place to submit your locations is www.marketlocation.com/changereq.

    CP

  • Hi who can tell me how to Add my business in UK on BING MAPS.I'm trying but it's giving me potion for USA but not for UK. Thanks in Advance.

  • @bellavip - You have to do it here: www.marketlocation.com/changereq.

    CP

  • Thanks for this. It's nice to see an alternative to Google Maps. One of our customers was keen not to use Google, so this is the first time we have used Bing Maps for a client. It was tough to work out how to add a business to the map and then share that map (with the business included) with others, for example embed on a "find us" page.