By Ricky Brundritt, EMEA Bing Maps Technology Solution Professional

The Bing Maps MSDN forums are one of the best places to ask a question if you need help developing with Bing Maps. This forum has served us well for many years, but over time, it’s become more difficult to manage. As the number of Bing Maps API’s has grown, it has become increasingly difficult to answer questions. In many cases, someone would respond to a question with what seems to be a very valid answer, only to find out that the user was using a different API. Needless to say, this has resulted in it taking longer to get the answer you need. Another issue was that the Bing Maps forums were located under the Windows Live Development forum category. This made it hard to find the Bing Maps forums in the first place. Many of the regulars on the Bing Maps forum have been asking for sub-forums for the different API’s for quite some time. I remember first requesting this myself nearly 3 years ago when I first became a moderator for the forums.

A couple of years ago a set of forums were created under the Bing Community site; however, these forums were not adopted by many developers. The developers preferred to keep the forums under MSDN, as this is where the forums for similar technologies like SQL 2008 and Silverlight are located A couple of weeks ago Microsoft held the 2012 Microsoft MVP summit in Redmond. While at the summit, we meet with the Bing Maps MVP’s (yes, Bing Maps is a Microsoft MVP Award category) and gathered a ton of feedback on how we could improve communications in the Bing Maps development community. One of the topics was around creating sub-forums for Bing Maps. After discussing this, it was determined that we didn’t need a forum for each API as like API’s could be grouped together. For example, there is about a 95% overlap between the Bing Maps WPF and Silverlight controls and in a lot of cases code for one is easily reused for the other.

Announcing the New Bing Maps Forums

Since the Microsoft MVP Summit the Bing Maps team has been working on taking the excellent feedback we received from the Bing Maps MVP’s and seeing how we can best make use of it. With that, I would like to announce the creation of the new Bing Maps MSDN forums. In addition to creating 5 new forums we have also created a new Bing Maps forum category in the MSDN forums to make it easier to find these forums. The 5 new Bing Maps sub-forums are as follows:

· Bing Maps General

· Bing Maps AJAX Map Controls

· Bing Maps Silverlight/WPF Controls

· Bing Maps REST/SOAP/SDS Services

· Bing Maps Windows 8 Controls

What about the old Bing Maps forums?

So this is great and all, but what about the old Bing Maps forums you have grown to love? Many of the posts from the past year have already been moved over to the new forums, and the newer posts will be moved shortly. An announcement for the new forums will be added to the top of the forum to redirect developers to the new location. The old forum will then be locked and turned into an archive to prevent anyone from accidentally posting, , but still allowing for the content to be found for those who need it.

What’s this about a Microsoft Bing Maps MVP Award?

The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award is an annual award given to outstanding individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Microsoft-related technical communities. At Microsoft we believe that technical communities foster the free and objective exchange of knowledge, thereby creating a reliable source of independent, real-world expertise that benefits everyone. Of 100 million technical community participants worldwide, about 4,000 are MVPs.

Recently Bing Maps has become its own category for an MVP award. Currently there are 8 individuals from around the world who have who have won this award. If you are interested in becoming a Microsoft MVP or would like to nominate someone, then check out the Microsoft MVP website.