The Electric Wand

Weekly tips from the "Tip o' the Week" email distribution inside of Microsoft.

Bird's Eye view on Live maps - how cool is that?

Bird's Eye view on Live maps - how cool is that?

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The Windows Live search team did a pretty major update (a few months ago) to a number of elements of the search engine at live.com, but one of the nicest is the maps integration. Type in a postcode, a place or business name and click on Maps and you'll hopefully go straight there...

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As the Virtual Earth technology behind the Live Maps site improves, and as the quality of the data behind it gets better too, I've noticed quite a few sites shift to using it, sometime away from other mapping services like Google Maps or Multimap (which Microsoft recently acquired, so that may have something to do with it).

Whilst shooting the breeze on the web the other day, I thought I'd check out Rightmove to nose through a list of property that's for sale near my home (having found Rightmove and PropertyFinder, Google Earth and Virtual Earth so valuable when I was house-hunting a couple of years ago). Rightmove now has a service called "AboutMyPlace" which is shown in response to searches of an area, but also pinpointing the exact location of specific property that's for sale.

Anyway, I found a house not far from mine which was for sale; on the AboutMyPlace site, I was quite impressed to see their use of Virtual Earth, then saw that Bird's Eye view was available...

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View from AboutMyPlace, showing the Virtual Earth UI

I hadn't realised that Bird's Eye view had been improved so much, or that its reach had been so expanded - previously, it was really just major cities and the likes which got it, but during last summer, it's clear that planes have been criss-crossing the UK and taking some really good quality pictures from multiple angles (so you can rotate the view)...

Now I can see my own house (and all of the neighbours' too!) in a while new way - it's  amazing, and can drain hours out of your day if you're not careful.

Here's Microsoft's TVP just as one example (try it for yourself by searching for RG6 1WG and clicking on Bird's Eye view)

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Now isn't that good?

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