[Webcasts, Windows Live] "A Richer User Experience with Virtual Earth" (Live For You! Webcast Series)

On Tuesday, I delivered a presentation on Virtual Earth as part of the ongoing Live for You! Webcast Series. I would like to thank those of you who were able to attend. I hope you were able to get a sense of just how powerful Virtual Earth really is. For those of you who could not attend, its focus was to explore the developer capabilities of Virtual Earth to build highly informative and interactive applications and Web sites.


During the presentation, I showed you just how easy it is to utilize the Virtual Earth Map Component through the VEMap class. This class provides all of the underpinnings to control a map. Adding custom pushpins, moving to predefined coordinates, and finding nearby points of interest are just a few of the many features of the VEMap class. With a few lines of JavaScript, you have full, rich mapping capabilities.

I also showed you some of the latest features in Virtual Earth that enable scenarios such as 3-D maps and hosting the Virtual Earth Map Component inside the context of a Windows Forms application. Nothing is more exciting than demonstrating versatility of this control and having it integrated with an application to provide mapping functionality.


Here are some of the questions I received during the presentation that I’d like to answer:

Not currently, but since Virtual Earth 3D is a managed control, such a plug-in would be easy to write.

  • How often do maps get updated?

From the FAQ for Virtual Earth (see below): We are continually updating Virtual Earth with new imagery provided by our partners. Ensuring our customers have the best possible information from this new service is critical to us. Not only are we regularly updating the existing aerial Imagery, we’re also adding new data such as birds eye and global satellite imagery at 15 meters. We’re confident that upcoming upgrades will continue to deliver a service that allows our customers to search locations like never before. We have announced agreements with Pictometry Intl Corp to do low-level 45 degree or bird’s bye imagery and with ORBIMAGE and Harris to provide International aerial satellite photos from around the world taken at 15 meter proximity. With bird’s eye imagery, we’re planning to cover 80% of the US population within the next two years with European data available later this calendar year.

  • Will there be marine maps as well eventually?

Not at this time. However, you could overlay custom imagery via custom tile layers. I would recommend checking out Zoomatron to see an example of this in-action.

  • I tried to install Virtual Earth 3D but it said that my language and region are not supported. Which regions are supported and when will the others be supported?

The setup block will be removed shortly.

  • We are interested in displaying satellites as well as objects on the earth surface. Is there a way of showing models/satellites which are not on the earth surface?

Yes, but it is not yet publicly documented. This is a scenario we intend to support when the managed SDK is released.


Drop everything and hit maps.live.com now. Install the 3-D component and watch the world take on a new dimension (3-D!). Also make sure to check out Windows Live Dev - this should be your homepage - for more information on how you can use technologies like Virtual Earth in applications as part of the Live platform.


Here are some online resources for developers wanting to learn more about Virtual Earth:

Make sure to read some of the reviews of Virtual Earth

Also make sure to check out the amazing videos of Virtual Earth on Channel 9 and On10:

Finally, if you have any other questions about Virtual Earth, please feel free to send me an e-mail (johnbris@microsoft.com) or you can check out the FAQ for Virtual Earth at the following location:

Happy mapping!

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