Here's the official release doc for Virtual Earth V5:
The new Virtual Earth platform
The Virtual Earth platform is an integrated set of services that combines unique bird’s eye, aerial, and 3D imagery with best-of-breed mapping, location and search functionality. With ongoing investments in innovation that are driven by customer feedback, the Virtual Earth platform 5.0 continues to offer new tools, advanced feature enhancements, and robust platform capabilities. In this latest release, the new Virtual Earth platform is even more flexible, providing a wider range of supported capabilities that allow businesses to strengthen customer relationships with innovative solutions and breakthrough experiences. By combining comprehensive support for feature customization, richer features for end-users, and a new level of control and flexibility in the platform, Virtual Earth provides the ability to create unique environments to connect with customers.
Improved Support for Feature Customization
The Virtual Earth platform enables businesses to easily and cost-effectively customize unique location experiences for end- customers. By providing multiple tools and greater control to change the way location solutions can be developed, businesses can continuously provide and update their online experience to ensure they remain competitive.
· Virtual Earth Shapes. Easily customize and modify pushpins, polylines, and polygons with the new Virtual Earth Shape class. Customize line colors, widths, and transparencies of shapes, as well as add custom icons.
· Info Boxes. Shapes now have associated info boxes which can be shown and hidden as a response to user actions (e.g. clicking on the shape). The info box text and text style are completely customizable.
· Find Method. More customizable find method integrates the new Shape class to find locations and businesses easier than ever before.
· Keyboard and Mouse Events. Override almost any keyboard or mouse event, and use it to execute any Virtual Earth map action.
Rich End-User Experience
Improve customer satisfaction and retention by leveraging benefits of the latest features and technology. Employ newly supported functionality to offer dynamic experiences including interactive mapping, 3D imagery, bird’s eye panning, and mini maps.
· Bird’s Eye Panning. Pan continuously across the map in bird’s eye view.
· Tile Over-fetching. Programmatically enable tile downloading to either increase panning performance or optimize page load time.
· Small Navigation Controls. New choices for end-users to customize the interface by utilizing two new options for smaller navigation controls.
· Mini Map. The mini map provides a small map legend, giving the user better bearings as they navigate.
· Compressed Map Control. The map control code base is now compressed, reducing the initial download file size from approximately 500kb to a 120kb.
· Programmatic Market Selection. Localized market support, beginning with Japan, which is now supported in the Virtual Earth API.
New Level of Control and Flexibility
With new features and enhancements to the Virtual Earth API, organizations can utilize the unique imagery, dynamic maps, and various content layers to provide the tailored experience for their end-users. This enhanced API exposes rich, new features, encouraging more efficient development and providing stability for future improvements.
· Pushpins, Polylines, and Polygons. Once separately-coded objects, the new Virtual Earth shapes are now richer and easier to customize. Move shapes on the fly, show and hide them programmatically, and give them custom icons using images or HTML.
· GeoRSS Imports. Import pushpins, polylines, and polygons using the GeoRSS feed, the de facto standard for geographically encoded objects, for RSS feeds.
· Info Boxes. Shapes can now store HTML and CSS content for custom info boxes, which can be shown or hidden programmatically.
· Shape Layers. New and improved shape management capabilities allow grouping of pushpins, polylines, and polygons. Show or hide a group of shapes, or make changes to the individual shapes within them.
· Find Method. Easily customize search results with the updated find method which sends the resulting pushpins directly to a shape layer.
· Tile Layers. The tile layer interface, used for adding, deleting, showing, and hiding tile layers, is now more straightforward and easier to use.
Take the Next Step
To begin incorporating the latest features of Virtual Earth 5.0, begin with the intuitive, easy to use, and newly updated Virtual Earth Interactive SDK. The Interactive SDK provides scenario-based, hands-on demonstrations with associated source code and references. To access the Interactive SKD, go here: http://dev.live.com/virtualearth/sdk/
If you have questions or need support with Virtual Earth 5.0, please go to the Virtual Earth Map Control Forum or contact a Virtual Earth Solution Specialist (see contact information below).
If you are interested in learning more about Virtual Earth 5.0 or would like to purchase Virtual Earth platform services, contact a Virtual Earth Sales Specialist:
North, Central, and South America
Phone: 1-800-426-9400, ext. 11315
Europe, Africa, Middle East, and the Asia Pacific region