Discontinuing Investment is Such Sweet Sorrow


Hello all,

We have just announced that we will be discontinuing investment in VE3D.  In the short term, the 3D view will be removed from bing.com/maps.  The 3D control itself will continue to function, and data will continue to be served to it.  The support will continue until December 2011, and during that time it will still be in the AJAX map control (version 6.3) for 3rd party use.  I will personally continue to monitor the comments sections and the contact link, so you can keep sending me questions.

Thanks for all the great comments, feedback, and questions over the last two years.  It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve really enjoyed working with you all.

Here is the announcement:

http://www.bing.com/community/site_blogs/b/maps/archive/2010/11/02/changes-to-bird-s-eye-and-3d-maps.aspx

Comments (6)

  1. Tom says:

    Hi Nikolai,

    Why is the feed being discontinued?  Doesn't it use the same imagery data as the 2D map?  It seems simple enough to continue to supply the feed, even if the API is no longer supported, no?

  2. Caroline says:

    Devastated by the removal of Bing3D – I was in the middle of a project with it and it disappeared over the weekend… all my 3D views, lost! Such a shame, as it's so much better than Google Earth for this, and the imagery is loads better (Google Earth is full of different coloureds strips, even when zoomed right out – BING is a nice continuous image)

    Grrr……

  3. mark says:

    We have a fairly mature (1.5 years) standalone application that uses the Virtual Earth 3D API. The mappoint dlls are all version 4.0.0, runtime version 2.0.50727. The app is written in C#. No JavaScript or HTML or Sliverlight or anything else. This app needs to run in the field.

    I have not been to this blog for some time and was surprised (blindsided?) by this post. If I read this correctly, most of the things we do, like full 3d control of the camera, live map updates when connected to the Internet, drawing 3d meshes, etc. will be going away. Is this true? Will all of this code have to rewritten using Google Earth or something to keep the same functionality? It sounds like the whole MS mapping initiative is getting lobotomized.

    The VE3D API has served us well and is surprisingly stable and almost  bug-free. I say surprising because I went through the first couple of versions of the DirectX SDK which were total rubbish. That seems to be the norm for MS stuff and it was refreshing having something from MS work so well out of the box.

    So… is it time to bail?

  4. NikolaiF says:

    Tom, Caroline, Mark:  I just noticed that the comment section became moderated and I hadn't seen them until just now.  I'm not sure why this changed from before, but rest assured I was not trying to ignore you.

    Tom:  much of the data is the same, yes, but some is not.  I do not believe there are specific plans to take down the 3d-specific data, but Dec. 2011 is the earliest it could happen.

    Caroline:  I know, I'm sad too.

    Mark:  The code itself will continue to function, the question is whether the servers it expects will still be there.  Sometime before Dec 2011 I plan on sitting down (sorry for vague timeline… this would be an outside the budget type project for me) and looking at all the things that will be necessary to make a fully standalone VE3D app work.  Your type of app is in fact the one that's most likely to work just fine.

    I'm not sure if lobotomized is the word I would use, but this certainly does represent shifting priorities.  It's been a good number of years since VE3D came out, and things have in fact changed in the market, quite dramatically.  Unfortunately I'm not really in a position to explain any further.  However, I still think there are good uses of VE3D as an engine, such as yours, and that's why I'll be making that last "here's how to make it run forever" post.

    "Stable and bug-free".  Well, of course it is, I wrote it!  Er, well, I guess there were a few other folks too 🙂  But yeah, the last release we did was a perf and stability release, as we were already at that time winding down the feature investment.  Speaking as an engine dev, I'm actually pretty proud of the final result.

    Is it time to bail?  Well, there will be no more features, and no more bug fixes (excluding "take over your machine" security bugs, but we've had zero of those so far and I don't see why some would be found now).  At some point some of the data feeds might stop working, and result in some loss of functionality.  Predicting those effects will be part of my upcoming post.  But that's where it stands.  Your main options are to stick with VE3D, try to figure out GE (pretty limited programming interface) or WorldWind (.net, but also inactive development).

    I hope that I can help you out with VE3D if that's your decision.  Thanks for using it so far, and thanks for the time and effort you've spent with it, wherever you end up going.

  5. NikolaiF says:

    Any updates?  You had mentioned you'd be posting a "here's how you can keep it working forever" type post.  We don't use any of the 3d model or terrain data.  Just the sattelite and road maps projected on the globe… will this continue to function?

  6. NikolaiF says:

    NikolaiF (?):  I promise that I will get that out before end of support.  I understand that sooner is better than later.

    Of all the data types, imagery is the least likely to change (my own personal estimation, not a policy statement).  It will need to have some sort of DEM data source, but ConstantElevationDataSource will work for this as a bare minimum, giving a flat ground with no network calls made.  Adding your own imagery data sources will also continue to work, either on top of or instead of the defaults.

    You can also pretty easily modify the DemData sample to load your own DEM from whatever source you please.  Your own models may be loaded using a ActorDataSource/XFileDataSource as guides, though that's more work.

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