The second kind of search is a search for a business. Suppose you are looking for restaurants in
New Windows Mobile 5.0 APIs made it easy to add two features. The first is “Find a Contact”: pull an address out of your Contacts list and map it. Using the new ChooseContactDialog() and the WindowsMobile.PocketOutlook.Contact class, this whole feature took ten lines of code. The second feature is the GPS feature: read your current position from a GPS device and map it. That was also ten lines of code. (The GPS classes ship as sample code in the Windows Mobile SDK; they’re not in
I said at the beginning that I wrote Virtual Earth Mobile because I wanted to bring map data to mobile devices. That’s true, but the truth is there were a lot of reasons:
• I wanted to get experience writing a full-fledged managed app.
• I wanted to dogfood our own development tools, and get some sense of what it’s like to be a Windows Mobile ISV.
• I thought it would be fun. I wrote it in my spare time; the running joke was that whenever I came back from vacation the app would have new features.
Having road maps available anytime anywhere is very practical. Adding satellite/aerial photos isn’t a huge jump in practicality, in my opinion, but the photos certainly are fascinating to look at. There are all sorts of fun things you can do with them:
• Look at your house from the air. (This is the first thing everyone does.)
• Discover there’s a cemetery you never knew about less than a half mile from the house you grew up in. (Okay, maybe that’s just me.)
• Check out famous landmarks (Space Needle,
arch, …) St. Louis
• Try to find photos where you can make out individual people.
• Quiz your friends to see if they can identify places from the air. (Here’s one to get you started: http://windowsmobile.members.winisp.net/ve.jpg.)
I’ve always enjoyed looking at maps of unfamiliar places; it’s like taking a virtual tour, and now aerial photos make the tour a little less virtual and a little more real.
The Virtual Earth Mobile app, its help file, and its source code, are all on http://viavirtualearth.com/vemobile. The app is free, and the source code is under a Shared Source license. If you want to know more details about how to download images from the Virtual Earth servers, or how to do a search, the source code is the place to go.
- Jason Fuller