Virtual Earth

June 3rd, 2007

Thanks to Poagao for pointing me in the direction of Microsoft’s Virtual Earth. I’m no great fan of Microsoft, but still, and I have to say I’ve only just started playing around with this, Virtual Earth looks pretty cool. And so far it’s working a lot faster than Google Maps does on my connection.

There are a few oddities on the map, though. Tianjin Municipality is labelled “Tianjin”, but the city itself gets the old-fashioned “Tientsin” spelling. Beijing’s Tongzhou District town is still labelled “Tongxian” even though it was elevated to district-status a long time ago. Zooming in on Beijing gets more oddities, like Xiaoxintian which, judging by its location, should probably be Xiaoxitian, and Rajpur suddenly moving to the northeastern edge of Chaoyang District.

Anyway, looks like it could be fun to play with, and it might even turn out to be quite useful.

Quick update: Actually, its coverage of China is quite pathetic, in both map and ‘aerial’ (=Google’s satellite view) modes. But at least, unlike Google, it has something that resembles the bare bones of a basic map. I’m going to see what its coverage of New Zealand is like.

Another quick update: Wellington gets a better map than Beijing, but the aerial view is still really blurry and doesn’t give anything like the detail Google’s satellite view offers. London gets much better aerial coverage- a lot more detail, down to a scale of 30 yards. It would be nice, though, if it offered real metric measurements….. Maybe it does but I haven’t found it yet. It would also be nice if the level of service didn’t depend on whatever deals could be cut with paranoid governments or Microsoft’s view of your country’s relative importance in the world…….

Yet another update: It seems Virtual Earth has its own blog. I found that because it showed up in my list of referrers, but I can’t see any link there that would refer anybody to me.

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