So, I guess the other web mapping news would be the release of Windows Live Local in beta, which incorporates Virtual Earth. I played around with it a little in both IE and Firefox, and the navigation definitely has issues right now. The main new feature is the Bird’s Eye imagery for selected US cities. The images are actually quite nice. There have been a lot of comments in various blogs and tech news sites, so you’ve probably already seen a few.
Here’s is the latest beta in Google’s stable of mapping apps: Google Transit. It’s the same interface as Google Local, except it plots your trip directions using public transportation, and takes into account the time when you want to leave and arrive. Right now, the only available city on the beta is Portland, Oregon, but they are planning of course on expanding it to other cities.
Although a lot of the attention has been focused on Google Maps, MSN Virtual Earth, and Google Earth, Amazon’s A9.com subsidiary is continuing to map US cities in a different way – from ground level by driving and photographing every block in a GPS-equipped SUV to create a virtual tour of each city. So far, A9.com has 35 cities mapped and I have used the service a couple of times to get a feel for the area I’ll be staying in for a conference.
Check out the A9.com BlockView images, and see what you think
So if you want to get the scoop on recent UFO sightings, check out ufomaps.comwhich offers summaries of UFO sightings reported to the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC). Turns out there was a UFO sighting right here in Morgantown on Nov. 4th, and I missed it! The sightings are mapped in both Google Maps and MSN Virtual Earth, and cover the continental US.
A recent editorial by Joe Francica at Directions Magazine discusses the impact of the “Google Phenomenon” on the geospatial software industry, and offers some interesting perspectives on how Google Maps and its competitors are already changing the business landscape and how traditional GIS and geospatial vendors must find a way to win the “struggle for relevance.”
Monday marked the launch of the MapServer Foundation, a “nonprofit legal entity established to support the needs of the open source web mapping community.” Included among the 11 people who created the MapServer Foundation are Steve Lime, the creator and lead developer of MapServer, and Tyler Mitchell, geographer and author of Web Mapping Illustrated. The website has just gotten up and running, but it does have an open letter announcing the creation of the foundation, an FAQs section, and some other resources.
Jesse adds: Also check out the barrage of discussion in the geospatial blogosphere including (newest at top):
He also points out, again, that the foundation’s MapServer Enterprise will be based on the soon to be released MapGuide code which we didn’t specify in the original post above
Harris Corporation announced on Monday that Microsoft will be using their 15-meter Global Dataset imagery for their Windows Live Local Powered by Virtual Earth. I couldn’t find a definite release date for it, but a demo application was previewed in San Francisco on November 1st, which you can read about here.
Windows Live Local will be part of Microsoft’s Windows Live offerings and some of the beta products are already available at the Windows Live Ideas page. However, Windows Live Local is not yet one of them. Someone did post a screenshot from the recent preview on Flickr
StrataVarious, the company that has developed the Boston HyperMap Atlas, has just released 2 new demos, one using MSN Virtual Earth and one using Yahoo Maps. They have also prepared comparison charts for all 3 of their demo versions, Google Maps, MSN Virtual Earth, and Yahoo Maps.
To check out the demos, and the comparison charts, head over to the StrataVarious website
Although MapQuest has been largely left out of a lot of the discussion on the recent explosion of web mapping, they are still out there and are retaining a significant market share for now. An article posted today at the San Jose, CA MercuryNews.com has an interesting discussion of how MapQuest was a pioneer in online mapping, but has not really changed its business model yet to compete with the new entries from Google, MSN, and Yahoo.