While the King of Bing contest ended last week, there are lots of great map apps that you can now check out and play around with. This is the time to do so since the judging will be based on each map app’s use between August 1 through 15. Gizmodo, for instance, highlighted one of the apps which calculates your cab fare for you based on pick-up, time, and distance. Other apps offer parking locations, tourist info, and, my new favorite when traveling, GeoSalesTax
There are tons of other apps available that have either been submitted for the contest, by content partners, and by Bing itself. One of the newest Bing created apps (which just rolled out today) is an OSM map. For all these goodies and more (to come) head over to http://bing.com/maps/explore
If you haven’t seen the demo of Microsoft Research’s Street Slide, it’s a pretty cool addition to Bing Streetside that is not available yet, but will be presented at SIGGRAPH 2010. While Google Streetview and Bing Streetside allow you to see photo representations of an area as you navigate through it, you’re basically limited to the perspective from your position on the centerline of the roadway as you look left or right. What Street Silde allows you to do is zoom out and take a side scrolling type of look at the whole side of the street moving side to side and panning over the streetscape. It looks like you can also get a panoramic view as well. If you want to see Street Slide in action, check out this video:
ERDAS has entered the cloud service race with the announcement of Apollo on the Cloud. It is a hosted solution that provides access to Apollo Professional on SkyGone’s servers. We have talked to Mladen Stojic about Apollo on the podcast in the past which is one of ERDAS’s newer products that provides that layer of abstraction that many enterprises are looking for between the geotechnologies and the casual user…aka the guy at the desk. With a browser-based viewer, integration with Titan, and standards compatible there are plenty of ways for the user to connect to the service. On the backend you get all of the power that Apollo offers in serving data, running geoprocessing services, and creating user experiences. If you are looking for a way to centralize the processing of your remote sensing data and do not want to host a solution locally or don’t have the dedicated IT staff to do so, this is worth a look.
It has been a while since I did a general GIS search over on YouTube. This time around I found an interesting piece of marketing for a product named Digital Egypt that will apparently be coming out in the future. It seems to be primarily focused toward the real estate sector, but it grabbed my attention as I was scrolling through with its interface. While not a standout interface, it is clean and looks much better than some of geo-based realtor tools I have seen out there.
Ever since we got the first preview of ArcGIS.com and ArcGIS Explorer Online back at the Dev Summit, we’ve been waiting for the chance to try it out ourselves, Well, ESRI’s Bern Szukalski tweeted earlier today that the ArcGIS.com public beta is now live, so you can head over to ArcGIS.com and start making and sharing maps and checking out its other features. In this week’s podcast, Episode 253, which will be going live tomorrow morning, you’ll be able to listen to Bern tell us a little bit more about ArcGIS.com and how it fits into the overall ESRI platform.
In case you haven’t listened to this week’s episode, you are missing out on our conversation with a couple of the guys (David and Mark) of IndieMapper. Part of that conversation included them rolling out a coupon code for our listeners and readers. If you use the code “veryspatial” you will get 50% off the price of the first month (I assume after the 30 day free trial). Watch the video to learn a little more.
The Chronicle of Higher Education recently highlighted an interactive map of state spending on higher education institutions and how federal stimulus monies are being used in each state. The focus is on three themes: Percent of higher ed budget from stimulus monies (FY 2009-10), change in general fund spending (FY 2008-2010), and budget gaps as a percent of the general fund budget (FY 2010). It is interesting to see which states are in the best position to support state schools and which ones will have significant issues when federal stimulus monies begin to disappear in 2011. The image below is the % budget from stimulus map, click through to play around with the interactive map.
Apparently lots of people have been asking Google for biking directions and now they get their wish! The directions get added right along with the driving and walking directions we’ve all come to know and love. They’ve even added the ability to avoid hills (good luck with that in West Virginia)! Like the walking and driving directions, the biking directions report total miles and estimated time. I’m not a biker, although I’ve considered trying to bike part-way to work this summer. It’s nice to know how many miles it will take and how long I should budget in the morning to do so. It also seems to do a pretty good job of planning the route to avoid major roads with no real bike support. I did my house to work and a large section of it is basically a county highway with little to no shoulder. It routed me through a residential area for part of it so I avoid the traffic.
While editing the podcast today I realized I did a horrible job of describing Microsoft’s new features. In my defense, I was talking about it as I received an error in 2 different browsers as I tried to get to Bing Maps and then trying to decide whether or not to bail on that news item. The upshot, I should have bailed, but here is a bit of what I probably would have said
I am happy with the updates that have made their way into both Bing Maps and Google Maps over the last few days, but the thing I am truly excited about is Microsoft’s integration of Photosynthish 3D surfaces that show up when a Streetside scene moves. Pick a place like the corner of Wabash and Monroe in Chicago where there is a portion of the El and an urban canyon effect. As you move along east to west along Monroe under the El and toward State you see the impact of texturing the images to the 3D models. It takes what is a great tool for getting to know an area from informational to immersive. This will not hold true in rural areas, but the difference it makes in downtown Charlotte and Chicago (the only two areas I have looked at in Streetside) is significant. It is good to see some of the news we talked about back in 2007 making such an impact today.
The difference between the Google and Bing maps continues to grow. The underlying features aren’t radically different, but the difference in feel between the two is notable. Bing continues to push toward a professional set of tools from my perspective, not something that you use to place a map on you personal webpage, but a set of tools to encourage companies to embed and advertise through Microsoft’s tools.