Looks like Live Maps got a new refreshed update along with some new functionality on April 10, 2008.
Here’s a list of the new features (many of these features are actually from the Virtual Earth platform):
- 3D Cities v2 – This is version 2 of the popular 3D cities on Live Maps. 4 cities at the moment (Denver, Dallas, Las Vegas & Phoenix) have a more refined looks to the buildings, along with more realistic looking 3D trees (instead of the usual flat ones). It is kinda better, and zooming in and out of the tiles is more smoother.
- 3D Tours enhanced – You can now customize with 6 different resolutions, 30 or 15 FPS, and of course add photos and display push icons
- Birds-eye View with street names – Now when you see Birds-eye view, you can also have the option of seeing the street name as well.
- ClearFlow technology – It’s a new technology that Microsoft’s been working on, and it uses prerecorded current data (like average speed, time and location), and uses that to make algorithms to determine the best and quickest way to get there. Pretty clever.
- Safari browser support – now supports Apple’s Safari 2 and 3.
- IE8 support
- MapCruncher support – MapCruncher is a Microsoft Research technology that lets you make custom data layers and drop it over the Live Maps/Virtual Earth. It’s really neat, and now it’s very simple to make them and share them.
- Export to GPS – In KML, GPX, and GeoRSS. Maybe an import feature will come sometime.
- 3DVia gets some updates – Improvements include lighting for contributed models, creation of preview thumbnails when you save a model, and much faster publishing when using high resolution textures.
- Improved display of web-based KML files
- 1-Click Directions maps can now be edited to add hotspots and popups
- "Explore" feature improved – Exploring other users’ collections can be fun when you’re bored. Now it’s improved. You can sort by relevance, date uploaded, distance, and filter by all tags, ones with pictures ones with 3D buildings, or one with MapCruncher layers.
- Neighborhood RSS – the ability to zoom in the map to any area of interest, then pluck an RSS feed to stay up to date on goings on in the region
- Walking Directions – It’s really a Virtual Earth update, but I haven’t seen it on Live Maps yet. Nice to have an alternative from driving.
- New Reverse Geocoding – Users in the U.S. can now find the closest street address based only on latitude and longitude coordinates from a GPS or other geospatial device.
- New Locales – The Virtual Earth dashboard, or navcontrol, is localized to support languages including English for U.S.-based speakers, Japanese, Italian, Spanish for U.S.-based speakers, as well as French for both France and Canada-based speakers.
- Improved Localized Directions – Organizations can now provide users with localized driving or walking directions in 15 languages, including English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and Italian, among others.
- Improved Printing Support – Printing support for maps is enhanced to print the driving route in relation to the map. Printing support is also expanded for cross-browser support of Internet Explorer 6 and 7, Firefox 2 for PC, and Safari 2 and 3 for Mac only.
- Updated Interactive SDK – Customers can now access the new Virtual Earth Interactive SDK for online viewing or via download, to demonstrate the new functionality of the Virtual Earth map control.
- Slight UI update – The area under the Windows Live bar header got a little different. The "Print" and "Share" button have now moved onto a second menubar right under the other functions. I think that was a dumb move if you ask me. The light blue area is now white, another thing I think went wrong. The green search buttons look hideous towards the top.
That’s really about it. This has to be the BEST and BIGGEST update Live Maps has received so far. Here’s some screenshots I snagged:
Related links of interest :
- Live Maps/Virtual Earth blog – http://virtualearth.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!2BBC66E99FDCDB98!14129.entry
- Collection of MapCruncher layers – http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCC&cp=40.812238~-74.076935&style=h&lvl=18&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&scene=2692423&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&encType=1&cid=2BBC66E99FDCDB98!12691
- NYT’s assessment of ClearFlow – http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/technology/10maps.html?_r=3&th&emc=th&oref=slogin&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
- Example of One-Click directions – http://maps.live.com/OneClickDirections.aspx?rtp=~pos.40.715374_-74.008914_125 Chambers St, New York, NY 10007_Bond Hotel_(212) 566-6910_e_YN618x10549200&rsd=40.7412904500961_-74.0091097354889_ASNeBSAOAAAAEU%2bYAMQDAAA%3d_the north (via SR-9A / 11th Ave S / Joe Dimaggio Hwy / West Side Hwy)~40.6099212169647_-74.1543191671371_ASNeBSAOAAAAEk%2bYABMBAAA%3d_the south (via SR-440 / Martin Luther King Expy N / Willowbrook Expy / Willowbrook Pkwy)~40.5837911367416_-73.9849296212196_ASNeBSAOAAAAHE%2bYAB0CAAA%3d_the east (via Belt Pkwy W / Leif Ericson Dr / Pow/Mia Memorial Pkwy / Shore Pkwy)~40.7037395238876_-74.1448000073433_ASNeBSAOAAAAEE%2bYAF8DAAA%3d_the west (via I-78 E / New Jersey Tpke Ext E)&rtv=4&FORM=LLDP
- List of features from Virtual Earth For Government – http://virtualearth4gov.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!369B39F890CE30C1!866.entry
- LiveSide’s list of new features – http://www.liveside.net/blogs/main/archive/2008/04/11/new-live-search-maps-is-live.aspx