FedEx Integrates Virtual Earth

Federal Express has launched their new drop box locator service using Virtual Earth. Search for the nearest drop boxes and you’ll get a resulting list of locations. Near the top of the result list is a “View Area Map” link which opens up a div containing a Virtual Earth map plotting each of the drop box locations and a legend. You can also check or uncheck different types of results such as “FedEx Staffed,” “Self-Service,” and “FedEx Authorized Ship Center.” You can then update the results for the list and the map. Each location on the map contains a popup with the location name and address.

From the list of results you can also link off to a page with a map and driving directions. Pretty nice looking locator. I’ll be expecting more robust functionality such as finding locations along a route or drag and refresh maps; and/or, detailed information in the popups such as hours of operation and a click to call phone number. All in time, I suppose.

CP

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2 comments
  1. Chris Pendleton

    And, in English….

    "Virtual Earth, the map seervice from Microsoft, is getting better each day compared to its competition Goggle Earth adn Google Maps;  Even thought the Google products may have more users of the API in the market, Microsoft is constatnly launching something that gives them advantages over Google in the API, or new maps/imagery of cities."

    CP

  2. Anonymous

    Good to see more commercial use but I hope they polish it off.

    There are some really simple things they could do to make it more intuitive and useful:

    1. provide interaction between the textual listing and the dots on the map, hover over either and the related is identified.

    2. provide more in the infobox popup. All the details could be nicely laid out. The routing functionality could easily be added, maybe a Birdseye scene of the building if availible would add value?

    3. The routing shouldn’t post back the page and effectively start again, they have a marker on the map with your current location, make this dragable and do the routing more dynamically.

    4. Paging doesn’t work for usability. Its great it is sorted by proximity, maybe a simple radius showing what is currently being show would assist but the map could show all locations easily enough. I don’t like the postbacks, if ajax is supported why not stream the listings in as the user scrolls live image search style on demand.

    Please don’t take this as a rant, I guess I’d like to see more for the user and better value for the company. Virtual Earth and AJAX has so much more potential than this.

    John.

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