One of the most significant additions to the Bing Maps beta web site is the Application Gallery mentioned in my Bing Maps Adds Streetside, Enhanced Bird’s Eye, Photosynth and More post. The Bing Maps Application Gallery is a simplified way to use search and map visualization for dynamic applications exposed through Bing. At launched we introduced the app gallery with 16 applications which I’ll describe in detail below; however, I also wanted to announce that last week we added a new application to the Bing Maps Application Gallery which I’ll describe first. We plan to add applications to the gallery on a regular basis, so stay tuned for future posts about new applications. To get to the Application Gallery, look to the lower left hand side of the Bing Maps Beta site and click the [>] button.
Snow Globe – Just in time for Christmas, Frosty’s bringing snow to Miami…or, anywhere else we have Streetside imagery. Adjust the sliders to (1) increase the amount of snow (July to February), (2) change the wind direction (Calm to Hurricane) or (3) change the wind speed (This way to That way). Check out the dude taking a shower…he must be freezing now! Muhhahaha! Now that’s a Christmas in Miami worth writing home about.
What’s Nearby – Find what’s in a specific neighborhood regardless of the business type or name. Think of this as a wild card search across all business names and categories, but in a specific radius. What’s the restaurant you ate at last week that was right off the 405 near Sunset? Just put the circle over the vicinity and we’ll show you all the restaurants in the area.
Local Lens – If you like blogs, you’ll love this. We index tons of blog information from the web and now based on where the blog post is focused we’ll put it on a map. This allows you to look at a specific area on the map and see what people are blogging about. This is great for discovering events, news and general information about specific regions of the world. It’s a lens into hyperlocal information around the world!
Twitter Maps – If you have a Twitter account, you probably realize the power of exchanging information across the massive network of peeps across the web. With the introduction of the Geolocation API from Twitter, we can now see where a Tweet originated and not just where the location of the user’s profile is located. This allows all kinds of fun scenarios for map-based views of Tweets from people moving and sharing information from around the world!
Photosynth – Photosynth has an entire web site dedicated to the creation of Synths. What’s Photosynth? Check out Photosynth.com, but in a nutshell it’s software that allows you to upload your photos into a cloud service that will then find commonalities between the photos and stitch them together into a single object. Well, once you create a Photosynth you have the option of place a pushpin on the map to identify where in the world the Photosynth photos were taking. In the AJAX version of Bing Maps you can still see Photosynths mapped in the search results; however, with the Photosynth application in Bing Maps we allow for automatic refreshing of synths as you pan the map, plus a natively integrated Silverlight experience.
Current Traffic – Looking for traffic? The traffic application is where you can now find traffic flow and incident information for nearly 70 cities around the U.S. The flow information is overlain atop the map by speeds categorized from super slow (black) to flowing (green). The incident information is detailed with different levels of severity and includes traffic incidents, sporting events and anything else that would cause traffic delays.
TrafficLand – TrafficLand takes traffic to the next level. Turn on the flow and incident information from the Current Traffic application. Then, since you can view multiple layers of data on Bing Maps, flip on the TrafficLand application to see all of the traffic cameras for specific places on a route. This is great for seeing what exactly is causing severe traffic jams and why it might be better to take a different route.
Businesses by Category – View all of the categories of businesses on the map. Similar to the What’s Nearby application you can see thousands of businesses instantly categorized into their respective business types; however, this differs from the What’s Nearby application since it uses a bounding box search of the entire map instead of a radius search. You can drill down into the specific business categories, then down into sub-categories until you find the business you’re looking for.
Today’s Front Pages – If you’re out of town and missing your favorite newspaper, Today’s Front Pages will give you the cover of your favorite print newspaper to make you feel right at home. Provided by Newseum, the digitized newspapers are pinned to their respective cities where the papers are authored for. The application is a great way to take a quick look at what’s happening in the respective town you’re interested in…and a few you may become interested in!
Restaurant Finder – Drill down into all of the restaurants available in Bing Maps. Firing up the application will launch into our massive number of restaurant categories as broad as “Asian & Pacific” to as intricate as “Diners.” Once you’ve chosen a category you can dive even further to find the specific restaurant you want complete with ratings and reviews and a full screen packed with information.
Hotel Finder – The Hotel Finder is very similar to the restaurant finder; however, it’s focused on hotels. Browse through the different categories of hotels then dive into the specific one you want all based on the bounding box of the map.
Travel Webcams – Planning a trip? Can’t afford to make the trip? Fire up the Travel Webcams application to instantly see different locations around the world in real time from cameras set up just for tourists like you and me. Hey, I’m heading to Paris for Microsoft Tech Days in February. I want to check out the web cam of the Eiffel Tower and Bing! I can view the structure in all its glamour and glory.
Roadside Attractions – Shortly after we launched Bird’s Eye in Bing Maps (formerly Virtual Earth) a subculture of people starting scouring the imagery for offbeat objects of interest. VirtualGlobetrotting.com was the place where people were invited to report these locations and now we’re using their data in the Roadside Attractions application to show off the most interesting objects found in Bird’s Eye. And, WOW the world has some weird / creative people out there.
Roadside Sculptures – Similar to the Roadside Attractions application, Roadside Sculptures pinpoints interesting sculpture art within the Bird’s Eye photography. Check out the giant spoon and cherry! I can totally see some college kids making it their dream to see all of these sculptures in a massive road trip.
Urban Graffiti – Not in any way an attempt a way to promote graffiti, the Urban Graffiti application highlights some of the beautiful vandalism found, captured on camera and geotagged around the world. There is some super cool artwork out there where the urban landscape plays a canvas for the art of the world.
Urban Murals – The Urban Murals application lets you view different murals around the world captured within the Bird’s Eye photos. The murals can be anything from a giant Harry Potter advertisement to the giant images of the Los Angeles Lakers on the side of a building near downtown LA. The difference between this and the Urban Graffiti app is the size – which does matter, by the way.
Signs and Billboards – There are some super weird billboards and signs out there and they’re all being feed into the Signs and Billboards application. Check out some of the most funny, odd, interesting or strategically placed signs and billboards found in our Birds Eye photos. I found a Red Stripe Beer sign floating in the Pacific Ocean!
So, there you have it – a full description of the Bing Maps Application Gallery. Expect more fun, interesting and awesome apps to come in our map-based playground.
CP – Follow me on Twitter @ChrisPendleton