Bing’s Bringing Sexy Maps

Over the last few weeks a few of you lucky ducks got to experience a new map type we were flighting. Around 10% of users were seeing our new maps in all its aesthetic glory. Today, we’re releasing it to everyone. The new map type has two experiences that differ between the AJAX version of Bing Maps and the Silverlight experience. The AJAX maps are rendered completely as a new set of map tiles and displayed through the AJAX interface as we do our current road and aerial map types. The Silverlight experience is a little different…and, this is where it gets interesting.


The Silverlight experience has a combination of both raster tiles AND vector graphics rendered in the browser at run time. Uh, what? Well, yes, by default on the Silverlight site you can see the same tiles you see on the AJAX site only in Deep Zoom greatness. However, there’s a beta option to try the new base map with neighborhoods hovering over them as text, which we call dynamic labels. The dynamically labeled neighborhoods are clickable and will zoom you down to the respective region making it easier to further explore an area or neighborhood of a city. We’re just peeling away at the onion one data layer at a time. And, you’ll see these maps start to spread across Bing such as our Local Search.


The maps themselves have quite a bit to them. I actually have a whole synopsis on rods and cones in your eyeballs enjoying the shading, tones and colors. The UX team went optometry on us! Here are some good talking points about the new maps when you want to brag to your friends that you know all about the new Bing map type (great for parties):

  • Cool colors visually recede allowing warmer overlays to come forward – An elegant backdrop for information delivery and helps content ‘pop’ on the map
  • Road color provides greatest differentiation scientifically from red, yellow, green traffic overlays. 
  • De-saturation on zoom allows more continuous transition to photographic material (Aerial, Birdseye, Streetside) and allows user to focus on street level detail better.
  • Designed to work in black and white and to be differentiated by those with the most common forms of color blindness
  • Crisp/easy to read font, larger font corresponds to larger roads
  • Lower cognitive load – Less  data / clearer details
  • Improved international coverage: Data updates deliver improved road and street detail across Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East, Oceania and Asia.

Cool as a cucumber. The new Bing map type is like chewing a whole pack of Orbit mint gum while getting your entire body exfoliated with cucumber scrub in an ice chamber. Feels good, doesn’t it? We certainly hope you enjoy it.

Follow me @BingMaps, ^CP

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