Microsoft Garage Project Maps SDK Brings 3D Maps to Mixed Reality

***Updated July 2022***
Say hello to Maps SDK, a Microsoft Garage project! This latest project brings all the cool things about 3D maps to Unity developers. As a map control for Unity, Maps SDK makes it possible to fold Bing Maps’ 3D world data into Unity-based, mixed reality experiences for Windows and Mobile devices. This control is drag-and-drop and provides an off-the-shelf 3D map, customizable controls, along with the building blocks for creative mixed reality map experiences.

Seattle Space Needle

Creating 3D Maps in Unity

Microsoft Garage and Unity are all about bringing immersive 3D map projects to users with fast-loading maps and a developer-friendly interface. In that spirit, we’ve ensured that creating mixed reality experiences with the Maps SDK is a breeze, both for beginners and advanced Windows developers.

Getting started by importing the Maps SDK into Unity is an easy, 5-step process. To get started, you’ll need a Bing Maps API key. If you’re just looking to test the SDK out, we’d recommend creating a basic key to get an overview of the Bing Maps API platform and Microsoft Garage.

importing unity package for maps sdk

Importing the new SDK is as easy as logging into Unity 3D, creating a new project, and hitting the ‘import package’ button. Check out our 3D Maps SDK blog for an in-depth guide on creating a project. Discover how to create a map scene once you’ve imported the SDK, as well as adding map controls and other useful features.

Powered By Location Data

The rich 3D imagery provided by Microsoft Garage’s Maps SDK is made possible with the help of Bing Maps API’s rich location data. This data is captured by high-powered cameras and satellites. Our image capture process provides users and developers with resolutions as high as 60-30cm/pixel. The SDK’s resolutions create an enhanced mixed reality experience for Windows and mobile users.

Microsoft Garage’s 3D map projects, however, require a slightly different approach compared to traditional satellite mapping. Our location data also includes imagery taken at different angles, including Bird’s Eye and even Streetside views for an immersive experience. Imagery taken at multiple angles is used to power these accurate 3D maps.

3d view of Adelaide in Bing Maps

If you’re hesitant to create a key, head over to our 3D cities blog for a preview of what working on 3D projects with Microsoft Garage’s Maps SDK could look like. We’re working to consistently update our list of 3D cities, including 360-degree views of favorites like Chateau de Chambord and Adelaide.

Users can switch up their viewing angles by zooming in, tilting, or even heading down to street level for a closer view, similar to Microsoft Garage’s project. These maps also support user-friendly features like local search, providing additional contextual information at a single tap.

Mixed Reality Demo

In partnership with Outings, another Garage project team, the Bing Maps team created a mixed reality sample app, for Windows, Mobile Devices and VR headsets like Hololens, to shows off what this 3D map control can really do. 

Outings
 

Developer-friendly SDKs

The Maps SDK is a great tool for developers looking to create rich mixed reality apps, but what if you’re just a beginner looking to get into web mapping? We’ve created another versatile SDK to help both beginners and experienced developers make the most of what Bing Maps API has to offer.

Our interactive V8 SDK is the perfect stepping stone toward creating immersive 3D mapping projects. We’ve incorporated plenty of Bing Maps API features that overlap with those present in Microsoft Garage’s Maps SDK, such as animated tile layers.

Developers can quickly get a hang of these new features with the use of interactive code samples that actively reflect changes in code. The code editor also incorporates popular Visual Studio features like word coloring and intellisense for a smoother experience.

Get started

Microsoft Garage created a sample experience called Outings, re-imagining the travel app in mixed reality for Windows and mobile, powered by Maps SDK. The Bing Map API team has taken their learnings and rolled these exciting new features into a powerful all-in-one Bing Mobile app. Get the full story at the Garage blog.

Get started with mixed reality, web apps, and 3D map projects by creating your own Bing Maps API key.

FAQ

What platforms does the Outings app support?

The exciting new features that debuted in Microsoft Garage’s Outings app have now been rolled into our Bing mobile app. Users can download the app on Android and iOS devices for an exquisite 3D mapping experience.

What are the requirements for using Maps SDK?

All you need before creating mixed reality apps for Windows with Maps SDK is a Bing Maps API key. Head over to the Dev Center to create yours. You’ll be prompted for this key when you’re importing the SDK, as well as later on while adding components like the MapRenderer to your 3D map project.

Does Maps SDK support other APIs?

Microsoft Garage’s Maps SDK fully supports other useful APIs for geocoding, as well as map controls that enable crucial mapping features like animated tile layers. Head over to our GitHub for a detailed look at what you can do with Maps SDK.

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