NOTE: An updated version of this article can be found in the Microsoft Maps Blog.https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/maps/news/use-bing-maps-to-calculate-an-isochrone-to-reach-your-customers
Isochrones are changing the way we estimate travel times. Imagine you are a store owner and would like to target customers that live within a 15-minute drive from your store with advertising for your weekly specials. Without Bing Maps, you could draw a circle on a map, guessing that it's radius represents about 15 minutes away, but it will not truly reflect the time it will take for customers to get to your store. For example, a customer living near a major transit route can live further away from the store than a customer living in a less well-served part of the city.
To meet this need we use isochrone polygons (an area on a map) of expected travel time. It represents the locations that will take the specified time, or less, it will take to get to a specific point (your store, in this case). Estimating an isochrone correctly, including all the variables like traffic, road, and vehicle conditions, is very hard to do by yourself! This is where Bing Maps Isochrone API comes in.
Bing Maps Get Isochrones API
Using the Get Isochrones API from Bing Maps makes it very easy to calculate travel time isochrones. For our store example, we need to calculate a 15-minute isochrone for every store we have. We only need the coordinates (longitude and latitude) from our stores and the drivetime in seconds (15 x 60 = 900 sec).
To determine which customer is living inside the 15-minute drive isochrone, we first need the coordinates for every customer's address. Then, we simply loop through all our customers and use the Find a Location by Address API to get the coordinates, allowing us to visualize the data by drawing the isochrone polygon and coloring customer locations based on whether they are inside or outside the 15 minute limit.
Point In Polygon
The last step is to check if a customer coordinate is inside one of our store isochrones. We use a Point In Polygon calculation (PiP) to determine if this is true. There are many libraries that can calculate a PiP, but there is also an easy API that can do this for you, the Bing Maps Point in Polygon Sample. Isochrones enable businesses to combine short travel times with targeted marketing. We now can target those customers close by a store with store-specific offers and promotions.
• Bing Maps Isochrone Samples (bingmapsportal.com)
To learn more about the services and solutions that make up the Bing Maps Platform, go to https://www.microsoft.com/maps.
- Bing Maps Team