Get Ready for the Big Race with Bing Maps

Memorial Day weekend,the unofficial beginning of summer, is prime NASCAR season. In addition to picnics and hanging out by the pool, a lot of people will be tuning in to watch their favorite motorsports on television. If you’re a race fan, Bing Maps imagery offers a unique perspective on these storied NASCAR tracks.

NASCAR held its longest race, the Coca-Cola 600, at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina and perhaps one of racing’s most prestigious races, the Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco, has been running since 1929. If you’re a race fan, Bing Maps imagery offers a unique perspective on these storied tracks. If you are a developer, Bing Maps API's allow you to show front row seats at your favorite NASCAR race tracks.

More than Just Ovals

Most of NASCAR’s annual race schedule takes place on tracks generically described as ovals, like this at Martinsville Speedway:

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, VA on Bing Maps

However, many of the tracks are a bit more complex. Some, like Darlington Raceway, are somewhat asymmetric.

Mapping the Race

Just like with asymmetric NASCAR tracks, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Bing Maps API’s imagery. Let’s have a look at how these tracks are mapped out and made available for professional and public use.

Whether it’s mapping NASCAR race tracks or just the local park, Bing Maps API’s accurate geospatial data goes beyond traditional GPS road maps. This database of rich location data powers key Bing Maps API features, including the imagery for NASCAR tracks across the country.

All developers need to access NASCAR track imagery is a Bing Maps API key and a URL template, samples of which can easily be found in the developer documentation. This template, when filled in with the correct information, creates a call to the Imagery API .  In this case it is asking for a static aerial image of the Eiffel Tower location in Paris, France.,400&key={BingMapsKey}

As the URL indicates, developers can customize the requested maps, adjusting height and width values to their needs. The imagerySet parameter, which is set to AerialWithLabels in this example, can just as easily be set to Streetside for a down-to-earth view of the same location. Developers can choose from a range of different values here to suit their requirement

Other NASCAR race tracks that are available through the Bing Maps API, like Chicagoland Speedway, are known as “tri-oval” (there are “quad-ovals”, too) because a slight kink gives the front straightaway a slightly triangular shape:

bing maps aerial image of chicagoland nascar track

Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL on Bing Maps

A few, like Watkins Glen International, are road courses—tracks that wind through numerous left and right turns:

bing maps aerial image of watkins nascar track

Watkins Glen International Raceway in Watkins Glen, NY on Bing Maps

Flying and Driving

A few race tracks are located very near airports, making it easy to attend if you happen to have your own private jet. For example, at Daytona International Speedway it looks like just a short walk from the terminal to the track:

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, FL on Windows 10 Maps App

A Closer View

There’s more than one way to look at a NASCAR track with Bing Maps API. Fans can get up close and personal with Bird’s Eye imagery, facilitated by a suite of cameras capturing geospatial data at an angle. This mapping feature offers users a unique vantage point of NASCAR race tracks and other points of interest. 

Streetside view takes the in-depth viewing experience up a notch by giving users a down-to-earth view captured by high-res LiDAR cameras for maximum fidelity. Fans can now virtually take a stroll by the Daytona International Speedway from the comfort of their home. This 360-degree view makes it possible for visitors to plan trips in advance and also improves navigation.

Another famous raceway, Talladega Superspeedway, was actually built on the old Anniston Air Force Base, which is evident by the decommissioned runways that actually lay inside the track:

Talladega Superspeedway

Talladega Superspeedway and Municipal Airport in Talladega, AL on Bing Maps

Easy-access metadata

The runways might be out of date, but our imagery never is. Bing Maps’ Imagery API metadata for static images is easily accessible to developers. Keeping track of the vintage of different sets of location data is as easy as sending out a single API call.

Here’s what a JSON response to a metadata query would look like:

"authenticationResultCode": "ValidCredentials",  
    "brandLogoUri": "http:\/\/\/Branding\/logo_powered_by.png",  
    "copyright": "Copyright © 2017 Microsoft and its suppliers. All rights reserved. This API cannot be accessed and the content and any results may not be used, reproduced or transmitted in any manner without express written permission from Microsoft Corporation.",  
    "resourceSets": [{  
        "estimatedTotal": 1,  
        "resources": [{  
            "__type": "BirdseyeMetadata:http:\/\/\/search\/local\/ws\/rest\/v1",  
            "imageHeight": 512,  
            "imageUrl": "http:\/\/ak.{subdomain}\/tiles\/be000122033113001-9-14-{zoom}-{tileId}.jpeg?g=5777&key={BingMapsKey}",  
            "imageUrlSubdomains": ["t0", "t1", "t2", "t3"],  
            "imageWidth": 512,  
            "imageryProviders": null,  
            "vintageEnd": "17 Oct 2013 GMT",  
            "vintageStart": "17 Oct 2013 GMT",  
            "zoomMax": 21,  
            "zoomMin": 18,  
            "orientation": 0,  
            "tilesX": 9,  
            "tilesY": 14  

The “vintageEnd” and “vintageStart” values clearly indicate the vintage dates for this particular location. Developers can similarly plug in values for NASCAR race tracks and other points of interest to retrieve mapping metadata. Whether it’s used for NASCAR tracks or business expansion, the value of this Bing Maps API feature lies in the insight that it offers into virtually any piece of geospatial data.

Multiuse Facilities

Modern race tracks represent a massive investment and even hosting a high-profile NASCAR event isn’t enough to pay the bills. As such, venue operators typically design their facilities so that other types of racing, from rallycross to GT3 to numerous other SCCA events. Often these “race tracks within a race track” can be seen snaking in the infield, like this example at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, NV on Windows Maps App

And beyond just auto racing, tracks are great venues for large events like beer festivals, extreme obstacle competitions and flea markets.  Whether you’re a diehard NASCAR fan or a casual television viewer, be sure to check out your favorite race course on Bing Maps.

Access high-res location data from multiple vantage points with a Bing Maps API key, create one today to get started with a developer-friendly mapping experience.

Got feedback? Leave a comment here and tell us what you think or let us know on Twitter (@BingMaps).

Mike Gilbert
Principal Lead Program Manager - Microsoft Bing Maps

New 3D cities this month include:

United States  
Tempe, AZ Miami, FL
Hollywood, CA Palm Beach, FL
Moreno Valley, CA Lowell, MA
Oxnard, CA Worcester, MA
Santa Ana, CA Newark, NJ
Flagler Beach, FL Galveston, TX

New Streetside cities this month include:

Alturas, CA New Bern, NC
Bakersfield, CA Southport, NC
Ione, CA Oklahoma City, OK
Mojave, CA Myrtle Beach, SC
Palm Springs, CA Houston, TX
Goldsboro, NC Newport News, VA