NOTE: An updated version of this article can be found in the Microsoft Maps Blog.https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/maps/news/fun-map-api-projects-to-build-using-bing-maps-api
Bing Maps API offers both beginners and experienced developers a wide scope for experimentation with mapping and data visualization. Whether you have never worked with a mapping application before or you are a seasoned expert, there are a host of fun API projects you can work on. Here are a few fun ideas for your next API experiment.
A feature that attracts developers in many industries to Bing Maps API is location intelligence. The ability to leverage geolocation to intelligently contextualize any given location opens up exciting new possibilities professionally or just for a fun API test.
A simple way to implement location intelligence for a fun project is to use the Location Recognition API to create a web-based game that shows users a randomized location, asking them to guess which country it’s from based on local points of interest. A successful example of this is the recent online sensation Geoguessr. The versatility of the location recognition API allows developers to accomplish a lot, even with a limited set of tools.
An example of this fun API being put to use on a professional project is the way the LinkedIn team used location intelligence to make it easier to search for jobs. Check out our customer story to learn more about how the team used Bing Maps Isochrone API to visualize commutes for job seekers on the LinkedIn platform.
While the term ‘itinerary optimization’ might not be at the top of your list when you’re thinking of fun apps to create with APIs, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. Businesses are using Bing Maps Multi-Itinerary Optimization API (MIO) to automate time-consuming tasks like planning out efficient routes for deliveries and long-distance travel. By taking into consideration crucial elements like vehicle specs compared to road specs and historical traffic data, MIO provides optimized itineraries for multiple agents at a time.
For a fun project with this API, you could play around with the ability to create multiple potential routes for a single agent, giving users the choice to pick the one they think might be the most efficient — much like a quiz. Alternatively, developers could create an app that projects ‘green’ itineraries by taking into account carbon emissions along with considerations like traffic and weather data. With a little creativity, developers can use the API to come up with fun ideas that have useful practical implications for the world.
The largest telecommunications operator in the world — China Mobile — is using multiple Bing Maps APIs, including MIO, to create a tourism platform that incorporates the best of what Bing Maps APIs have to offer. The smart app is going to allow users to plan out safer and cheaper trips with optimized routing, even if their destination requires multiple stops.
Even though mapping can be applied to a diverse set of situations, its social aspect often flies under the radar. Randall Harmon partnered up with Bing Maps API to create Seeingit.com, a website designed to bring communities together by capitalizing on online local mapping. Users have utilized Seeingit.com to find out about fun projects and events happening nearby, using information sourced by the Locations and Location Recognition APIs.
For a fun twist on this API, developers could work on a social mapping experience that allows users to share their favorite locations with friends, including possible activities and sightseeing opportunities. You could even take it to the next level with a leaderboard system that tracks visits and activities performed, such as hiking or swimming in a nearby lake.
Effective file management is a seemingly simple task that can be deceptively difficult to pull off.
A fun way to tackle the management problem is by using the native Bing Maps API integration with other Windows apps like Excel and Power BI. An easy example of this could be a project that tags and orders photos according to the location they were taken at. Developers could use REST Services for geocoding to easily group photos that were taken at the same place.
Microsoft partner SkyLite Systems was inspired to create an efficient file management and labor compliance app by using mapping as a solution. The SkyLite team used geocoding to tag and organize case files by location, enabling investigators to track cases effectively.
So just get started
Thanks to its scalable nature, developers can easily scale fun API projects to full-fledged web mapping apps serving thousands of users. With a creative mindset and the readiness to learn, there’s virtually no limit to what developers can achieve with the full range of Bing Maps API offerings. All it takes to get started is to create a free Bing Maps Account and get a key.