Rendering Historic Maps on Bing

One feature of the Bing Maps APIs that has gained a lot of traction is the ability to overlay custom tiles atop the Bing Maps tiles to illustrate tons of data in a raster format. The ability to draw data on the map using vector graphics is all fine and dandy, but when you want to render census data, weather illustrations or even historic maps of what an area used to look like, well, browser-supported drawing techniques would pretty much crap out. So, what you’ll do is render that information prior to putting in on the map (using the Tile Pyramid Schema) and overlay it onto the map (using custom overlays in Web V8 and set the opacity. You can put as many raster layers atop the map as you want. I found a couple applications that do just this. There are quite a few out there, but these just hit the web so I figured I’d call them out…



Time Map – This ShootHill application contains historic maps of the town of Shrewsbury and parts of London using the Bing Maps Web SDK. Use the TimeScope to move around the map and the TimeSlider to see how land has changed over time. Lot’s of cool features built into this application. By default, you’ll see a Bing Map with a window (aka TimeScope) which you can move around sort of like a magnifying glass to see historic maps of a specific area. As you view the area, you can specify which period of time you’re most interested in ranging from 1882 – 2009 by moving the TimeSlider left or right. Clicking on the Options button on the TimeScope provides a menu with other cool features:

  • Flip TimeScope – swap the Bing Maps from the background into the TimeScope and put the historic map as the backdrop.
  • Historic Photos – bring up the aerial photos of London from 1966 to see changes over time.
  • Hide / Show Scope – hides or shows the boundaries of the TimeScope.
  • Historic London – zips you over to London to interact with the TimeScope over London.
  • Historic Shrewsbury – zips you back to Shrewsbury to interact with the TimeScope over Shrewsbury.
  • 3D TimeMap, Record and Point Marker are reserved as future enhancements.

State of Queensland – Built by Soul Solutions using ICE and hosted in Azure Services Platform, The State of Queensland (Department of Natural Resources and Water) provides an Bing Maps application that allows users to control the year using a simple sliding bar. The years range from 1958 – 2009, so my Ozzie friends can see the aerial photos of the past in Queensland. Muti-image scaling greatness with Bing maps.


Fun stuff and certainly something that’s interesting to view the evolution of land over time. An excellent means of researching land development and population spread. Throw some spatial / demographic information atop this over the years, plus maybe some real estate home values, etc. Well, now I’m just giving away ideas that consultants get paid to come up with.