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Microsoft is playing catch-up to rival Google with the release of a beta world mapping service, MSN Virtual Earth.
...However, Microsoft has also released a separate client-side application, Microsoft Location Finder, which integrates with MSN Virtual Earth and allows a user to pinpoint their own position by means of signals from wireless networks.
In Europe, Google has aerial photographs of many cities, so that I can count the cars in front of my house in Munich (Germany). Even in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) I can distinguish individual houses in the satellite images. With MSN I need the marker to show me where either city even is, because there's not enough detail to visually recognize them. Even at the same scale, Google's images show much more crisp detail, while MSN is blurry.
Lots of work left to be done here.
Wow - this is amazing.
The scroll bar is fast (in fact, the entire site seems very quick).
I often have issues loading google maps, this is the fastest internet based browing app I've seen.
It loads fast, but the scroller is not smooth, which is annoying to me at least. The graphics in Google are way better, which is probably why the loading time is slower. It also is in color. I like the idea of "flying" over the terrain which I didn't notice in MSN.
Heck, type in New Zealand and it cannot even find a location. Years of catch up to do here. Google has most of New Zealand in great digital imagery.
Sorry, but MSN are losing this battle, and I only picked one random example.
Hope MSN open up an API also - and I hope Google put in City and Region locations - the data is there - the US geo...names? dept (help me out here!) publish data for this - in the public domain, would make there product feel more complete whilst waiting for all the roads and such.
Overall - great to see internet mapping hotting up :)
Have we all fallen for gimmicks? The real use for these mapping apps is searching for services / places and directions. So the accuracy of that data is what's most important and how easy it is to use NOT the resolution of the images. We should be reviewing these apps on this not if we can see our house.
Who really cares if they can see their house in good resolution on any mapping application? It's not what it's for! If I wanted to see a picture of the top of my roof close up I'd climb on my roof and take a picture myself.
Practical application of mapping software (and another one of my random stories).
A couple weeks ago we're going out to see a movie. Having just moved, we're not famaliar with the theatres around here. Most theatres don't offer parking (big city), and we don't feel like taking the El.
A quick search on the satellite maps shows us several theatres, which one's have a parking lot, which one's don't.
Issue resolved, off to the movies with a parking space.
The best thing it - it's not me who thought of using the maps. It was someone who's not a total internet geek. 'Average surfers' are using these systems in such ways.