Live Maps with Virtual Earth 3D – what fun!

Lots of goodness with the new 3D features of Live Maps – one thing to see it on a big screen at Searchification but a whole ‘nother world to be able to play with it in real time.

Unlike some of the “rollouts” we’ve seen from Windows Live, this Live Search Maps upgrade appeared (from what we can tell) on time, feature complete, underpromising and overdelivering.  Nice job!

One of the new features we were shown, an ability to create a tour (with Live Maps 3D moving from collection point to collection point) and then share it, while it does lack in the ability to really control the experience, is a very nice first attempt.  For a somewhat dizzying experience, you can load up the LiveSide Stickers Around the World! collection:

http://local.live.com/?v=2&cid=629D3050E0813A28%21229&e1ncType=

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..and click on “Tour in 3D”.

Since that tour is a bit long and winding, I created another quick collection, this time featuring some Microsoft points of interest.

http://local.live.com/?v=2&cid=629D3050E0813A28!562&encType=1

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After you’re done playing with the Tour, the Bird’s Eye incorporation into 3D is much cooler than can be shown in a still picture – this is very well done:

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Even the “road view” 3D buildings have been rendered much better, a big improvement over the earlier version:

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And while I did get 3DVia installed (it does take some hefty video specs), I haven’t had time to play with it much, so we’ll save that for another post:

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(you can try it yourself by clicking on “Collections” in the upper right hand corner of Live Maps when you’re in 3D, and then “Add a 3D Model” – it will take you through the installation experience.  This is not a Microsoft product, and the interface is completely different than a usual Windows app, so it takes a bit of getting used to.)