Virtual Earth, Live Maps update: Lots of new features, new SDKs, more

Virtual Earth 6.2, a big new update to Live Maps, and new access to a 3DVia content library where you can download, mash-up, and include 3D content on your 3D maps collections just went live.  Lots to tell you about, and we’ll be going into more depth on Virtual Earth soon, but here’s some highlights.  Thanks to Virtual Earth Evangelist Chris Pendleton for keeping us in the loop on this one.

We’ll hit the high points, but for more, check out Chris’s 3 blog posts:

New Feature Release of Live Search Maps!

New Version of Microsoft Virtual Earth 3D and 3DVia

Announcing the Virtual Earth Web Service and Virtual Earth Map Control 6.2

and for a good point by point feature list of what’s new in Virtual Earth 6.2, Mark Brown posted too:

Announcing: Virtual Earth 6.2 and Virtual Earth Web Services 1.0

Live Search Maps

Lots of new stuff in Live Search Maps, including:

Communities: Collections are indexed and available for search “seconds” after they are loaded.  In addition, Collections data is used where no Business listings are available for business searches

Local search: Improvements include filters refine searches based on what you are searching for (hotels, for example)

Details page: Moved from a tabbed model to inline, allowing for much more content:

Multi-Point directions: Enables you to generate a single set of directions for reaching multiple destinations

Landmark hints: Hints will show up in driving directions in North America, telling you to “turn at the Taco Bell”

Weather: in 3D real time weather, based on 14 cloud types, updated every 3 hours, will be available

Virtual Earth 3D and 3DVia

Go to Live Search Maps and click on 3D, and you’ll be prompted to update to a new version.  At the same time, you can update the 3DVia bits (from Chris’s blog):

As for Dassault, well, they’ve just opened up their 3D model inventory hosted in’s 3D online content library as a part of a program called "remix" which is effectively a 3D mashup creator with Virtual Earth. You now have access to thousands of models hosted on that can be "remixed" in 3DVia and hosted on Live Search Maps for rendering in your Virtual Earth application. Whoa. Additionally, they’ve updated the UI and navigation to be more user friendly (thank you!) and released video tutorials illustrating among other things how to build a house in less than 5 minutes.

Virtual Earth 6.2 and Virtual Earth Web Services 1.0

We’ll be going into more depth on Virtual Earth here on LiveSide soon, but both the Virtual Earth Interactive SDK and the Virtual Earth AJAX Control SDK on MSDN have been significantly updated.  Check the posts from Chris and Mark for more, and check out their webcasts (from both Chris and Mark), coming up later in the week.