Bing Maps: Silverlight, Enhanced Bird’s Eye, Streetside, Photosynth….WOW!

Today is a big day for Bing Maps. There’s lots of news coming out of this “private news event”, but from the looks of it the new Bing Maps Beta is the biggest of all.

Starting today if you go to Bing Maps you will see an invitation to try out the new Bing Maps Beta:
Let’s give it a try! Note: this does require you to install Silverlight 3, if you are unsure if you have it or if you already have version 3 you can check/install here.

On to Bing Maps Beta. Let’s start off by taking a look at a particular town, Seattle. Type it in the search box. Next zoom in to an area and switch to Bird’s Eye View from the control:
There? See those buildings? This is enhanced Bird’s Eye in Urban view! In the non-urban areas, flat facades are brought to life by taking satellite imagery and aerial photos. The buildings are 3D models placed into a 2D interface with 3D aspect ratio from Silverlight 3.
You can turn around those buildings too, have a look at each side, by using the arrows you see above the navigation! Think this is cool? Let’s get to the even cooler bit: Streetside!

See that little blue man on the map? Go on, click it and see a blue grid appear:
Now place the blue man anywhere on that grid. We fly into the picture right down into the street and we can walk around, even run around:
Look at that blue man in running position! Click and run! Amazing! The only bad news is that streetside is limited to cities in the US. If you zoom out completely on the map you can see all the covered cities (blue shaded areas). You can click the arrow next to the info pane to see more map btw ;)
You can click on any of the shaded areas to zoom directly to streetside. Now I don’t know about you but I absolutely love streetside and can’t wait for it to cover more cities across the World!

TIP: hover over zoom in/zoom out …
… and use the slider or the buttons for quick zooming in and out to World, State, Region, City or Neighborhood.

You thought that was it, huh? Nope, not quite! There are also map apps that allows you to see even more. How do you get them? Click the orange arrow:

Quite a few apps there already! I’m not going to go into every app there, that would be a bit too much but let’s take a look at the Photosynth map app. Click on it and you can explore Photosynths right there on the map! Yes, really integrated! We waited a long time for that now haven’t we?
Gong back to Seattle you now see green balloons where there are synths. Clicking on “dive into this one” will really make you dive into it, give it a go! Don’t get dizzy now!

The bar on the left will give you allsorts of information too, like if you are in Photosynth where nearby photosynths are and how many. In the general map view it gives you weather information (didn’t work when I tried it) and search information will also show up in there.

Now, incase I forgot something: Chris Pendleton has a post up and you can view all this in a video over at Channel 9.

More read of interest:
PressPass – Bing Maps Rolls Out Enhanced Aerial and Street-Level Views
Photosynths in Bing Maps. Dive in!
Bing: Connecting People, Places and Things