Vamshidhar Kommineni

December 24, 2006

Live Maps features: Pushpins, Drawing and Area Marking

Filed under: Microsoft — Vamshi @ 1:32 am

I’d like to use an example to illustrate some of the features of Live Maps and how it goes well beyond just mapping and driving directions.

Let’s say I want to show you how to get from the Pike Place Market to the Space Needle in Seattle.

Normally, I would search for Pike Place Market, the Space needle, ask for driving directions (using the "Drive to…" and "Drive From…" links on the places of interest) and end up with something like this:

Driving directions from Pike Place to Space Needle

That’s useful in itself and a fairly well implemented feature. But what I really want to do is direct you from the parking garage in Pike Place to parking for the Space needle while taking you on 4th Avenue (there’s a ton of construction on Western, and it can be a bit slower than taking 4th). So I can use the nifty pushpins feature (second from the left in the screenshot below) to mark the parking locations along with the attractions:

Pushpins with parking

I then use the drawing feature (third from the left on the screenshot above) on the scratch pad to end up with the route on the same map:

Parking and correct route marked

You’ll notice that a nice feature of the drawing tools is that it shows distance on the route that you are drawing. Very useful for marking things like hiking/biking/jogging trails as well as measuring in city distances.

Finally, I’d like to mark the boundaries of the Seattle Center for you to wander around and see what else is in the Space needle complex other than the Needle itself. For this I use the "Mark an area on the map" to outline a region and fill it in, which leads me to the final link that I will email to you:

A trip from Pike Place to the Seattle Center

Obviously, I’ve over complicated the example above to some extent. The final link takes less than a minute for me to generate. Combined with the Bird’s eye view feature (I wrote about this earlier) or the 3D view feature, you could literally drive the entire route prior to getting there. I could also save this link as a "Collection" to share with other people looking for similar information. I’ll leave the collections feature for a different post.

The utility of these 3 features is quite good. I can add arbitrary push pins all over the map (to indicate locations for an apartment hunt for instance), draw routes (bike paths come to mind as a useful thing) or outline regions (outlining neighborhoods, zip codes, school district boundaries, etc.). Collections using these features can be extend local knowledge of an area to people fairly easily.

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2 Comments »

  1. Of course. I dare you to compare it to Google Maps and find better features :)

    Comment by Vamshidhar Kommineni — December 26, 2006 @ 10:33 pm | Reply

  2. Looks like you are a fanboy of Live Maps ;)

    -Mani

    Comment by El Ferrocarril — December 26, 2006 @ 1:57 pm | Reply


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