Category Archives: Virtual Earth

Hey, Virtual Earth is finally aimed at Developers!

If it weren’t for Neil Roodyn’s ViaVirtualEarth site, anyone doing development against Virtual Earth would have been at a huge loss last summer. Eventually Microsoft started doing some webcasts, but still, there was a dearth of help out there directly from Microsoft. I just got a download notification from Microsoft and it points to the Virtual Earth SDK.

Personally, I have stopped fiddling with VE since the API was overhauled a while ago. I know I have a learning curve (and my Virtual Earth on Ink app… using the old API broke with the release of the new – uggh) but am busy with so many other things. One of the things I had done in my app was discover and reuse the tiles from whatever map was in current view. Apparently you are not allowed to do that now [no comment], though there are some interesting articles (1, 2) on ViaVirtualEarth about using the VE Tile Servers (with caveats about the future availability of the tile servers).

I would love to see the use ink. However my app has been out there for over a year and I haven’t heard a peep from Microsoft about it. Oh well, it was still a really fun challenge that Neil put in front of me. 🙂

In the meantime, Virtual Earth on has become an amazing tool! I’m a big fan of it, but now define myself as end-user rather than as a developer of VE.

Here’s the SDK.

Windows Live Local – give me “tinyurls”?

I created a scratchpad today using Windows Live Local that has a view of my house (yes my HOUSE outin the boonis in the mountain. You can actually see where my house is (though the photo must be from shortly before it was actually built), the trails into the woods. Anyway, I selected eight points on it for my scratch pad with a title and notes for each one. Then I clicked on the email function and it created an email but the link. Yikes. Was it long and filled with gook. Lori McKinney from the Huntsville .NET User Group sent me a tiny url to get to a scratch pad she created for seeing where their meeting location was, the airport and a few surrounding hotels. That’s the way to go. So hopefully down the road, this [very cool application which has come  long way since Virtual Earth’s release this summer!!] will enable a cleaner way to share scratchpads without having to take care of that piece of the puzzle ourselves. I sent the link of the scratchpad I created to my husband he told me he deleted it because it was filled with gobbledygook. That is going to be the typical reponse of regular users.

Don’t Forget:

MapPoint and Windows Live Local got me lost

Oh I hate to say this but it’s true. When picking up my neice last weekend, her mother and I decided to meet halfway and find a Friendly’s which would be amenable to all the kids. So I used Windows Live Local to drill into the general area and then show me all the Friendly’s. There was one right in the town we were focused on. Perfect. Then I asked Windows Live Local to map it for me and give me directions. We followed the directions and ended up on the wrong side of town in a totally residential area. Rich and I drove back towards the comnercial area and just asked someone for directions. I had sent my niece the link to those same directions, so they got pretty lost as well but finally found their way.

I tried to have it locate a few other businesses that I saw when I went to the real Friendly’s, but WLL puts them all in that same person’s back yard.

For comparison, MapQuest couldn’t find the Friendly’s in West Lebanon, NH though it gives me about ten others in NH and VT. But when I typed in Friendlys (without the apostrophe), it got me there correctly.  Google got it right.

To be fair, I went back to WLL and just typed in Friendly, but again, landed in the person’s back yard.

I really like the interface of Windows Live Local. Truly I do. It’s very cool, how the directions pop up and you can actually go step by step on the map even. But this next step of mapping software – the sophistication of typing in a business name and expecting perfect directions (whether from Google, MapQuest or Microsoft) is just not quite there yet. I just don’t want to get lost.

Don’t Forget:

Looks like I have to update my old Virtual Earth based website….

I haven’t revamped the code from the Virtual Earth site that I built using the first version of Virtual Earth and it seems to be quite broken now. I noticed the other day looking at someone else’s V.E. site that the entire middle section of tiles was missing. The problem happens on my site as well. But worse, the functionality that I spent a LOT of hours to get working is also broken. This is the part that brings the tiles over to an inkable surface. Eventually, I’ll have to retool and move it up to Windows Live Local speed. In my “free time”.

Too bad I am going to be totally out of the office tomorrow. I guess I might need to attend the Virtual Earth Madness webcast!

Don’t Forget:

Learn to Program Virtual Earth – virtually or live – and win an XBox 360!

Thom Robbins is presenting a 1/2 day seminar on Programming Virtual Earth on March 1st  in Boston and it will also be accessible over Live Meeting.

At the end of the session, Thom will announce how you can participate in the a Virtual Earth Mashup and even win an XBOX 360.

Thom will also have help from the ViaVirtualEarth‘s  Neil Roodyn and maybe even me.

For information on go to the registration page for the virtual event.

Don’t Forget:

Windows Live Local (aka Virtual Earth) wins PC Mag Editors Choice

Congratulations to the Windows Live Local team on being selected for an Editors Choice Award by PC Magazine!!

I had to laugh when I saw the screen shot in the PC Mag article. One of the tags is for Ft. Green Park in Brooklyn. In a former life (my 20’s) I lived 1/2 block from that park.

(add’l plug for the WLL team: Want to join this “winning team”? They are hiring!!)

Don’t Forget:

Virtual Earth enhanced and added to Windows Live

MSN Virtual Earth will be renamed Windows Live Local. I guess that it won’t be confused with Google Earth’s name that way ;-). There have also been some enhancements as reported by the Kelsey Group by way of Dare – better driving directions, Birds Eye imagery and user pushpins are among these.

Hmmm no word about ink though…nobody from Microsoft has ever asked me how I did it. 

Don’t Forget: