New Virtual Earth Features Launched

Microsoft have launched the latest version of Virtual Earth on http://local.live.com. Along with a bit of a redesign they have added some really neat drawing features.

Click to see actual collection on virtual earth

You can now easily draw areas and routes that could be used by businesses to show all kinds of things like catchment area, population statistics, house prices, race routes, delivery areas, bus routes, train routes, scientific data the list is endless. To see an example of the kind of collection anyone can make click here.

Virtual Earth is now really shaping up to become an extremely powerful business mapping solution with the existing easy to use pinpoints (a feature which google have recently also added) and the new drawing tools its now even easier to create powerful maps for your website.

In the US they have also added more 'birds eye' views for various cities, unfortunately no more currently for the UK :-(.

The glove has definitely now been thrown to google maps, the features and development cycle for virtual Earth is now vastly superior to that of Google Maps, as is the satellite coverage. Of course the problem in comparing Virtual Earth to Google maps, Google Earth or Yahoo maps is that Virtual Earth is not free. As I've already discussed on this blog there is a not particularly clear charging structure for usage of Virtual Earth when you use more than 5,000 transactions per day.