The Microsoft 311 Service Center with Bing Maps


Microsoft now has an all-in-one fully integrated solution for city governments with the 311 Citizen Services Center. It combines the power of several Microsoft technologies and has both a citizen-facing portal and a back-end management module, including interactive Bing Maps for both components. When cities use the 311 service center, citizens can easily report outages, potholes, etc. by locating them on a map. City workers and contractors can use Bing Maps for service request information and updates. 311 Service Center is another great example of how Bing Maps integrates with

Microsoft Dynamics® CRM to show the data the customer is managing, and to speed up the decision process.

To learn more about how your city can benefit from the Citizen Services Center (311), visit and watch this video.


Citizen-facing portal with self-service and multi-access channels



Google I/O 2011 – The Geo Developers

Google I/O was about the maturation of many of the Geo APIs, this year’s was more about their sophistication, both in the designs discussed and the applications on display. Like the sun standing still at the solstice, let’s take a moment to reflect on recent events and look ahead to the coming season.

Several new features made their debut at I/O this year. The much-anticipated Places API took the stage, as did its companion the Places Autocomplete API. Dynamic Styling was introduced for Fusion Tables layers in the Maps API, allowing layer styling to be defined by the API application via Javascript. Finally, some extremely helpful open source Javascript libraries were introduced to make Maps API development even easier.

Joining us on stage were several developers who came to share their expertise. Justin O’Beirne of 41Latitude talked about map usability and design in the “Designing Maps Applications for Usability” session. The Guardian UK’s Simon Rogers joined us to talk about how the Guardian is using Fusion Tables to visualize the data they collect in “Managing and Visualizing Your Location Based Data.” Yoni Samlan from SCVNGR also came to discuss developing with the Places API in “Location-based App Development.”

In addition to the sessions led by the Geo team, the developer sandbox featured eight Geo API partners who engaged directly with I/O attendees. Joining us in the sandbox were HistoryPin, Icon Fitness, Ubisense, The Wall Street Journal, Footprint Feed, The Bay Citizen, Arc2Earth, and Travel Game. The apps on display ranged from location-based gaming using the Latitude API to tools for citizen journalists to map public data using Fusion Tables. You can learn more about two of our sandbox partners in these video case studies:

  • The Bay Citizen (video) – The Bay Citizen explains the benefits of the Fusion Tables layer with Google Maps API to build infographics for their online newspaper. The Bike Accident Tracker visualizes the prevalence of bike accidents across San Francisco.
  • Historypin (video) – HistoryPin lets users upload historical photos, geotag them on a Google Maps, and overlay the old imagery on top of new Street View imagery, enabling users to see what their cities looked like at different points in time.

Geo APIs Summer Learning Series (apologies to the Southern Hemisphere)

But at the heart of Google I/O are the sessions themselves. This year, speakers from the Maps, Earth, and Fusion Tables teams covered a wide range of topics, from ensuring high performance and usability across all browsers to visualizing huge data sets with Fusion Tables. The amount of material covered was enormous…but we want to expand upon it.

To that end, we’re pleased to announce the “Geo APIs Summer Learning Series” on the Geo Developers Blog. Over the coming weeks, each talk will be getting its own blog post from the session speaker, pulling in what was discussed at I/O and then digging deeper into the technical content. Here is how the series will unfold:

Week of July 6th
Connecting People and Places
Location Based App Development using Google APIs
Secrets and Surprises of the Google Geo APIs

Week of July 11th
Managing and visualizing your location based data with Fusion Tables
Designing Maps Applications for Usability on Mobile and Desktop

Week of July 18th
High Performance KML for Maps and Earth
Speedy Maps

Week of July 25th
Map your business, inside and out
GIS with Google Earth and Google Maps

If you’d like a head start, videos of all the I/O sessions are linked above. Be sure to visit the Geo Developers Blog throughout July for even more great content from the Maps, Earth, and Fusion Tables teams.


Google Maps: The power of Fusion Tables with Dynamic Styling

The Fusion Tables Layer has been one of the most successful new features launched in the Maps API in the last year. We have seen a wealth of fascinating data visualizations that rely on Fusion Tables, such as the Bay Citizen Bike Accident Tracker and the WNYC Police Precinct map.

At Google I/O this week, Simon Rogers of the Guardian joined me and Kathryn Hurley of the Geo Developer Relations team to present some examples of how the Guardian uses Fusion Tables to visualise data for their readers, and introduce some great new features:

Fusion Tables allows you to share large tables of spatial data and render them on a map in a way that performs consistently well across all browsers, on desktop and mobile. The way in which the data is styled on the map, the markers used for points, the colours and stroke widths used for polylines and polygons, can be defined by the owner of the table in the Fusion Tables application, or using the new Fusion Tables Styling and InfoWindows API. However only the owner of the table can define the styling in this way, and styling for any single table is fixed.


At Google I/O we introduced Dynamic Styling of Fusion Tables layers. This allows the styling rules used for displaying a table in a Maps API application to be defined from JavaScript, and changed dynamically. For example you can use this to switch between rendering different data sets in the same table, or giving users control over which subset of the data is highlighted, as in the below example based on a public table of Chicago Homicides data:


In order to ensure the continued reliability of the Fusion Tables layer, we are also introducing some limits on the number of layers that can be used, and the complexity of styling. The Maps API now permits up to five Fusion Tables layers to be added to a map, one of which can be styled with up to five styling rules.

For information and code samples of how to apply dynamic styling to Fusion Tables, see our documentation, and for further assistance I recommend the Google Maps JavaScript API V3 forum. It’s great to see the creative ways in which Fusion Tables Layer is being used, and we hope this new flexibility will drive even more inspiring and informative Maps API applications.