The historic and cultural sites of Mexico

Nothing compares to the sensation of visiting a place where history was made. Exploring castles, pyramids and other historical landmarks in a country provokes a deeper understanding and respect for unique cultures and creates a sense of belonging. Today, technology enables us to expand our horizons in a matter of clicks, bringing foreign cultures and history to us from around the world.

Mexico is a country full of natural beauty and cultural heritage. It’s archaeological sites attract hundreds of thousands of tourists each year. Today, we are making these historical landmarks more accessible than ever by bringing an interactive atlas from the National Institute of Anthropology to Google Earth.

Download the new KML file of this historical archive to view geo-referenced scale models (many in 3D) of monuments, archaeological sites, museums and other buildings that make up the cultural heritage of Mexico.

View the historic and cultural sites that make up Mexico’s history from anywhere in the world.
Through Google Earth, you can virtually visit 416 locations across Mexico, including 182 archaeological sites, 116 museums, 31 world heritage sites, 83 3D models and 4 schools. Many of the models presented in this interactive guide were created through the ‘Put Mexico on the map’ competition recently hosted by Google and the National Institute of Anthropology.

Learn more about this effort that helps bring Mexico’s history to life by visiting We hope this new resource makes it fun to both learn about Mexico’s rich cultural heritage and plan your next Mexican vacation.

The News in the AJAX Map Control


The new modules add some very handy features, and they really show off the dynamic module loading capabilities of the AJAX 7.0 control by adding functionality when you need it, and getting out of the way when you don’t.

The new modules help you:

Calculate driving directions using the new Microsoft.Maps.Directions module. This makes it easier than ever to integrate driving, transit, and walking directions into your applications. Try it now (Interactive SDK).

Display a venue map using the Microsoft.Maps.VenueMaps module.  Venue maps show details of what’s going on inside malls, airports, and shopping districts.  Now you can show your customers not just where the building is, but exactly where your store is located inside.  This is one of the most popular consumer features on Bing Maps today and now you can make it part of your apps as well.Try it now (Interactive SDK).

Show current traffic on the map using the Microsoft.Maps.Traffic module.  Not only does this module make it easier to show traffic conditions, the new traffic overlays that shipped with v1.2 of the road map style look better than ever. Try it now (Interactive SDK).

But that’s not all, if you are doing advanced map development then we hope you will find these new features helpful:

Set polyline and polygon stroke dash. To further customize your shapes, use the new property strokeDashArray of the PolylineOptions Object and PolygonOptions Object.

New tile layer property and event. Ensure the best performance of your tile layer during animation by modifying the new animationDisplay property of the TileLayerOptions Object. Also, determine when your tile layer is fully downloaded using the new tiledownloadcomplete event.

New map options. For increased flexibility, new options showBreadcrumb, disableBirdseye, disablePanning, and disableZooming have been added to the MapOptions ObjectTry it now (Interactive SDK).

Before we sign off we wanted to acknowledge those who have seen the new “locate me” function implemented onBing Maps and asked when developers will be able to do the same.  The good news is that it’s already live today, just check out Get User Location functions.

Also, you might have noticed that in this post we are linking directly to features on the Interactive SDK.  We received lots of requests from developers for this feature when we released the iSDK back in May, and so we’ve redone the site to make that possible.

Google Earth:Interactive Digital Atlas

To me, the most interesting thing about today’s release of Google Earth 6 isn’t any of the new features… but rather the announcement itself; specifically, the announcement’s very first sentence:

Today we’re introducing the latest version of Google Earth, our interactive digital atlas. [emphasis mine]

It’s interesting to me that Google labels Google Earth as an “atlas”—not because of the terminology (it certainly seems to fit the definition of an “atlas”)—but rather because Google seems to be labeling it as the company’s sole “atlas”. (Notice that they didn’t say “one of our” interactive digital “atlases”.) Apparently, Google Maps is not also an “atlas”.

This actually makes quite a bit of sense. For instance, I can’t ever recall seeing an “atlas” that didn’t denote national capitals. While Google Earth (aka Google’s “atlas”) certainly does, Google Maps doesn’t. Consider also that Google Earth shows many secondary political boundaries, like county borders, that are entirely missing from Google Maps. Indeed, in many ways, Google Earth actually is a better “atlas” than Google Maps.

In other ways, though, Google Earth is an inferior “atlas” to Google Maps. Case-in-point: Google Earth’s sparse and uneven city labels. Cities with populations of under 20,000, for instance, typically don’t appear until you’re in full view of their street grids. In my own experience, this makes navigating Google Earth quite difficult, and it’s incredibly easy to get lost while browsing the maps. (I’m not alone in this view.) [1] Previous comments about Bing’s sparse city labels could easily be applied Google Earth—doubly so, in fact. You simply have to zoom-in way too far before most smaller cities appear on the maps. [2] Besides that, most of the information on Google Maps’s “Terrain” maps (elevation contours, terrain coloring, etc.) seems to be entirely missing from Google Earth. And consider that Google Earth doesn’t even have Google Maps’s diversity of city “dots”: unlike on Google Maps, all of Google Earth’s cities (other than its capitals) have the exact same city “dots” and label sizes, precluding meaningful comparisons amongst cities.

All this aside, I don’t understand why Google Maps can’t also be an “atlas”. Why show information like country capitals and county labels on Google Earth, but not on Google Maps? I think there’s an incredibly easy (and elegant) solution to this, and I don’t understand why Google hasn’t implemented something similar to it. (They could even call it an “Atlas” tab.) [3]



[1] For a direct comparison of the city label densities on Google Earth and Google Maps, click here.

[2] Given how “advanced” Google Earth is, I’m surprised users are unable to customize the maps’ city label densities.

[3] Consider also that Google Maps, as opposed to Google Earth, is generally more accessible to greater number of people. There’s nothing to install; all you need is a somewhat-modern browser.