Easier mapping with the new Google Map Maker

With 2012 approaching, we’re getting a head start on our New Year’s resolution to shed some excess weight and improve our overall appearance. You may have seen our ongoing efforts to improve the look, feel, and user experience across many other Google products to date. And with Google Map Maker available in the United States, Canada, and more than 180 other regions, it’s time for another makeover. Today, we’re revealing a new version of Google Map Maker to help users map the places they know best and make their hometowns sparkle on Google Maps.

Start with a walkthrough of the new Google Map Maker

With Map Maker, you can easily help ensure that the changing world around you is accurately reflected on the map. Add your favorite gift shop, the nearest tree farm, or even the golf course where you once got that hole in one. It’s also easier to mark the best route to Grandma’s house and draw better buildings with courtyards and crisper corners. The options are endless when it comes to mapping the places you know and love. Once approved, your contributions will appear on Google Maps, Google Earth and Google Maps for mobile for all the world to see.

You don’t have to be an expert to start using Google Map Maker. High school student and Eagle Scout Tommy Bruce is a mapping superstar who finds mapping fun, fulfilling, and a simple way to help those in his community have the best, most comprehensive information possible. He started by mapping bike trails in his hometown of Mooresville, North Carolina and is now on an exchange program in Puebla, Mexico, mapping unmarked rivers that run through town! After witnessing Tommy’s accomplishments firsthand at the U.S. Geo User Summit, even his mother Margaret began thinking of places that she’s eager to put on the map.

Why not make your New Year’s resolution to improve the map for millions of people? Start here.

The New War Horse Interactive Map on MSN

Many of you have heard of Steven Spielberg’s latest hit movie War Horse, which came out in USA theatres on December 25 and is launching in Europe in January. What you may not have heard of is the War Horse Journeyon MSN. It’s a tool that allows you to explore the journey of Joey (the war horse). For more on the Journey tool, check out this MSN Blog Post. We at Bing Maps just wanted to call out our partner in the UK, Shoothill, who worked with the movie to create a true one-of-a-kind mapping experience!
Here’s a quick overview of the Timemap in the War Horse Journey, but nothing can compare with just spending time in the map itself. The Timemap combines present day maps with WWI era imagery all in one place! It has 3 components: video/photos, aerial photos and historic maps. The fade slider functionality lets you compare maps from WWI with today. Take a look…
Villers Bretonneux, France
December, 1917
Villers Bretonneux, France
Present Day
Historic trench map of Kemmel, Belgium
April, 1917
Belgium landscape today
Go spend some time playing around with the Timemap and the War Horse Journey. The Timemap is an incredible way to explore history and shows the lasting mark WWI has made on our world.
Note that the War Horse Journey is available for a limited time only, so get out there and experience history today!

NAVIGON 2.0 Navigation App for iPhone

A couple of months ago, Garmin acquired Germany-based navigation provider NAVIGON to extend ther footprint in Europe and in the mobile applications space. Just like Garmin, these guys develop great products and we’re excited to work with their team.
Now, NAVIGON announced a broad overhaul of its popular iPhone navigation app that includes a couple of major improvements, so we wanted to make sure you’ll be able to check out the details.

Like Garmin’s StreetPilot OnBoard app, NAVIGON for iPhone is an onboard navigation app that saves the maps on the device to stay independent of cell phone coverage. This is really helpful when you lose your data connection, since you’ll still be able to navigate and calculate new routes. But it also means that you have to save large amounts of map data on your phone. NAVIGON 2.0 is the first onboard navigation app that solves this issue by allowing users to download maps by state. You can simply pick the maps you need and download additional ones at a later point (WIFI connection required).

Navigation systems have become more complex over the last years, so NAVIGON has also rethought the way the app interface is structured. As a result, the new version is more intuitive and easier to use than ever before. In addition, NAVIGON 2.0 also includes an in-app purchase option for quarterly map updates.

Watch the video below to see the new features in action.