Bing Maps: A New Look for Pushpins, Popups, and Transit

Bing Maps  just rolled out some exciting new updates to that make it easier for you to find information on the map, explore the layouts of over 850 venues, as well as get to where you’re going with public transit (or transport). Read on to learn more!

Pushpin and Popup refresh

The pushpin. It’s the most common element overlaid on a map. And today, it’s getting an update. In making these changes, to both the pushpin and corresponding popup, our goals were simple: enable you to find the information you want, more quickly and efficiently, while at the same time minimizing obstruction of the map. Let’s take a deeper look at some before and after examples.

The updated pushpins are designed to better overlay on top of our base map color scheme and make it easier to find results when you perform a search. Search related content appears in blue, while user-generated and saved content (such as “My places”) use an orange colored pin. The contrast changes are more pronounced on hover (and for business searches, the corresponding item in the left-hand panel is adjusted as well), and we’ve also added a new small popup to tell you the name or location or the pin you’re hovering over. Now it’s much easier to quickly scan a bunch of pins to see what they are.



When you click to select a pin, it actually shrinks so as to expose more of the map underneath, and unveil our streamlined popup. Here, we’ve made a number of changes to more compactly display the relevant business or location information and stand out against the backdrop. The most popular actions available for each item have been simplified and consistently placed at the bottom. For most users (except those in the UK), the interaction has changed from a hover-only model to a click-based model for showing the full popup contents. (For users in the UK, where you already had to click to see the popup, we’ve simply added the new smaller hover popup in addition to the layout and style changes.) Overall, these improvements allow you to keep a popup visible while panning/adjusting the map, and even hover over other pins to see what they correspond to, ultimately making it easier for you to find the place you want more efficiently.


One final change you may have noticed is that the pushpins and popups dynamically adjust based on the current map style in order to ensure the information does not get lost on the map.


Enhanced Transit Experience

Public transit (and UK transport) users will find a handful of subtle improvements to our directions experience that make it easier to get where you’re going, and make sure you’re on the right line to get there. We’ve changed the way we represent each transit line to better reflect the actual colors and signage used by the line, both for our US and UK markets. You’ll see this reflected both in the on-map waypoints as well as our enhanced directions list.



More sharing options

We’ve also extended our ability to send directions to your mobile phone (via SMS) to support transit directions. This functionality is accessible via the “Send: Mobile” link at the bottom of the directions panel. You’ll receive a link on your mobile phone which loads the directions on, and works for all devices which can access (unfortunately, Windows Phone does not currently support transit).


Drag to modify your route

Users can now easily modify their directions routes by clicking and dragging on start, end, or waypoints. You’ll see a helpful tooltip appear when you hover over an element that can be adjusted simply by dragging and dropping—and the route will be recalculated automatically!

Explore venues

Did you know Bing Maps now has over 850 venue maps of airports, malls, shopping districts, and more? Browsing through them is now easier than ever! Just click on the “explore venue maps” link on Bing Maps, or to get there directly, to browse a categorized listing of available venue maps. You can filter them by country, sort them by location (or alphabetically), and browse through them spatially on the map. If you want to have your venue be part of Bing Venue maps, please contact us for details.


We’re excited about this next step in the evolution of our visual design and believe it is a big step forward for simplifying user interaction with the map, and helping users find the information they want quickly and efficiently. We’ll be rolling out these changes to bring consistency across the broader Bing network over the next few weeks.

Google Summer of Code & OpenIntents

This year was the first year OpenIntents participated in the Google Summer of Code. We are an open source organization which creates software for Android mobile phones and tablets, with special emphasis on interoperability with other software components.

As an organization we’ve found involvement in the Google Summer of Code extremely rewarding. The students have been able to improve their skills and gain practical experience in the stages of a software project, our organization has benefited from the interest generated from the students’ work, and the wider community will continue to benefit from the code the students have delivered.

We particularly enjoyed the international aspect of the program. All students, mentors, and co-mentors lived in different countries which did not prevent us from having a great time discussing the projects through Skype and live chat sessions. We received a great number of excellent proposals, from which two very different projects were chosen for the program.

Elena Burceanu’s project aimed to enhance the Sensor Simulator. During the first weeks, the GUI was polished, both in appearance and through clever code restructuring. After enhancing the GUI the number of supported sensors was increased and now includes Android sensors for gyroscope and general rotation vector. Finally, a scenario simulator was added, which creates sensor output from a set of initial states and the ability to change the time intervals between them. The sensor’s values are smoothly interpolated between the key frames. The final product was released as version 2.0. The source code and documentation for Elena’s project are now available to view.

Andras Berke’s project consists of a new application called Historify which displays the user’s activities with others over a variety of communication methods (Voice, SMS, Facebook, etc.), and provides a method for third party applications to supply other activity events showing the interoperability of Android applications. During the summer Andras went through the whole application design process from the UI wireframes to a first beta release including documentation along the way. In addition, he provided demo applications to show how third party developers can interact with Historify. You can now view the source code and documentation from Andras’ summer project.

Google Places: “We currently do not support the location”


When working in Places the message that we all dread to hear: We do currently do not support the location is a Google message that instills the fear of god in the most expert of us. In normal situations it will show when a newly created listing has not yet been integrated in the Maps index. Give it 48 hours and the message goes away.

However there has been a more sinister occurrence where it will show up all of the sudden on a long claimed and stable record and it’s the bane of who ever runs into it . Until now it was not known what caused it or how to fix it. It is a message that shows up all too often in the forums raising its head there 3 or 4 times a week.

Fortunately for all concerned, a frequent contributor to the German Places Forums, Spinatmensch has discoved a work around for this most devastating of Google Places Bugs. Here are the instructions as detailed by EHG, another frequent contributor:

1. go into the GooglePlace account containing the “unsuported” location.
2. click the name of the entry to get the URL of the analytics site of the entry opened in a new tab of the browser.
Its URL should look like:[the numbered Place identifier]&hl=en&gl=US
3. Now enter any  content into the field below the line “Share an update on your place page” and hit the button Share” to publish the new content.

I have tested this recently with Andrew Baker whose Places Page was experiencing the problem. This solution may actually recover some of the listings that were edited during the Pending problem as well.