Bing Maps with a new user interface


Over the past few months, we’ve been testing some enhancements to the Bing Maps interface that we’re excited to now make available for everyone. The most apparent changes are to our task and navigation controls, where—based on your feedback—we’ve made it easier to find the most common actions to complete your task at hand.

For reference, here’s the previous design (pay particular attention to the top and bottom of the page):


Here’s the refreshed version:


We’ve consolidated actions that were previously scattered throughout the page, and concentrated them along the top, where you expect to find them. We’ve included text labels for most of the buttons. And, most importantly, we’ve focused on making the controls accessible while still allowing the map to be the focus of the page.

These improvements are being rolled out to all of our international sites with appropriate market-specific functionality. For example, Bing Maps users in the UK will still have access to the London Street Map and Ordnance Survey styles, along with our standard Road map, via the vector style drop-down. The public transport overlay, showing tube, DLR, and tram networks, is also readily available from the navigation bar when the map is centered over the greater London area.]


You’ve told us you love our unique Bird’s eye 45-degree perspective, viewable from all four compass directions, as well as our high resolution Aerial imagery (see the recent blog post on the Global Ortho Project for more details). As a result, we’ve improved access to these imagery types by making them directly accessible from the top of the navigation bar. At the same time, you can now more easily switch between various road and imagery styles with a single click. You also have the option to view either of the imagery styles with or without labels, depending on your preference.


TIP: Automatically center the map on your current location

If you’re visiting Bing Maps with a browser that supports the W3C Geolocation API, you’ll find a new button (calledlocate me) available to the left of the breadcrumb that, when clicked, will center the map on your current location as reported by your browser.


You’ll receive the highest accuracy results—including a pin and approximate radius—when using a computer with WiFi enabled. You can turn off the pin by clicking the button again. (Note: all browsers will prompt you to share your location after you click the locate me button; if you choose not to allow access, Bing Maps will be unable to center the map on your location.)


We hope you find these changes make Bing Maps simpler and more efficient to use as you focus on completing your map-focused tasks!



WeatherSpark Beta

WeatherSpark Beta– Historical weather patterns visualised

An excellent Google maps mashup -an early contender for best gmap 2011.

WeatherSpark Beta

“WeatherSpark is a pretty amazing Google Map of current and historical weather conditions. The site lets you view the historical records of over 4,000 weather stations.”

example above!graphs;ws=28726;t=321909;mspp=37115493

Climate Patterns
WeatherSpark Climate Beta

If you are more interested in today’s weather you can just center the map on your location and view the current temperature and the current precipitation radar


Bing Maps Tip of the Week: Shift-click and Right click

Tell the truth: how many times have you wanted to quickly zoom in to a
specific part of the map, and found it tedious to continually press the zoom in
button and re-center the map to get what you want? If you’re familiar with our
handy click-zoom feature, you already know that there’s a better way (but
continue reading—we’ve made some changes). And if you’ve never heard of it, read
on—I think you’ll love this timesaving tip!

With “click-zoom”, you can quickly and precisely zoom and center the map
exactly where you want it by clicking and dragging a rectangle around your
desired view. In past releases of Bing Maps, you could initiate this by holding
the CONTROL button down while left-clicking on the map. This had one
unfortunate side-effect on Macs: Control + click is the shortcut for
right-click—and that behavior overrode our click-zoom functionality.

To allow all Bing Maps users equal access to the click-zoom functionality,
and keep our keyboard shortcuts consistent across all browsers, we have recently
changed the key combination required to SHIFT and click. Beyond that, it
works exactly the same as before.

Let’s try an example: say you’re looking at a zoomed out view of the San
Francisco Bay Area, and you want to quickly zoom in to downtown San Francisco.
The fastest way to do so is to press and hold the SHIFT key on your
keyboard, and then left click with your mouse and drag a rectangle around the
area you want to zoom to.

As soon as you release your mouse, voilà, you’re now looking at exactly what you selected. Compare that to 5 clicks of the zoom-in button (in this example), and you can see this is quite a timesaver!

While we’re talking about timesaving tips, did you also know you could quickly zoom by right-clicking anywhere on the map? The right-click menu (accessible via your right mouse button, or Control + click on a Mac) contains options that make it easy to get directions to/from a specific point, add a custom pushpin (which can be saved to “My places”), zoom to either region or city level, and finally, center the map on the selected point.

So next time you’re staring at the world map and want to zoom in closely and quickly, just remember: SHIFT + click will take you there!