Town of Banff Online Maps and Apps

As many of you already know or perhaps may have recently discovered, CanadianGIS.com has been high-lighting places in Canada that have an online web mapping site or application in order to help better provide information to their residents.

Town of Banff

Now this month the Town of Banff is featured as they too have now joined the spatial ranks of several other Cities and Municipalities in Canada with the launch of their own online mapping site (Simply check out the Web Maps category link or the site search tools along the right side to find many other great Canadian Online Map sites featured).

Their new Maps and Apps website created by the Town of Banff GIS and IT departments now provides free public access to maps and geospatial applications that help the Town of Banff provide better services and connect with it’s own citizens in a new way.

Through pre-made web served maps created from a collection of over 200 different layers of geographic information, people can find local services, learn more about projects, explore regions of Banff or create their own maps. The various geospatial applications also provide a new way to allow citizens to get more involved by providing them with interactive tools, such as better ways to report street light outages or problems with transportation.

Using Esri Canada’s Community Maps Program and ArcGIS Online, Esri’s cloud-based GIS solution, the Town of Banff has been able to serve detailed accurate base maps, provide several pre-made maps and value added applications. This mapping solution has allowed them to efficiently produce more than 25 free maps and applications (online, mobile & PDF) such as the Bike Banff mobile app or the interactive Heritage Walking Tour application. The pre-made free maps and applications make it easier for residents and visitors to quickly find the information they need to help make better decisions.

 

Town of Banff Online Maps

 

 The maps and apps are organized around city services and the information you need to do business with the Town of Banff on a daily basis. You’ll find maps and apps provided by the Town’s departments of Corporate Services, Engineering, Operations, Planning, and Community Services.The site will also highlight innovators and innovations that demonstrate a more collaborative and open government.

The various maps and apps available on BanffMaps.ca are supported by the following browsers: Firefox 3.5+, Chrome 4+, Internet Explorer 7+, and Apple Safari 3+.

If you have an application that is not listed in the Maps and Apps gallery or can think of a great idea of one using Town of Banff data, then they have a section on the site where you can submit your map or application.

Town of Banff are also further exploring their mapping capabilities by planning to deploy several staff with iPhone smartphone devices, providing them with the ability to access and update GIS data from outside the office. This could provide value added management where staff can track snow-plow locations, report accidents and traffic congestion as well as many other time sensitive tasks.

Now while this site may not be as robust or great as some other online map applications that I have covered, it still is a pretty easy to use mapping site with plenty of  free maps and applications making it easier for residents and visitors to quickly find the information they need to help make better decisions. So keep an eye on this site as it will no doubt grow much larger as more people discover it and get involved.

If you know of an online web mapping site that should be included in the CanadianGIS.com collection of Canadian Online Map Sites then I encourage you to contact me.

British Columbia’s DataBC program

Recently I received a few messages updating me about the progress the province of British Columbia has made with their DataBC project witch helps provide the public access to public funded data sets (http://www.data.gov.bc.ca/).

Screen Grab DataBC - online web mapping portal

I checked  DataBC site out and was impressed with the great job that the BC folks have done with sharing their geographic tools and data that in turn should also help increase the use of geomatics in British Columbia.

DataBC – Provincial Open Data

The DataBC program provides public access to provincial geographic information through a single web interface, offering a multitude of geographic data (spatial and non-spatial), applications and tools in order to help their citizens make better informed decisions, inspire change and encourage development of new ideas to improve government decision making & policies. Besides providing the Provincial Open Data initiative they also mange the Provincial SDI/Services Architecture among other things.

They have provided minimal licensing requirements to their data to help broaden the use of the Province’s assets. “You can use our geographic services to help map the data and find tools to help you conduct your own research, analyze statistics, develop apps or to simply satisfy your curiosity.” Open data provides opportunities for the public geomatics community to help changing demands of society.

“BC has rich and varied geography. From the rich farmland of the Fraser Valley to the deep forests of northern BC and Vancouver Island, no two places are alike. This diversity has made BC a geomatics leader in Canada. Since 2003, the Province of BC has provided a Spatial Data Infrastructure, centred on the BC Geographic Warehouse. This shared data store of geographic data greatly increases the availability and use of the Province’s wealth of geographic data. To support this work, we also provide web services, application frameworks and online applications to discover, view, download and analyze geospatial data.

The Spatial Data Infrastructure encompasses all government sectors, providing hosting, transformation and delivery of data across government and to the public. Used extensively to support government decisions, these systems serve hundreds of thousands of users with 110 legislated and mandated line of business applications such as land tenure, transportation, public safety and emergency response systems.

iMapBC is the primary map viewer used to access this comprehensive collection of data.”

[source: data.gov.bc.ca/dbc/geo/index.page]

What type of Open data is available from British Columbia’s DataBC Catalogue?

They provide data in a variety of formats including XLS, CSV, SHP, KML formats for downloading with an optional WMS data connection for loading data sets directly into your GIS software. Since they are now approaching almost 3000 different data sets, (all with Open Government Licence use) it is pretty pointless to list them all here, however here are a few highlights of the data sets are available as WMS services:

  • Administrative Boundaries – This web map service offers seamless, administrative boundary data for the province of British Columbia.
  • Air and Climate – Data relating to patterns of wind, temperature, precipitation, etc., over a period of time, for a specified area.
  • Base Mapping – Seamless, provincial topographic base maps at four scales
  • Geodetic Survey – Data relating to the geospatial reference used for positioning within the Province.
  • Geology and Soils – Data relating to the structure and composition of the earth, its physical and organic history.
  • Imagery – Orthophotography, hill shades and regional imagery covering various portions of British Columbia.
  • Imagery – Spot 15m satellite imagery & Landsat imagery covering various portions of BC.
  • Land Ownership and Status – Data relating to the ownership of land and the parcels into which the land has been subdivided.
  • Land Use Plans – Data resource management direction as well as designation of resource management units for the purposes of
  • Land Use Planning.
  • Mining and Petroleum – Data relating to the inventory, planning, management, and monitoring of the extraction and depletion of mineral, sand, gravel, coal and petroleum resources.
  • Physical Infrastructure – Data about human-made physical structures, which support economic and social activities. e.g.: utilities, communication, transportation, buildings.
  • Wildlife and Plant Species – Data relating to the inventory of wildlife, and/or plant species (including species at risk), and the quantity and quality of a species habitat.
  • And Much More – Click here to check out the rest of the data sets

“Start a project” Feature

Screen Grab DataBC - The "Start a project" feature

The “Start a project” feature on the site was kind of a neat, it helps to inspire or encourage people into generating their own applications, maps and research. The little interactive tool kind of coaches people that need some guidance or a little push to get their projects rolling. It shows how dedicated the team of the DataBC program are as they try to inspire more people to get involved and use what they have to offer.

It is not just the general public and enthusiastic geomatics professionals that have been making use of the DataBC site. various other BC government programs and organizations have also been getting involved utilizing some of the data sets to provide on line mapping services to enhance their own web sites and services.

Some examples are the Ministry of Justice that offers a “BC Court Finder” web map  and BCParks that created the Things to Do & See in BC web map.

Check out what DataBC has to offer or download some British Columbia data sets and get started on your project.

And if you can not find the data you are looking for and want more British Columbia data, then be sure to request the data as the site boasts that they are open to communication (through their web site & social media) and feedback and want to hear from those that get involved or have something to share. In order to continue providing good Open Data Sets they need people to let them know what matters most and what their citizens need access to.

Relevant Links to DataBC program

Here is a summary of some relevant Links to DataBC program documents and services:

Main DataBC Site: http://www.data.gov.bc.ca
Their public facing geographic services website: http://www.data.gov.bc.ca/dbc/geo/
The DataBC concept of operations: http://pub.data.gov.bc.ca/documents/DataBC_Concept_of_Operations_-_V1.0.pdf
Open Information and Open Data Policy: http://www.cio.gov.bc.ca/local/cio/kis/pdfs/open_data.pdf
BC Provincial OG Licence: http://www.data.gov.bc.ca/dbc/admin/terms.page?

Another page describing the other Geomatics related services available from DataBC will follow soon.

Languages of Universities Interactive Map

These days, people are starting to make the Internet their primary source of everyday information and more people are becoming aware of how valuable spatial data and maps can be, as a result there have been more webs sites containing interactive web mapping applications appearing. And as you can see from some of the many great mapping applications covered by CanadianGIS.com in the web mapping section, some of them can be pretty robust applications containing a wide variety of data sets and customization possibilities while others can still be relative simple mapping applications while still providing added value.

Perhaps a good example of a relative simple mapping application that is well done and does a good job of combing spatial and basic information is one I recently came across on the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages web site.

Map - University Language Programs in Canada

Here they use an online interactive map to demonstrate where the various English, French and Bilingual universities across Canada are located while providing basic information about each. The map allows its users to select predefined maps either by clicking on the map directly or by using the pull down selection box that returns either a list of possible schools or an exact school. Of witch when clicked provides a more detailed map and then information about the language skills provided at that institute.

Canadian Maple Leaf - half

Here, we see no extra tool bars, printing functionality or user customization provided, just the basic information about the intended language topics and then a link to the domain of the University where someone can find more detailed information about that particular University featured on the map. And although maybe not that impressive to a cartographer or a geomatics person, sometimes that is all that is needed with a simple mapping application.


Here is the link
to check out the mapping application for your self:

http://www.ocol-clo.gc.ca/twolanguages_deuxlangues/index_e#

CanadianGIS.com has been exploring the web and exposing some of the many great online web mapping applications for the past year covering various regions and topics in Canada, if you know of one that has been missed or not listed on the site yet then let me know. I will take a look at it and then consider adding it the site for CanadianGIS.com viewers to learn more about and share with their networks.

Comparison of Free Online Map Sites ‘Bing Maps vs Google Maps’

Comparison of top Free Online Map Sites - 'Bing Maps vs Google Maps'

Online web mapping for most people is still a relatively new concept; however it has actually been around now for many years now, long enough that a good majority of us now take it for granted. And like many other great products from our modern society there are always various versions or brands that tend to shine and become more popular than the others.

They have evolved so much over the past few years that I am sure you have noticed that even more people have them with them everywhere they go via, GPS navigation units, net books, tablets, smart phones and other portable devices. And hopefully you have already discovered the web mapping section on CanadianGIS.com about the many great Canadian online web maps that are out (and grows every month) to help make our lives easier.

 Ottawa - Ontario - Google Maps View 1I remember when I first started out in GIS, how it was always challenging to explain to people what I did for a living (and that I did not actually just make the road maps they bought at the gas station).

Now days it has been much easier to explain to people what GIS is thanks to the rather recent increased knowledge about GIS and Geomatics due to more people using the basic free online mapping services like Google or Bing Maps.

Therefore I thought it was time to look at perhaps the two most common free mapping services that most of use all the time to see, how they compare to one another and how they have evolved over the past few years.

 Google Maps – maps.google.ca

So I will start off with Google Maps since I am sure most of us have come across a map generated in google or a website using Google before.

Google Maps is a web mapping service that powers many online map-based services, such as the main Google Maps website, Google Ride Finder, Google Transit, and embedded maps on thousands of websites that use Google Maps API.

Google Maps as we know it know started off as a little C++ program designed by two brothers Lars Rasmussen and Jens Rasmussen from the company Where 2 Technologies. Originally it was a stand-alone program that you needed to download and was not a web based product like it is today. In 2004 Google acquired their company and then transformed the mapping software into an interactive web application.

The first version released in 2005, was based on raster tiles organized into quad tree schematic layouts with the data loading done via XML & HTTP requests. Google uses JavaScript to serve the map data into your browser application. Perhaps the big thing that made Google’s product stand out from the others was when they provided code that allowed other users to integrate maps into their own websites (e.g. CanadianGIS.com).

Vancouver - Google Street View 1

Google Maps offers street maps, and a routine planner that can be configured for the method you are traveling (whether it is by foot, car, bike, or via public transportation). It also has an urban business locator for numerous countries in the world.

In 2007, they added Streetview, which provides users with a 360° captured view of streets in most major towns and cities. Basically a system was designed with multiple cameras that were mounted to the roof of vehicles that could capture data on all sides of the vehicles as the vehicle drove down the street.

Some areas are obviously covered better than others, but the project continues so more areas are covered as time goes on. They also incorporate satellite imagery and aerial photography in many places as well (whenever data sets are available); with the ability to produce quick Hybrid style maps containing map layers, labels and imagery fused together into one mapping product.

The Google Maps application has been pretty rock solid providing others the ability to show case their own mapping data without the need of purchasing high-end GIS mapping software.

Next up will be Microsoft’s Bing Maps. Click Here to continue reading …

 

City of Prince George online PGMap Application

The City of Prince George has released an updated version of their PGMap online Application. PGMap is what they refer to as the “On-line Geographic Information System” for the City of Prince George, British Columbia. PGMap was created and is provided free of charge to the public to use for viewing and searching property boundaries, aerial photography, legal descriptions, parcel information, verify zoning and various other City boundaries. Users can also create and print customized reports and high quality maps with PGMap. It is a very robust easy to use, user friendly interactive mapping application. PGMap provides a variety of different tools and functionality that appeal to a wide range of users from those that just need to view basic default maps to those that want to include their own GIS data and create custom maps of their own.The City of Prince George PGMap online Application

The mapping application uses Geocortex Essentials technology by Latitude Geographics built upon Esri’s ArcGIS Server and requires the Microsoft Silverlight Plug-in which is normally automatically installed by most modern web browsers (and available free), so if there are problems loading maps or data then one should first try upgrading their web browser or trying another. It was tested and worked well here in the following three web browsers: Internet Explorer, FireFox and Chrome.

The interactive map window is made up of two main regions; the map window panel and the information panel. The map window is like most other web mapping applications with a number of key cartographic features such as scale bar, overview map, spatial location in coordinates, and zoom controls. The information panel is located along the left hand side and allows users to perform various tasks to customize the look of the map such as selecting different map layers, viewing a legend, using search functionality. The information panel can also be hidden from the map if you are not interested in showing the various layers of your map and want to emphasize your mapping window instead.

The navigation is very user friendly, easy to use, and the data in the map window provides more detail at higher resolutions when you zoom into an area. To navigate around the mapping window with the mouse by clicking and dragging it around, the mouse wheel allows quick zooms in or out to full extent. PGMap also provides a shortcut menu that you can expose by right clicking in the map window and there are also the ability to use the keyboard to navigate around as well.

Aerial Photo - The City of Prince George PGMap online ApplicationAerial Photo - The City of Prince George PGMap online Application

A number of base maps are provided to choose from allowing the ability for further customization. It starts off with a default road layer base but there are also aerial photography, thematic layers, and topographic backgrounds available such as hillshades and a lidar intensity layer (ground only surface model). The orthos sets are from different years (1993 up to 2010), allowing users to compare aerial photos over time for an area while incorporating other vector data sets such as property parcel or topographic information on top.LIDAR - The City of Prince George PGMap online Application

The toolbar section is yet another part of the mapping application that is hidden by default but can be exposed by clicking on the little toolbox icon (like the one in ArcGIS) and is one of the features of the application that make this better then most others. The toolbar contains a number of tabs that hold all the tools that a user needs to interact with and customize their map. The various tabs group similar functions together making it easier to use and find tools to customize the map. The “I want to …” drop down menu contains several tools that allow you to search for data as well as provide quick access to common tasks to help customize your maps.

There are tools in the toolbar that allow users to draw points, polygons and other features onto the map, incorporate their own data (shape files, CSV data) and use basic analysis functionality such as measure and plot coordinates. There are a few buttons that allow you to compare same location with other online maps such as google or bing if you want to compare what you have made with others. And when you are all done you can save the map your working on for someone else or later, or export it to use later. open your project later on and also open other people’s maps

PGMap online Application toolbar

The PGMap online mapping application for the City of Prince George is a well done online cartographic tool that can be appreciated and utilized by a wide range of users.

I recommend that you try it out for your self and hope that other cities will take a look at it and consider doing the same with their GIS data sets for the public to use. Feel free to share you feedback and experience’s using the PGMap or any other Canadian online web mapping applications.

 http://princegeorge.ca/cityservices/online/pgmap/Pages/Default.aspx

The City of Prince George have also contributed their city data sets to the Esri Canada Community Maps program so you people also use the data on the popular ArcGIS.com online mapping system for free if they decide that they do not want to use the PGMap application but generate maps for the City of Prince George . And like most other larger Canadian cities they have also made much of their data sets available through The City of Prince George Open Data Catalogue, so people can download data and use it with their own GIS software if they prefer.

They also offer a digital street centreline base map in PDF format if all you need is to print off a street map of the area.

Alberta’s Changing Political Landscape

Alberta's changing political web map

On April 23, 2012 thousands of electors headed to the polls for Alberta’s 28th provincial election. In all 87 candidates were elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, 4 more then 2008 due to an increase in the provinces growing population. The Progressive Conservative party won a majority with 61 of the 87 elected ridings.

More information about Alberta general elections can be found at the Elections Alberta website. Instead I will continue to discuss Alberta’s 28th provincial election but as it relates to mapping, but what does a provincial election have to do with mapping?

Well… ESRI Canada has what they refer to as a Public Map Gallery that is a collection of custom web maps created by their mapping team featuring Canadian community maps, Canadian election results, and various census data. Here they leveraged some of their online spatial tools and features available together with public domain data to create an interactive online mapping application of Alberta’s Changing Political Landscape.

The online interactive political map can help people visualize the results from Alberta’s past three provincial elections all together in one interactive browser window. A similar online mapping application like this one was also created for the last federal election in 2011.

“The Esri Canada Mapping Team who is responsible for the construction of a series of Canadian Community Maps and web applications hosted on ArcGIS.com. The Esri Canada Community Maps Program provides a cost-effective and efficient framework for organizations to share their geographic information with the public.” http://maps.esri.ca/gallery/

Alberta's changing political web map

Using the interactive mapping application of Alberta’s Changing Political Landscape a person can view results from Alberta’s 2004, 2008, 2012 elections and when they zoom into an area of interest in one map window, all the other windows will zoom to the same level automatically making it very easy to compare the results from place to place.

An additional information tool is provided that allows people to click on any electoral riding and the basic information for that one appears below the map, containing information such as the elected party, the MLA, the electoral district name, number of electors, voter turnout etc. To check out the online Alberta map for your self go to http://maps.esri.ca/ElectoralMaps/AB_GeneralElections/


Do you know about any Canadian online web maps that are not covered by CanadianGIS.com? Then let me know and I will look into adding it to our database.

NOAA Interactive Weather Map

Weather StationThis link to an online web map was emailed to me recently and although it contains mainly American weather stations there are a good number of Canadian ones on there as well so I thought I would share it. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is an an Operating Unit of the U.S. Department of Commerce that provides a National Weather Service.

The Weather Service provides weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy.

Their operational server maintains a current database of meteorological and hydrological data, historical data, and written information generated by the NWS or other official sources.

In addition, their server accesses in real-time a selection of current weather observations, forecasts, and warnings from U.S. government sources for use by the national and international community.  They also offer many other Weather services on their website such as storm watch, alerts, local and regional information and much more.

NOAA weather map service

Moving the cursor over one of the symbols on the map will reveal data for the weather station of that area and is usually clickable, opening another web page with more information, details and measurements. It would be nice if they could expand a little further north to include all of Canada but in the mean time if you are located in Ontario, the Prairies or the Southern Rockies then maybe you can make use of this interactive weather mapping tool.

NOAA weather map service - Prince Albert SASK

GeoSask Maps and Geospatial Information

logo GeoSaskBuilt and maintained by Information Services Corporation of Saskatchewan, GeoSask is a centralized open data website by the Provincial Government providing free online access to different types of maps and geospatial information related to the province of Saskatchewan. It features free downloadable GIS data (with a few exceptions) available from participating Government of Saskatchewan departments and agencies.

“It enables you to discover, view and access local and remote geospatial information and services made available by participating provincial ministries and agencies. If your organization is a source of such information and services it enables you to make your geospatial information and services discoverable, viewable and accessible by others and to restrict access to data based on security privileges.”

GeoSask can be used to:

GEOSASK online map viewer

•Discover local and remote geospatial information resources.
•View details about resources, including how to download
•Immediately view live online Data and Map resources
•Create, upload and manage metadata that references geospatial data
•Share secured and non-secured data.
•Manage and save maps and download preferences you have created for use during subsequent sessions.

https://www.geosask.ca/arcexplorer/servlet/ISC_ArcExplorerStartup?action=baseMap&origid=&isDefault=true

http://www.geosask.ca/Portal/

Comparison of top Free Online Map Sites (part 3)

 Click Here to go to the start of this article or 

Click Here to go back to part 2

This is part 3 of the feature – Comparison of Free Online Map Sites ‘Bing Maps vs Google Maps’ that takes a closer look at Google & Microsoft’s web mapping services.

Major Differences/Pros and Cons

User Experience

Vancouver - Bing Slide ViewBing Maps tends to offer more automated features than Google Maps does and it automatically changes style and details as the user zooms in and out. As you scroll around the map, the bar at the left dynamically updates things such as weather, pictures, and Photosynths for the current area. Google Maps is more basic in form, sticking to its trademark look, offers fewer features and uses JavaScript making it often more choppy zooming in and out.

Location Search Accuracy

Both have done a great job utilizing spatial database data to provide a better accurate search, although sometimes you may find one does a better job over the other in different areas (with no real reasoning of why). Also the more information you have to provide (e.g. adding postal code) in your search then obviously the better your results will be.

Both map services offer driving directions that can be easily achieved by stating a start and end point. Driving directions that I have tested with both services were usually pretty accurate with estimated travel times based on mode of transportation provided by both has been pretty good as well.

Satellite Image Resolution

Imagery data sets for both services vary from place to place but overall it seems that Bing Maps uses newer and better quality satellite images than Google Maps does. Bing Maps images are generally about a year old (about 215 terabytes of high-resolution imagery to Bing Maps was recently added by Microsoft), where Google Maps images have an average of about 2 to 3 years old. With Bing Maps, you can also zoom in closer than with Google Maps (if the data exists).

Bird’s-eye View of Bing Maps offers a 3D view of buildings in major cities (mostly in the USA) and many places that are not highly (like most parts ofCanada) populated will not have any higher resolution imagery and only basic larger scale Landsat data will be provided. Sometimes Google imagery does not flow well together, mixing dark and light data sets and some with clouds and other obstructions (usually a pet peeve for anyone who works in Remote Sensing) . However both vendors provide better imagery as they obtain it so aerial imagery in various areas is constantly changing.

In a bid to keep up with its arch mapping rival, Microsoft is taking on Google Maps in the high-resolution space with a 215 terabyte update of Bird’s Eye imagery.

Microsoft has piled on another 215 terabytes of high-resolution imagery to Bing Maps, less than a month after it dished out a massive 165 terabyte cache of mapping data to the service. [source: news.cnet.com ]

          Bing Slide View CoverageGoogle Street View Coverage

Streetside View vs. Streetview

Both Bing Maps and Google Maps have street-level views, where there is a panoramic view taken from the top of a car and stitched together so it looks like you were standing there. Bing’s “Streetside view” shots are clearer, with higher resolutions and more features (such as Flicker and Photosynth) integrated into the viewing experience. Bing’s Worldwide telescope integration is a feature that allows viewers to look up to view the night-time sky above them. Google’s streetview also has a “user images” feature that offers more photos than Bing does, but they are presented as a slide shoe, instead of being layered as they are with Bing. Google’s Streetview is worthy of an honorable mention because of the numbers of areas around the world that it has captured.

Ottawa - Ontario - Google Maps

 Summary

Both Bing Maps and Google Maps offer effective web mapping platforms with very similar yet unique features . Bing tends to have better features and tools integrated into it, and can operate smoother than Google Maps but their coverage of data in Canada is relatively pretty weak.

Both have great features to offer but neither one seems to really fully out shine the other over all, witch in a way can be a good thing as these two web giants continue to go head to head providing us with more free web mapping tools to make our every day lives better.

I myself tend to use Google Maps more perhaps out of habit from being a big Google Earth user, but can honestly admit I do go back and forth between the two mapping applications  depending on what I am using them for. ArcGIS now offers Bing products as free base maps for ArcMap layouts so that certainly has increased my Bing maps usage.

For example, I find that Bing does a better job of providing names of streets and rivers and the Bird’s Eye imagery always provides more than one view of an object (although not available for many places in Canada). And a lot depends on the imagery of data that is available in the area I am working with, so I tend to sometimes check both to see which one is better.

And actually someone has come up with a web application that provides both mapping applications in the same window for times when you want to compare (http://www.jonasson.org/maps/). So go ahead and check out these two popular free web mapping applications and then leave some comments about witch one you prefer over the other.

Maps - Bing Maps vs Google Maps

References

Microsoft – http://onlinehelp.microsoft.com/en-us/bing/ff808582.aspx

Google – http://support.google.com/maps/?hl=en

Wikipedia. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Maps & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bing_Maps

 

 

 

Comparison of top Free Online Map Sites (part 2)

 Click Here to go back to the start of this article

This is part 2 of the feature – Comparison of Free Online Map Sites ‘Bing Maps vs Google Maps’ that takes a closer look at Google & Microsoft’s web mapping services.

Bing Maps – maps.bing.ca

Ottawa - Ontario - Google Street View 1

Bing Maps is Microsoft’s web mapping service provided as a part of their Bing suite of search engines and powered by the Bing Maps for Enterprise framework. Originally called Microsoft Virtual Earth, the first version was released in 2005.

In 2010 a fully overhauled design for the default view was launched as well as adding dynamic labels. Bing optimizes the power of the Silverlight engine combined withAJAXto serve the map data into your browser application.

It offers street maps, featuring road view, aerial view, bird’s-eye view, streetside view (with geo-tagged photos from Flickr and Photosynth integration), and 3D view (as an add-on), driving directions, and several different map apps.

The Bird’s Eye imagery feature provides end-users with high-resolution, oblique look angle imagery in four different look-directions providing a different visual context appealing to many spatial tasks. This neat feature allows you to look at an object from one angle and then spin your screen around and see the same object from a different perspective.

Ottawa - Ontario - Bing Birds Eye View 2Ottawa - Ontario - Bing Birds Eye View 1

Bing Maps provides traffic information and ClearFlow traffic data, as well as allowing users to share maps and embed them into their websites. Other features include people, location, and business search functions, and satellite imagery (“Bing Maps,” 2011; Pike, 2010).

Table 1

Top Features of Bing Maps and Google Maps

Bing Maps

Google Maps

Road, Satellite, Bird’s-eye views

Road, Satellite, Terrain views

Streetside view, with Flickr and Photosynth picture overlays

Streetview

3D models ofU.S.cities

Panorama Integration

Driving Directions and Traffic Information

Mobile Map apps

Bird’s Eye imagery

Driving Directions and Traffic Information

 

Washington Bing Street View 1Washington Google Street View 1

 

Major Differences/Pros and Cons

User Experience

Bing Maps tends to offer more automated features than Google Maps does and it automatically changes style and details as the user zooms in and out. As you scroll around the map, the bar at the left dynamically updates things such as weather, pictures, and Photosynths for the current area. Google Maps is more basic in form, sticking to its trademark look, offers fewer features and uses JavaScript making it often more choppy zooming in and out.

 Click Here to continue reading … or Click Here to go back to the start of this article