I'm not sure what day I'm on as far as TechEd coverage (a lot to swallow!) but the next session I see notes for was called "Location Solutions with Virtual Earth." It was a tour of Virtual Earth and how to write applications using the javascript library they expose in the Virtual Earth SDK.

You can get an idea of what Virtual Earth looks like by going to the site: http://local.live.com

The SDK is also quite simple; it consists of referencing some javascript libraries and using a DIV to position the mapped content. For example, to get the basics, just view source on this page.

The Virtual Earth API has the following features, per the presentation:

  • User Navigation
  • Mapping Imagery
  • "Bird's Eye" views
  • Pushpins
  • Find Places/Addresses
  • Directions/Routing
  • Polylines
  • Collections of GeoRSS

For each of these features there is an interactive SDK that generates example code so that you can follow along for your own application. *Very cool*.

I did have a few issues with timing and synchronous processing; in other words sometimes the wait time for processing one command seemed to cancel out a command that directly followed it. In my case I was trying to do a search for "Sioux Falls, SD" and then follow it with a ZoomIn method like so:

map.FindLocation('Sioux Falls, SD');

I'll dig around a bit - my idea for a helpful little location solution is a map of Sioux Falls and all the coffee shops along with their attributes: how good the coffee is, whether WiFi is free, and the general atmosphere.

I'm also planning to dink around with the Google Maps API to see how it stacks up.