US: Bing Maps team updated the Bing Maps World Tour application. The Tour now showcases 153 locations where Bing Maps features new outstanding high-resolution aerial imagery that is being captured and published as part of our Bing Maps Global Ortho imagery programme. Using the application, one can view the new aerial imagery through an automated “slide show” mode or explore the locations manually. The imagery is from a special collection referred to as “Geoart” for its unusual, compelling and artistic quality.
Global Ortho programme was launched in the year 2010. This ambitious mapping project aims to provide the Bing Maps platform and consumer web site with 30cm (1 foot) aerial blanket coverage of (initially) the continental United States and Western Europe. A challenge for consumers and enterprise organisations using web mapping services has been that much of the imagery featured there has historically been a patchwork of satellite and aerial imagery of different vintage, quality, clarity and detail. The experience for users of these services has been inconsistent at best, varying by location: while one might expect to find higher resolution aerial images of 15-30cm (meaning that each screen pixel equals 6-12 inches on the ground) over key urban locations, a search in a more rural or remote location would likely yield satellite views of at best half that accuracy and detail.
The Bing Imagery Technologies team (BITs), located in Boulder, Colorado, has spent more than a year collecting the new Bing Maps imagery, and has been quietly publishing this aerial imagery to the Bing Maps web site. The first of it began appearing in August 2010 and to date, 46 percent of the project has been captured and roughly 349 blocks equaling 2,771,192 sq kilometers from 37 States, France and Spain have been published. The project is scheduled for completion by June 2012 at which point a refresh cycle will begin to update much of what will already have been collected, with priority placed on locations that have been more subject to change (as opposed to, say, the Mojave Dessert). As its name implies, the Global Ortho programme aspires to be truly global, covering the planet with straight down aerial views (ortho images).