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Microsoft upgrades Bing’s mapping technology for developers

US: Microsoft has released a preview version of its Bing Maps version 8 control, a major update to the company's mapping platform for Web and mobile applications. The announcement was first made during the last week's Build developer conference in San Francisco.

The new Web control and its interactive software development kit (SDK) offer new tools for developers looking to incorporate map data into their business intelligence (BI) and analytics applications.

During a Build session last Friday, Ricky Brundritt, a senior program manager in Microsoft's Bing Maps Customer Advisory group, revealed that "about 70 percent of all the apps out there that are using Bing Maps today are using it for some sort of business intelligence," including asset tracking apps.

A significant number of users are using Microsoft's mapping technology on their mobile devices, added Brundritt. Although Windows claims the lion's share at 53 percent of Bing Maps' JavaScript sessions, iOS accounts for 22 percent and Android accounts for 14 percent. Brundritt credited a JavaScript control that "works very well with cross-platform apps."

Bing Maps VERSION 8 includes several new enhancements and capabilities, including a switch to HTML5. The move enables maps to render vector data faster than prior versions of the JavaScript control, providing users with a more responsive app experience. Search now supports autosuggest, which dynamically generates location suggestions as users type in their queries.

Heatmaps are now natively supported, and new clustering support enables apps to display overlapping pushpin as a group. As a user zooms in, the pushpins automatically ungroup. A new spatial math module includes several operations for calculating distances, areas and performing Boolean operations on shapes.

Developers can now easily import and export GeoJSON data using Bing Maps VERSION 8. GeoJSON is a widely used open format used to represent geographical data. The Web control also supports Bing's Streetside images, which provide 360-degree street-level views.

Source: EWeek