Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, about stuff

Virtual Earth Silverlight map control

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As I write I’m sat in Los Angeles airport contemplating events at MIX09 where I have spent the past week. Lots of interesting stuff, a couple of Live Services related announcements, but the thing that caught my attention most of all was the Virtual Earth Silverlight map control which is now available to developers as a community technology preview (CTP) at https://connect.microsoft.com/silverlightmapcontrolctp/.

I used to write about maps quite a lot on this blog but haven’t for a long time because frankly there wasn’t much to talk about; that all changes with this new Virtual Earth Silverlight control though which brings Deepzoom ability to maps. The session at MIX was given by Virtual Earth evangelist Chris Pendleton who did some absolutely fantastic demos that illustrated how Virtual Earth combined with Silverlight really is a gamechanger in online mapping; there’s just so much more than can be done using client-side compiled code rather than the AJAX maps that we see all over the web today.

The demo that most caught my eye was one where he clicked on the United States and a video of an Obama speech was displayed within the United States borders on the map. I can’t really do it justice in words but trust me – it was an awesome demo and Chris has posted a screenshot on his blog post MIX 2009 Wrap Up and Virtual Earth Session Replay. If you want more, go and watch the video of his session: http://videos.visitmix.com/MIX09/T34F (fast forward to 44:08 for the Obama video)

I can’t wait to see websites deployed with the VE Silverlight web control embedded in them, I hope we’ll see it used at http://maps.live.com.

There was a QnA session at the end of Chris Pendleton’s presentation and he was asked whether Bird’s Eye view and 3D would in the future be supported in the Silverlight web control like they are in the current AJAX control. His answer was something along the lines of “I can’t talk about futures but we’re working on something big for 3D.” The mind boggles!

By the way, I really should give mention here to my friend (and Liveside blogger) John O’Brien who, up to now, has done a sterling job with the Deepearth Silverlight web control that showcases a lot of the abilities that the official Virtual Earth Silverlight web control will soon bring forth. I fear his efforts may soon be overshadowed by this, Microsoft’s own version, however I suspect he won’t mind too much!


Written by Jamiet

March 22, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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