Take a Ride with Microsoft Live Local “Street-side”
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Take a Ride with Microsoft Live Local “Street-side”

Message from the Editor -

Welcome to GISWeekly! On February 28, Microsoft released a Technical Preview of 'Street-side', a new feature Microsoft is building for its Windows Live Local consumer local search and mapping site (powered by Virtual Earth). The technical preview, according to Angela Morrow, product manager for the consumer side of Windows Live Local, said that Street-side is not in the Live Local product today, but will probably debut later this summer. Read about this technology in this week's Industry News.

GISWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think. Send your comments to me Here.

Best wishes,
Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Take a Ride with Microsoft Live Local “Street-side”
by Susan Smith

On February 28, Microsoft released a Technical Preview of 'Street-side', a new feature Microsoft is building for its Windows Live Local consumer local search and mapping site (powered by Virtual Earth). The technical preview, according to Angela Morrow, product manager for the consumer side of Windows Live Local, said that Street-side is not in the Live Local product today, but will probably debut later this summer.

With Street-side, Microsoft is offering another perspective. So far Live Local has had current road, aerial, and bird's eye view to immerse viewers in. Street-side will place them right there in a panoramic view of the street so that users can see exactly what's on each street corner at street level, perhaps what the street address they're looking for actually looks like, before they get there.

Street-side is still in the beta stages right now and its success will depend largely on feedback from users. San Francisco and Seattle are the two cities that are being used in the beta. A company that has collected the Street-side imagery for Microsoft, Facet Technology Corporation, was in the process of capturing images of San Francisco when Microsoft penned an agreement with them. The area is also very “technically savvy,” according to Morrow, so they could be assured of a good response from the beta community there. Also, Seattle is the home of Microsoft, so it made sense to use it as the other city.

Microsoft Live Local is in the process of driving numerous major cities with Facet so that the imagery can be available in the summer release of the product. Live Local is a consumer product and Morrow foresees users graduating from using just the road view and aerial views to Street-side which is even more immersive, as they get comfortable with the product.

With Street-side, users view a split screen navigation window. In the upper navigation pane, users can view street-level imagery of their destinations. In the lower navigation pane, users can switch between three navigation modes: race car, sports car, and walking. There is an additional option of plugging in an address or business name. A draggable icon can be moved along the map. Arrows allow you to drag the car direction to the left or right and see what is to the sides.

A possible scenario for the use of this product might be: You come to San Francisco (or any city) on business. You log on in your hotel room to find out where your meetings are the next day and to plan your route - stop for coffee, get to each meeting in each building and see with Street-side just what the streets will look like that you'll walk or drive down.

At this juncture, Street-side only includes a two-square-mile area of San Francisco, and four-square-miles of Seattle, although the company has the imagery for the entire cities. The import of this technology is not quite registering with me yet, as, with the exception of making sure you can get your cup of coffee in the morning, you can just as easily take your fistful of addresses and jump into a cab.

If you can't catch a cab or your destination is embarrassingly close: before you leave home, hotel or the airport, you can use Streets, the road view, to find your destination, then switch to satellite or aerial view. To get a closer view of the destination, you can see in birdseye down to the street level. You'll get increasingly immersed as you get closer to the area where you want to go. You'll be able to do a local search to see a storefront with Street-side as well as get driving directions.

If you're coming into the city via car and you want to check out a complicated freeway interchange and see where a particular exit goes and where an intersection might be, you can use the birds-eye view which is a 45 degree angle view from an airplane, then actually see at the street level what that intersection looks like and what landmarks there are around it. This could prove useful with in-car navigation, as long as you had a big enough screen to view it.

The aim of Microsoft is to provide as immersive environment as it can for Live Local users, and one wonders what it will come up with next. Will the user want to print out street level views before embarking on the journey? Will the views augment in-car navigation? Morrow said that there's no excuse to get lost again. Maybe, maybe not, but will all this additional information be useful?

Check it out and see what you think.

Top News of the Week

GeoEye, announced its ClearView contracts for map-accurate imagery and services with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) have increased in value by an additional $13 million. The latest increases are in addition to the $36 million awarded to the company in January 2006, bringing the value for GeoEye's ClearView contracts to $49 million in 2006. These most recent increases represent additional imagery to be collected by the company's IKONOS and OrbView-3 high-resolution earth-imaging satellites.

NAVTEQ, global provider of digital map data for location based solutions and vehicle navigation and GeoSpatial Technologies, Inc. (GST), developer of innovative, location-based technologies will be demonstrating GST's location-based platforms using NAVTEQ(R) data to track realtime locations of multiple handsets and vehicles simultaneously at TelecomNext 2006 in Las Vegas March 21-22, 2006.


Clarinet, the outsourcing, GIS and ePublishing specialist in the oil industry, has signed up to the Developer Network programme from ESRI (UK), a provider of enterprise Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in the UK. The Developer Network will enable Clarinet to integrate cutting edge geographic functionality and technology with its software applications and business solutions without the usual price barriers associated with enterprise level software.

East View Cartographic (EVC) is pleased to announce an agreement to become an official reseller of topographic and thematic maps from the Survey of Bangladesh. These nationally produced maps offer the best large-scale coverage available for Bangladesh and are ideal for uses such as project planning, natural resources development, trade and investment, humanitarian/disaster response, academic research, and even travel and tourism. EVC can provide complete country coverage of 1:50,000 and 1:250,000 topographic maps. The Survey of Bangladesh has also produced a number of specialized series including 1:10,000 coastal mapping, a Dhaka city plan at 1:5000 scale, and a variety of political-administrative and thematic maps.

SiRF Technology Holdings, Inc., a provider of GPS-enabled silicon and premium software location platforms, announced that it has acquired TrueSpan, a technology company with significant communications systems expertise, for consideration that includes cash and stock.

GlobeXplorer, the leading provider of online aerial, satellite and map data, has expanded its reach by partnering with Zillow.com, a new real estate information Web site. Zillow.com provides free valuations and data for more than 60 million U.S. homes, including high-resolution satellite, aerial and parcel images in many areas, provided by GlobeXplorer.

NAVTEQ, a global provider of digital map data for location-based solutions and vehicle navigation, and Autodesk, Inc., the world's leading software and services company for manufacturing, media and entertainment, and wireless data services fields, have entered into a strategic co-marketing agreement. This alliance enables Autodesk geospatial and civil engineering customers greater ability to access NAVTEQ(R) map data through Autodesk's geospatial solutions. In addition, NAVTEQ is providing sample data to Autodesk for The MapGuide Open, a Web mapping contest for developers designed to encourage the creation of new and innovative geospatial solutions using the new MapGuide Open Source platform.


ESRI announces it is working with Scientific Technologies Corporation (STC), an international public health information systems firm. STC will offer private businesses and public organizations an exercise program to assess readiness and help prepare and develop an action plan in the event of an influenza pandemic in the United States.

The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) is pleased to announce a lineup of nine preconference Knowledge Immersion Seminars for its Annual Conference 29, slated for April 23-26, 2006 at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida.

The half-day seminars provide in-depth analysis on a wide variety of topics, allowing participants to take away practical knowledge they can implement immediately. Seminar topics include:
- Planning for Mobility
- GIS and Disaster Management 101
- SCADA Fundamentals, Functionality, and Futures
- Spatial Databases: Exploring the Possibilities
- Field Data Acquisition-Collecting Critical Data
- One-Call Connection-Getting More From Your Data
- Business Case and ROI: Justifying IT Spending
- OpenGIS-Improving Interoperability
- Work and Asset Management: Expanding Your Success
Laser-Scan's 2006 User & Partner Conference shapes up as one of the must-attend events of the year, with an agenda not to be missed! The conference will be held at the world-famous Robinson Centre, Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire from Tuesday 27th - Thursday 29th June.


Pictometry International Corp., announced that it has selected Robert Carroll to fill its newly created position of division president for international sales and operations.

Corbley Communications Inc. introduced its first Geospatial Newsmaker Podcast. The Podcast features an interview with Dr. Shawana Johnson, President of Global Marketing Insights Inc., discussing results of the 2005 NOAA International Remote Sensing Survey.

The Geospatial Newsmaker Podcast is available for downloading and playing at www.corbleycommunications.com or www.globalinsights.com.

New Products

The new Rand McNally StreetFinder(R) Wireless application is a downloadable mobile application that delivers easy access to maps, directions and directory listings for the entire United States. For download information visit http://www.randmcnally.com/sfw.

eSpatial, the Open Standards based Geospatial platform provider announces the availability of NAVTEQ's map data products in an Oracle 10g format for Enterprise Applications.

The TNTmap plug-in for Safari, Explorer, and Fire Fox can be used to assemble and view content from any web sites supporting an OGC compliant Web Map Service (WMS) such as MicroImages TNTserver. TNTmap is written in HTML and JavaScript and is free and open to modification. It provides two interconnected windows. The TNTmap Builder window is used to visit and browse various WMS and choose from the WMS layers they offer. The TNTmap Viewer window assembles these layers from the various sites into a common coordinate system and provides this composite view with a layer legend. It also provides tools for measuring features in the view, zooming, projecting the view into Google Earth, saving it for use in World Wind, and others. To access and try the TNTmap plug-in, see MicroImages website

Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. introduced the eTrex Venture Cx, an entry-level addition to Garmin's eTrex(R) Personal Navigator(R) product line. The eTrex Venture Cx is the least expensive eTrex handheld unit that combines expandable memory, color TFT display, USB interface, and advanced GPS auto-routing capabilities in a waterproof design.

Upcoming Events

GITA Annual Conference 29
Date: April 23 - 26, 2006
Place: Tampa, FL USA
GITA's Annual Conference and Exhibition is the most highly regarded educational event for professionals involved in geospatial information technologies.

PROGIS-Conference 2006
Date: April 19-20, 2006
Place: Vienna, Austria
The event explores background, legislation, needs and technologies for farm advisory systems, as they are necessary to comply with the new situations like commitments regarding Cross Compliance, documentation needs to ensure food- and feed-traceability, to calculate, to map etc..