Mapping sites

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I’ve been playing around a bit with Google Maps and Windows Live Local and Virtual Earth.

When we were in Utah last week (in the 117 degree heat!) we rented ATVs and went up on some back country roads with some family who know the terrain. At one point one of our party took a GPS reading, and I wanted to create a map that pointed out that location on a satellite photo.

The recording of the reading I had was in the form of degrees and decimal minutes for latitude and longitude. Google Maps took that as a search term and converted it into decimal degrees, which is what it uses to actually display the map.

But for the particular area of the desert I wanted, the satellite photos on Google Maps didn’t get as detailed as I had hoped.

Microsoft’s Virtual Earth had the same resolution color satellite photos, but when I continued zooming in they had more detail available in black and white.

Windows Livc Local has good tools for remembering a map and sharing it via email, but that service doesn’t offer a way to embed a map into a web page that’s not on MSN Spaces.

So I turned to using Virtual Earth, which is the service that underlies Live Local, and that worked just fine.

I have to say that the documentation for Virtual Earth is truly excellent, particularly the Interactive SDK, which offers usable code snippets along with detailed API reference in tabs right along with the working examples. A great exemplar of a useable Web 2.0 kind of site.

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