Virtual Earth API, 3D updates

Last fall Virtual Earth released version 6.2 of their API, including the Virtual Earth AJAX control, and late yesterday it has been updated, according to a blog post on Chris Pendleton’s Virtual Earth Evangelist’s blog.

Today we released updates to the Microsoft Virtual Earth AJAX control and a new version of the Virtual Earth 3D map control. We’ve added a couple new methods for adding and removing pins (and DIVs) in the AJAX control; added performance improvements for AJAX and 3D; enhanced geocoding and parsing across the board (AJAX and Virtual Earth Web Service) and fixed a few bugs in the AJAX and 3D controls. There are lots of architectural changes behind the scenes that you won’t appreciate unless you’re inside Microsoft, so I will spare you the details of those. Now, that being said, for the AJAX map control we just upgraded Version 6.2, so you already have access to the new features and can start using them today without changing your link to Virtual Earth. Everyone is on 6.2 because we’ve either auto-upgraded you or you made the switch yourself. The Virtual Earth 3D control will require an update! Download the latest bits by going to your favorite Virtual Earth-powered web site (such as Live Search Maps) and click 3D and you will be prompted to install the latest bits.

For those of you (like me) who have been bouncing around between Windows 7 installs and haven’t gotten back to Live Search Maps in 3D, it’s well worth a second look.  The install was quick and simple (like Chris says, just click on 3D on a Live Search Map and you’ll be taken through the install, just takes a few minutes).  If you already have 3D installed, you’ll be prompted to upgrade.


(afraid this view of Seattle might be a little TOO realistic – we can’t even catch the sun in Virtual Earth!)

The updates include increased performance by compression to the 1.4 million buildings rendered in 3D (!!), addition of anistropic filtering to reduce blur and preserve detail at extreme viewing angles, the addition of a stylized Celestial Sky, and lots of goodies for developers.  Much more on Chris’s blog, with links to even more detail, check it out.