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March 04, 2013

Bing Maps Announces Updates to its High-Resolution Imagery Capability

By Michael Guta, TMCnet Contributing Writer

High-resolution imagery is an invaluable resource for municipalities, researchers and individuals that just want to see our planet in great detail. Since Google (News - Alert) started its high-resolution imagery mapping, other companies have followed suit. Bing Maps is the latest company to announce updates to its high-resolution imagery. Updates include overall expanded coverage, better mapping of the ocean floor, TerraColor with resolution of 15 meters per pixel, and other improvements.

The imagery provided by TerraColor is the technology that will give Bing Maps an enhanced viewing experience when combined with the Windows 8 Maps App.

The 15m-per-pixel resolution provides coverage of the entire world with top-notch imagery, capable of zoom levels from 1 to 13. The satellite imagery provides high resolution by zooming in deeper to the selected location on the map.

Bing has added 13,799,276 km² using this top-of-the world capability.

Another improvement includes the latest release of Global Ortho imagery. An Ortho image is a picture taken with geometrically corrected images, so the scale is uniform. This allows Ortho images to be used to measure distances without having to calculate to the maps’ scale, as the image is an accurate rendering of the Earth’s surface.

The Bing Ortho imagery adds 203,271 km² of new data. The total area published so far covers 100 percent of the United States with 11,001,500 km² and 90 percent of Western Europe.

The ocean is also being covered by combining resources from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to indicate ocean floor depths through color shading.

Bathymetric shading is a process of reducing the effects of cloud and ice coverage. By combining the ocean mask and bathymetric imagery, a more accurate view of the world oceans can be rendered.

Microsoft says the features of the ocean floor are “represented by color shading (dark blues to light blues) indicating changes in ocean depth. An ocean mask minimizes areas typically obscured by ice and clouds.”

Google Maps introduced many firsts with map technology including the recent addition of underwater Street View images. While this rivalry might seem frivolous to some, the information these companies provide add great value to the society we live in by providing accurate information of our planet.

Edited by Braden Becker
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