Although it was not the first major mapping program to feature three dimensional landscapes, Bing Maps has quickly gained a loyal following that appreciates the smooth navigation of the cloud based software. Created by Microsoft, the Bing Maps program was made to be a direct rival of Google Earth and provides similar features as the more popular software program. One major difference is that the former is mainly used online whereas the latter exists as a desktop program in addition to its web presence.
Bing Maps has a number of different viewing options that will provide a different experience to the user. For simple directions and for use as a route planner, the road view setting will remove the satellite imagery and display a normal road map. The second choice is to get an aerial view that adds the satellite imagery to give users a real picture of the landscape. The StreetSide and Bird’s Eye views are the best for a three dimensional experience. The Streetside view is similar to the street view feature on Google Earth and provides a full context and panorama environment. The Bird’s Eye view places the user above the landscape, but at an angle that gives the feeling of three dimensions.
The online presence of Bing Maps has been supplemented by a number of external applications that can be used to control the program. There are ones for all major mobile platforms, including the iPhone OS as well as the Android OS. In this manner, a person can use the 3D maps on the go, finding landmarks and getting either driving or walking directions. While it has not achieved the same level of popularity as its Google rival, the Bing Maps program is quite good and is expected to get even better in future releases.