Bing’s Bird’s Eye Gains 270TB Of Image Data
June 12, 2013

Bing Adds 270TB To Bird’s Eye Imagery

Enid Burns for — Your Universe Online

In the map arms race, Microsoft looks to close the gap by adding close to 270 terabytes of data to Bird's Eye imagery, as well as other updates to Bing Maps. The update was introduced on Bing Blogs on Tuesday.

Beefing up Bird's Eye data might be the biggest in the Bing Maps nest. The post states that 270 terabytes of data is the equivalent of 100,000 DVDs. Microsoft offered a few examples of new images, with high-resolution images of tourist attractions; including the Victor Emmanuel Monument in Rome, also referred to as the Typewriter Building. Other images include landmarks and points of interest in Milan, Italy; Ringerike, Norway; Toledo, Ohio; and Tampere, Finland among other locations.

The added 270 terabytes of data brings Bing up to a total of 1,452,958 square kilometers, or half a petabyte of data in Bird's Eye scenes.

Bird's Eye images are captured at a 45-degree angle, which gives depth and three-dimensionality to what's called “ortho photography.” This is where the name "Bird's Eye" was derived for Bing's map services.

Other enhancements include expanded venue maps and a new "Report a Problem" feature. The latter has the potential to send users to Google or other map services if Bing Maps is full of bugs. But it does show Microsoft's desire to address issues quickly. Some of those issues might be strange images found in Bird's Eye images. Such problems are well documented with Google Street View. One whimsical image showed what appeared to be a Victorian ghost walking in Cardiff. The antics have launched the site StreetViewFun, where such comical images are cataloged.

While many Bird's Eye views are large and detailed images, Bing also added enhancements to its Venue Maps, which gives detail on a smaller scale. Venue Maps focuses on indoor venues, stadiums, parks and tight city blocks. The new category has expanded points of interest.

Bing Maps says it has Venue Maps for 4,700 locations in over 59 countries. The maps show shopping malls and help to map out store locations within such large malls as the Mall of America. For sporting events or concerts, Venue Maps can help someone figure out where their seat is located and where to find parking. Individual maps can be accessed at home or work from a desktop, or on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet.

"While on Bing Maps and within a zoom level of 1000 feet, purple and green polygons will appear to outline particular points of interest for a given venue. Green shading indicates restaurants, while stores appear purple," the blog said.

Indoor mapping such as Venue Maps is a new growth area for online mapping services.

Bing is making a series of enhancements that add up to a significant investment in the Bing Maps platform. Bing added 215 terabytes of satellite imagery last year, according to Engadget.