Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A new angle on the world with 45° imagery

I’m a window seat person. If given the choice on a plane, I will always take the window seat, and not just so other passengers need not climb over me while I sleep. It’s also because I love the views during take off and landing. Whether it’s flying out over Sydney Harbour, or coming in to land over the Houses of Parliament in London, the view from a plane is a unique perspective on the world below.

Starting today you can bring that perspective to your Maps API applications with the launch of 45° imagery in select cities around the world. 45° imagery offers a superior perspective of city skylines than an overhead view. Tall buildings stand out from those around them, and iconic landmarks such as St. Mark’s Square in Venice are instantly recognisable. In addition you can rotate the map to look at buildings from all four sides:

You can track the cities where 45° imagery is currently available on this map. When 45° imagery is available a submenu option is added to the Maps API Satellite button. Right now the overhead imagery remains the default view for these areas. However in three weeks time this will change to match Google Maps, and the 45° imagery will become the default Satellite view where available. If you do not wish the behaviour of your Maps API application to change in this way, update your application now to add the following to your MapOptions object:

tilt: 0

In addition to 45° imagery we are also bringing the Overview Map Control to v3. This is a small interactive thumbnail map that shows an overview of the area around your map location and is attached to the bottom right of your map. The Overview Map Control can be minimized, which collapses it down to a small expand icon. To add the Overview Map Control to your map today in it’s opened state, add the following to your MapOptions:

overviewMapControl: true,
overviewMapControlOptions: {
  opened: true
}

In three weeks the Overview Map Control will be added by default to all Maps in its minimized state. If you do not wish the control to be added to your map at this time, add the following to your Map Options today:

overviewMapControl: false

We hope the addition of the Overview Map Control and 45° imagery to the API helps your users navigate around the world and see it from a new perspective. We’re continuously adding more 45° imagery, so keep an eye on the coverage map to see when it’s added for your city!