Home > News > Bricks and Bobs > North America > MSN Introduce 3d Maps

MSN Introduce 3d Maps

Not content with having some of the most incredible oblique maps of London and other major places around the world, Microsoft have decided to go one better now and try and truly rival the ubiquitous Google Earth in the 3d desktop mapping department with a revision to their MSN Maps.

What they've done is start to create a massive textured model of New York featuring every single building in Manhattan. Microsoft plan to have done more than 500 cities by the end of next year and individually modelled what will be literally millions of buildings.

It's still at the early stages with big gaps in between the buildings showing where they haven't done yet, but it gives a glimpse of the way this technology is progressing having moved on in just a few years from the simple grey wire-frame models that Google Earth has.

Unfortunately for them, they are stuck with the cantankerous applet that runs within a browser unlike Google Earth with it's specific client showing Microsoft's dogmatic love for Windows Explorer.

Typically for Microsoft they've also locked older users out of their 3d viewer by making the requirements for it as Windows XP or Vista and Internet Explorer 7. Skyscrapernews was unable to get it running in Firefox or Windows 2000 and when you include Linux, Mac OS and other browsers we reckon from our logs about 50% of Skyscrapernews users will be stuck to the 2d and oblique views of MSN Maps.

Nice graphics aside, the features offered are still pretty thread-bare and suffer from the lack of a large community like Google Earth has whilst the 2d mapping of London although of a more consistent quality than Google Earth due to equal cloud cover on all the tiles is substantially older.

In London for example, 30 St Mary's Axe is just a big hole in the ground with foundations being laid placing the satellite photography in 2002 whilst moving outside the capital, close-ups show much of the U.K in blur-o-vision rendering it useless.

Still, with these two features beating Google Earth easily how long before Google strike back against Microsoft by playing their own game and throwing millions of dollars at it rather than relying on communities to build cities for them?

You can check out Microsoft's maps at http://maps.live.com
3d New York in Live Maps
3d New York in Live Maps
Oblique Canary Wharf in Live Maps
Oblique Canary Wharf in Live Maps