One of Google’s most promising features is its brand new global mapping software, dubbed Google Maps. New API access is taking it to the next level.

The web-based interface to Google Maps allows users to perform powerful mapping functions – locating points, creating driving directions, viewing aerial photographs, and even combining aerial photographs with streets in a hybrid view.

But it isn’t these functions that truly show off the power of Google’s technology.

In June 2005, Google made available a developer toolkit, allowing 3rd party users the ability to directly interact with the powerful mapping engine.

Extremely Flexible

Developers have already begun harnessing the power of Google’s gift. On such example, Whereis, allows users to “geolocate web servers, and plot them on a map.

Demonstrating the scalability of the maps, one developer has created a chart powered by Google Maps to display the positioning of boats taking place in the 2005 Transpac boat race.

Meteorologists are also in on the action. A map hosted on uses hurricane data to plot hurricane activity dating back to 1851 on a map of the mid-Atlantic.

Hailing a Cab

Google Labs has introduced its own promising concoction – Ride Finder. Based on the same mapping technology, it tracks the exact positioning of fleets of taxis and limousines in 13 US cities.

The ride finder service was released in late March 2005, and marked one of the first additions to the mapping software.

A Moon Made Of….

In celebration of the anniversary of the first manned moon landing, Google Moon was released, plotting the landing location of six Apollo space missions to the Moon.

NASA aerial imagery of the moon surface is used in the map, but the resolution is very limited. What happens if users try and zoom past the limitations of the imagery?

“Well, you'll have to go and find out, won't you, says Google.

Powered by Keyhole

Much of the recent additions to Google Maps are believed to be from the acquisition of Keyhole Incorporated, a digital mapping company that the company made in October 2004.

Google initially cut the Keyhole subscription price in half, and in late June 2005, released Google Earth, a derivative of the keyhole client software.

Users can access aerial imagery from all around the world – complete with overlaid points of interest, 3d buildings, 3d geographic features, and even driving directions.

Microsoft MapPoint Web Service Access for Startup Applications

Cuyahoga Falls, OH – May 15, 2006 - Starting today, web developers can purchase Microsoft MapPoint Web Service usage transactions in small blocks for their applications. provides access to the MapPoint web platform for transactions usage starting out as low as 1,500 transactions per month – ideal for small or start up applications requiring map look up and driving directions. provides developers direct access to the Microsoft platform under a cell phone model, monthly usage charges, and transaction rollover, all under an annual contract. With no activation fee, developers can select usage plan between 1,500 and 50,000 usage transactions per month. As your application grows, usage plans may be upgraded at any time is a service of InfoGrow Corporation, a Microsoft Certified Partner and leading MapPoint Web Service application developer.

Recently Microsoft MapPoint Web Service has been re-branded to the Virtual Earth Platform. The Virtual Earth Platform is an integrated set of location based services that combines unique bird's-eye, aerial, and satellite imagery with the best-of-breed mapping, location and search functionality.

Through the Virtual Earth Platform, web-based application developers will have flexibility of tapping into one of the two Virtual Earth application programming interfaces (API): MapPoint Web Service API using SOAP XML to communicate with customer applications and Virtual Earth Map Control that lets users make requests via JavaScript to AJAX map object.

As pricing details become available for the Virtual Earth Platform, will incorporate them into the monthly access plans.

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