Bing Maps receives a July 2011 refresh

Microsoft has detailed in a comprehensive PDF the new changes and improvements that have been made to Bing Maps in the July 2011 Bing Maps update. As the Bing team nicely states: “So what did we change? Simply put, we made things easier to see.

Bing has cleaned up its mapping interface and made the important stuff more easily visible. Primary roadways are now marked with a more prominent color, one way streets have been made clearer to the user and the overall color tone has been kept cooler. As Microsoft reminds us, four out of five users see data layered over Bing Maps, and through using cool colors for the maps and warm colors for pushpins and other bits of data, users won’t be confused and important data is made more prominent

The July 2011 update also aims to provide greater clarity with Bing Maps: “One of the primary objectives of Bing Maps is to make important things easy to find. To do that, we’ve made a number of key improvements.” These again include adjusting road colors, deepening the blue of the water and enhancing the glow on text.

Microsoft have also adjusted the amount of detail shown at each of the 18 (or more) levels of zoom, which in the PDF (available here) are specifically detailed. Improvements include showing detail based on population density and more scalable map shields. Country-specific road shields have also been updated for 24 countries, and Microsoft have now added more than 300 maps for the interiors of the largest US shopping malls.

A lot of the changes Microsoft and the Bing team have implemented into the Bing Maps July 2011 update are minor, but when added up do provide a clearer and more user friendly approach to mapping. Clearly Microsoft have done their research and are trying to improve their map service while catering for their target audience. It's worth noting that this is expected to land on Microsoft's phone platform, Windows Phone 7, but we are yet to see the tile refresh there.

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Anyway pastel is out of fashion Like little flowers and cute stuff. The planet is on a right-wing shift, culture follows, and people nowadays want facts rather than poetry!

Maybe Bing Maps can compete with Google in the US market but in many other countries it is far behind Google Maps.

tom5 said,
Maybe Bing Maps can compete with Google in the US market but in many other countries it is far behind Google Maps.

Like when Google Maps is used, and creates international incidents with border crossings and border disputes?

Its really to bad they cant get more data in canada.. on my WP7 I show people how easy it is to get info on places but it just kinda sucks that their are no reviews for restaurants and just the minor things like that.. Hopefully we will get an upgraded experience in Canada when mango comes out.

Lachlan said,

Bing make partnerships for data. Maybe you should get off your tush and start generating data and then sell it for a reasonable rate to Bing.

Some small lakes and small roads are still missing from rural area maps in canada. This is where they need to improve Bing anyway for Canada.

KingCrimson said,
Nice to see this growing attention to detail at Microsoft. They seem to be learning the Apple way.

Yeah everyone needs to learn from apple. /s

KingCrimson said,
Nice to see this growing attention to detail at Microsoft. They seem to be learning the Apple way.

Seriously? In the last 10-15 Microsoft has investment a huge amount of money into develop and research along with direct case studies of how people best interact with user interfaces.

This has created things like Media Center, Vista's UI changes, Windows 7 UI changes, Office UI changes, and all the tiny and subtle changes that shift a user's eye and attention to key areas.

And it is Microsoft that is doing things the Apple way?

Apple designs from a 'marketing' perspective, of what looks the best and gets a strong emotional response, hence the detail for things like the design of their hardware. In usability and making things better/easier for people, Apple doesn't give a crap and never has or they wouldn't still be cramming a Menu Bar along the top of the screen as the 'best idea'.

So in a 'productivity' product, like a computer, do you want it to make you feel warm and fuzzy because of the shiny case, or do you want it to be the easiest to use and inherently make the most sense? If it is the first one, continue to buy Apple products.

Rutro Shaggy, you smoking koolaid?

some of the old road colors felt so washed out to me and made it hard on the eyes to follow roads, nice to see them get more contrast