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« Through the side window with RSS | Main | The Hobson and Holtz Report - Podcast #53: July 25, 2005 »

25 July 2005


Niall Cook


You actually got it the wrong way round. Google Maps works in other countries (e.g. maps.google.co.uk), it's Microsoft's Virtual Earth that should actually be called Virtual USA.

It may be able to locate you by IP address, but try searching for Amsterdam and you'll see what I mean.

It's why I don't think it's going to be the "Google Maps-killer" that everyone keeps suggesting.



No, Niall, I do have it the right way round.

I'm currently in Amsterdam and if I use either the locate by IP address or the Location Finder, it finds me with 100% accuracy, here in Amsterdam, and shows the map location. And it's quick.

Not a lot I can do yet with this location, though. Not much turns up when I search. But it is beta.

As for Google Maps, you're right, it is other countries. When I first tried it, quite a while ago now, it only worked for US locations.

There's also Google Earth - http://earth.google.com/ - which I didn't mention in my post. That, I think, may be the better comparison with Microsoft's offering.

Guillaume du Gardier

Neville, if you liked Google earth, you should test the NASA earth vizualisation tool, available there: http://worldwind.arc.nasa.gov/
You'll have to install it on your desk, but the images are terrific !

Richard Byrom

Neville, I have to agree with Niall here. If you do a comparison of Google Maps with MSN Virtual Earth you'll find that Google has much better global coverage and MSN is only in the states right now. However where I've compared google maps with MSN in the states, the MSN satellite images goes down to a much higher level of detail and provide a better 3 d perspective.

Just do a comparison of London and Amsterdam, MSN doesn't have particularly good satellite photos of either. Take a look at where Shel work on the other hand and you'll see that MSN beats google maps hands down.

MSN - http://virtualearth.msn.com/default.aspx?ss=1100%20Glenwillow%20Ln%2C%20Concord%2C%20CA%2094521|1100%20Glenwillow%20Lane%2C%2094521|94521&cp=37.939055|-121.967837&style=h&lvl=19&v=1

Google Earth - http://maps.google.com/maps?q=1100+Glenwillow+Ln,+Concord,+CA+94521&ll=37.938765,-121.967822&spn=0.003754,0.007308&t=k&hl=en

Both links go down to the lowest level of detail but MSN is obviously better. You can't do the same for Europe or the UK cause MSN ain't there yet!! - at least from the satellite maps point of view.

Check out the blog googlesightseeing.com which provides daily coverage of interesting sites around the globe.

For Google Earth check out http://bbs.keyhole.com or googlearthhacks.com which show all the different apps that have been written for google earth to date.


Looks like I should have entitled my post 'Virtual Earth very quick first looks';)

I'm sure you're right, Richard, re the completeness (or lack) of Virtual Earth right now. It is beta.

One thing - it isn't just the States: it does cover other countries. There might not yet be much depth in what you can do re searching, etc, for those countries, but my experience with a (quick!) first look shows that it is highly accurate in its location pinpointing, showing me in Amsterdam (for instance) accurately.

But I am seeing more negative commentary out there right now than positive (follow Drew's trackback for such a take).

Still, my initial favourable impression still stands. I plan to road test it on my next travels. To me that's an acid test.


Gullaume, I tried that NASA app when it first came out a few months ago. Gorgeous inded, and if I was looking for a first-rate tool with photos of the earth, that would probably be it.

You need a pretty fast PC for it to work well, it seems to me. But very cool nevertheless.


Just to give ma little opinion :

I entered 'Amsterdam' in the search field ... and I landed ... in the State of New York.

Huh !



Just to give ma little opinion :

I entered 'Amsterdam' in the search field ... and I landed ... in the State of New York.

Huh !



To give a second little opinion (sorry).

The locate me button give me a large view of the whole Benelux instead of a closeup on Amsterdam.

It is normal, however : IP addresses are made of four numbers of 3 digits from which the first is realy usable to determine your location. It is only 999 possibilities and not very accurate indeed.

IPV6, the next step of Internet, should improve that.

It's funny that everybody is exited by the MSN and Google stuff : Mappy does the same (even better) for more than 5 years now.



Xavier, I'll bet loads of such mis-locations will happen. Paris, Texas, for instance, instead of the other one ;)

What I know is this - I'm in Amsterdam (the other one) and if I tell the app to find me either by IP address or by triangulating wi-fi access points (ie, the Location Finder), it does just that and shows me a map of The Netherlands with Amsterdam smack in the middle. And it does it very quickly.

That's pretty good.

As for other functionality, I've not played with that yet. This is just a first look...

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