Microsoft has announced the launch of new functionality for Microsoft Live Search Maps; three-dimensional, photo-realistic maps covering New York City and 8 other locations in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
The 3D service provides a unique look at each city, that combined with Microsoft’s location and business data delivers a service that would have once upon a time have been considered science fiction fantasy.
The launch keeps Microsoft one step ahead of Google in 3D mapping. Google acquired 3D technology from a Stanford University team May 18 that will provide similar functionality for Google. 3D modeling at Google Maps does not currently include photo realism.
The 3-D imagery of New York City debuts with Austin, Cape Coral (Florida), Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Northampton (UK), Ottawa, Savannah and Tampa. More cities worldwide will be added to the service during the northern summer.
First impressions: extremely slow if you’re not on a very high speed connection at the highest setting, but the computer generated effects are amazing.