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Bing Maps Wows 'Em At TED2010 277

theodp writes "In an eye-candy filled presentation that earned him a standing-O at TED2010, Blaise Aguera y Arcas demos augmented-reality mapping technology from Microsoft. In his eight minute spiel, an extension of a shorter tech preview video, the Bing Maps architect shows how geo-tagged Flickr images can be precisely incorporated into streetside views, demonstrates indoor panoramas at Pike Place Market complete with live video overlays, and even takes the audience into space with Microsoft's Worldwide Telescope. " This is a really exciting video and worth your 8 minutes.
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Bing Maps Wows 'Em At TED2010

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  • by Idiomatick ( 976696 ) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @10:18AM (#31134228)
    Awesome, innovative. Good seeing Microsoft kicking Google's ass in something by doing it right. Huzzah for competition!
    • Now if they can just get enough imagery into their database (i.e. every medium-large city world-wide), they might have a chance at actually becoming useful.

      Not that Google's any better in that respect...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by LordThyGod ( 1465887 )
      This strikes me as a relatively minor feature enhancement to a technology largely developed and popularized by google. Without google doing the heavy lifting to get mapping integrated into search, it would either not exist at all now, or would be something much less than it is. MS is just following google's lead and trying to make a buck (or a billion or so bucks) off the real innovation done by others (google, keyhole (?), etc). The real innovation has been done. In the overall scheme of things this is a r
      • by sopssa ( 1498795 ) *

        Remember that Google also bought out the company that was developing Google Earth/Maps, they didn't itself actually innovate it. (since you listed keyhole, you probably knew that)

        Theres many other Google services you would call "innovative", but are really bought startups that actually did the innovation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Idiomatick ( 976696 )
        True, Google led the way. So?

        Photosynth is clearly brilliant, and MS has stitched a number of good components together into a well polished product. Integration with video (I believe google added webcam support though) and the star maps is elegant, as is the use of flikr's wealth of images. Their bingmap aps thing looks like it could have room for interesting uses, IF the sdk is good, simple and freely available.
      • I agree to an extent, but Microsoft definitely had a very good virtual globe software long before Google Earth, back in the days of Encarta (I forget what it was called though), and had mapping software too. If anything Google took that and put it online and made it free.

        Also Microsoft Photosynth, the precursor to this street-view enhancement, was a pretty innovative idea straight out of Microsoft R&D, where quite a few good ideas come from.

        There are many examples of things Microsoft got to first,
    • It looks interesting, but I would hardly call it "kicking Google's ass". It's got some minor enhancements and some cute effects, but on the face of it, nothing that would make me want to switch from google maps. It doesn't actually seem to address any shortcomings of google maps, rather it focuses on making the whole thing look better and more interesting.

      Currently, I use google maps only as a tool for finding quickly and easily where to go, and so far, it has been more than adequate. Perhaps if I were mor

  • by ammorais ( 1585589 ) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @10:34AM (#31134302)

    "3D is currently not supported for your browser. For a list of supported browsers, see Help."

    Seeing help:
    Supported browsers.

            * Internet Explorer 6 or later
            * Mozilla Firefox 3.0 or later
            * Safari 3.1 or later

    I'm using Firefox 3.6. But I guess it's not my browser that isn't supported. It's probably because I'm running it on Gentoo. I guess I will have to stick with Goggle Maps after all.

    [sarcasm] One more point for Microsoft for web neutrality.[/sarcasm]

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      A lot of Bing Maps runs on Silverlight - so that might be part of the problem. If you can run Silverlight (Mac and Windows can - don't know about Linux) then you can get some pretty impressive features.

      Also - a lot of Bing Maps is beta or just freshly out of Beta. I'm using their API on web sites where I am asked to integrate a map as it just really works better IMHO.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SethJohnson ( 112166 )

        A lot of Bing Maps runs on Silverlight - so that might be part of the problem. If you can run Silverlight (Mac and Windows can - don't know about Linux) then you can get some pretty impressive features. Also - a lot of Bing Maps is beta or just freshly out of Beta. I'm using their API on web sites where I am asked to integrate a map as it just really works better IMHO.

        The current iteration of silverlight is not supported on PPC Mac OS X. Nor is it supported on any handheld phones. Especially not the iPhon

      • Get over it Microsoft!

    • Same here with Kubuntu.
  • About 2 months ago I took over a community wiki (moved it to a new domain) for a game with a traffic of thousands of users a month and several sites are linking to it now. Google and Yahoo managed to see this and list my site as second result directly below (the now defunct) original. Bing does not list the site at all!

    So how about getting basic indexing right for the search engine before they come with this wizzy new feature stuff?

    Not that I mind, I don't care about being indexed on Bing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by spydum ( 828400 )

      Did you register as the site admin? -- Most search engines require registering and authorizing to yield better search indexing. All the major indexes use this: google webmaster, yahoo, and bing. Sure, you can wait for a crawler to pick it up -- but it can take a while for it to find a new domain. You are better off going through the proper channels.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        No, I didn't.

        I do the site for fun (i.e. no material interest, no ads, etc.), and most users already found the site through the previous wiki and the forums. Being indexed is just a minor convenience at best in this case, which is why I don't care about it much.

        Just strolling through the statistics now and then, and see what comes around. Google and Yahoo come around, find the site and update their index according to relevance (content, user count, link count, what have you not).

        The Googlebot is fun to obse

  • If you had told me a year ago I would say that I would not have believed you.

    We are looking for a new house. I have found that Bing is much more accurate that Google. This is especially true for new developments. The easy explanation for this is that Bing is using more up to date data. However, there have been times where google is off by 2-3 houses and Bing is right on the money.

    I have also found that Bing's Bird Eye View is superior in my needs than street view is when trying to examine neighborhoods.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Animats ( 122034 )

      I have found that Bing is much more accurate that Google.

      Interesting. One big complaint about Google's mapping is that the street number data is usually a linear interpolation of the number range for the block. There are better data sources available for some areas. USC has an experimental geocoder [] which uses parcel map data; when you put in an address, you get the centroid of the parcel from land ownership records. They have full coverage for Los Angeles, and are adding other areas.


  • on Voyager.

    Seriously, it's this kind of work that proivdes the foundation for Stelar/Astro Cartography maps that we'll need if we're ever going to start expanding out of the Sol System.

  • So I follow the link to Bing world-wide telescope.

    This page requires Silverlight 3.

    No thanks.

    1. I have enough trouble with two CPU-intensive web plugin environments.
    2. If I wanted to take on the risk of Microsoft's security models, I'd be running Windows.

  • by rhizome ( 115711 ) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @12:26PM (#31134998) Homepage Journal

    Here's the URL for the video [] on the TED site, in a larger format, and without "techflash" anywhere nearby: []

  • How it's done (Score:5, Informative)

    by JackHoffman ( 1033824 ) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @12:56PM (#31135166)

    Reposting logged in:

    To people interested in image based rendering, something like the system presented by Microsoft is inevitable, yet still impressive when actually implemented. Look at the transitions in Google Streetview, for example: You have to pay close attention because it happens really fast, but you can see that Google also has a 3D proxy underneath the images. The transition is not between different projections of flat images but between rough approximations of the actual geometry, textured with the image data. That is what makes Microsoft's system so seamless as well. The existence of an underlying geometric understanding of the scene is also obvious when you move the cursor over a Streetview image or look at the cursor in the TED demo: It changes perspective depending on the geometry.

    The critical algorithm at the core of it all is called "SIFT" (Scale Invariant Feature Transform). That's what enables the computer to identify matching features in different pictures, as long as they're taken from similar positions. (This is done after prefiltering the images according to geo-tagging information to reduce the search space.) Then you have sets of 2D coordinates of 3D points under several projections (images). This data defines a set of equations which you can solve to get the relative camera positions and 3D coordinates of the feature points. If you've followed the news on PhotoSynth, you might remember pictures of 3D point clouds: Those were the calculated 3D positions of feature points in the source images. From these point clouds, you can create an approximate representation of the geometry of the scene. If you then use the picture taken from a position closest to your current viewpoint to texture that geometric proxy, you get what Microsoft presented at TED. It really isn't all that complicated.

    Inevitable, therefore not really surprising, but still mighty cool.

  • It was pretty cool.

  • Nice to see the implementation of linking live video into virtual indoor maps. I remember seeing this done in Sci-Fi in the 1985 Max Headroom movie and thinking how cool it was.

  • This is maps + Photosynth. If you aren't familiar with Photosynth, go watch it. THey took a bunch of random pictures from Flickr and built a 3D virtual tour of various famous monuments. Now they are taking intentional pictures and combining them. I predict that this is just the tip of a lot of really wowie things that will appear within the next decade. This + augmented realities can do a lot.

APL hackers do it in the quad.