"Bing Maps just got more useful for developers, bus and train commuters and education advocates everywhere," a representative for Bing tells WebProNews. She is referring to a series of announcements Microsoft made today regarding Bing Maps.
The company released two new Bing mapping apps, made additions to the Bing Transit Map, and released the final Windows Phone 7 SDK which features Bing and Microsoft Advertising.
Bing's two new mapping apps are part of the Our School Needs campaign, which is focused on supporting schools across the U.S. through funding and volunteer efforts.
The first app is for DonorsChoose.org. It helps people find and support classroom projects in their community. "The app identifies and highlights school projects that are looking for funding," the rep explains. "People can explore and donate by location, subject area, funding required and other criteria. Schools, school districts and donors can also embed a DonorsChoose Bing Map in their own website making it easy to spread the word."
The second app is simply Bing Education. It's designed to help people find opportunities to help students in their neighborhoods. "In addition to features found in the DonorsChoose.org app this app displays local school information and donation, mentor, and volunteer opportunities in the area," she says. "The app features opportunities from Mentor Pro, Great Schools, and DonorsChoose.org."
As far as additions to Bing Transit Map, bus and rail transit directions are now alongside driving and walking directions. The transit directions will first be available in major U.S. metropolitan areas such as Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles, and will roll out to additional cities in the future. "The information in the Bing Transit map is provided by various transportation agencies in major metropolitan regions," says the rep. "Please note, Bing Transit only works on AJAX supported sites."
More details and a complete list of available cities can be found here.
Windows Phone 7 SDK
Bing Maps, which is of course the default mapping service on Windows Phone 7, is now fully integrated into the Windows Phone 7 Developer Toolkit with the Bing Maps Control SDK. Bing says this makes it simpler for developers to build Bing mobile mapping apps. "Like all other Bing Maps APIs, the Windows Phone 7 control is free for use in consumer-facing mobile applications," the rep says. More info on Windows Phone Developer tools are here. More on the Advertising SDK specifically here.