Last year, Microsoft announced that they were getting serious about their map business and launched a Beta release of Bing Maps Windows Presentation Foundation Control. Nearly four months later, and after some "stellar" feedback, Microsoft has officially released Bing Maps WPF Control, Version 1.
The control was built on top of the beta version, meaning that all of the features of Bing Maps will remain, such as various map styles to toggle through, pan and zoom keyboard controls, and Microsoft Surface (the touch-enabled facet with support for Surface v 2's Pixel Sense technology). Honestly, I will admit, I do really prefer the look of the terrain on Bing Maps than Google Maps. Bing's version reminds me more of the classic map I'd expect to see clutched in the hands of Indiana Jones as he escapes from a burning library.
Just look at the difference. I feel like Microsoft just ate Google's lunch money with this Bing Maps launch. Google might be more focused on, and therefore still better at, maps that are fun (and fun again), but if you have any appreciation for aesthetic quality then Bing Maps is the one posted up in the pro zone (i.e., winning).
Today's blog post from Chris Pendleton, the Lead Program Manager for Bing Maps, continues:
Per community feedback on the Bing Maps MSDN Forums we added the following features (and fixed a few bugs):
Support for tile layers – you can now overlay your own tile layers atop the map control. Turning off the base tile layer – this is useful for when you don’t need/want to use our base map tiles and instead would prefer to use your own without overlaying them atop of ours. The control won’t request the tiles which reduces downloads and improves rendering performance. SSL Support – since many of you are using the WPF control in secure applications, you can now make tile and service request over SSL without issue. Hiding the scale bar – if you don’t want a scale bar (perhaps your map is small and the scale bar clutters the map) you can turn it off. In fact, the only elements you can’t turn off are the Bing logo and the copyrights. New copyright service – provides accurate copyright for our data vendors. Additional inertia – inertia is now enabled for the mouse and is on by default for touch. Miscellaneous bug fixes – thanks for the feedback on the MSDN Forums, the Bing Maps Blog, e-mail and Twitter. Good finds people.
Pendleton seems aware of the fact that he's got a winner on hand, too:
I have to give it up for my (small) crack team of people involved in the making of the WPF Control. This was one of those 10% projects that we all really had a passion to get done because it was the right thing to do for the Microsoft Developer Community. So, we found the time, slipped the release a month (for quality) and, as the guys over in Surface said, “just got it done.” Our internal motto kept stoking the fire to push this bad boy out the door…”WPF, FTW!”
Looks like passion and dedication came up roses for Pendleton and Microsoft this time. Nicely done.