OK… first of all I have to introduce the man behind this amazing creation.
Bill currently works at Microsoft and is a very talented developer. While he may blow off his creation as "no big deal", I'm blown away every time I use it and am excited to see it stable enough that he's willing to share it with others.
So what is this "creation" I speak of?
Bill took the Windows Live mapping engine and overlayed on it, USGS trail maps.
Yeah yeah, big deal… Google has been doing this for a while, right?
Bill one-upped them.
The Windows Live guys didn't just stop at building a simple GPS satellite view mapping service, they integrated with the Microsoft Flight Simulator Engine which allows you to get very detailed 3-D style views of supported terrain.
Bill's mapping data has altitude information that allows for an incredible 3-D experience when viewing hiking trails and terrain.
Remember the topo-style pictures in my recent post about Little Annapurna? This is the tool I used to take those snapshots.
It now supports both FireFox and Internet Explorer (Windows Only, no Mac), and you can check it out for yourself at:
– Make sure you put the map in "3D mode" and download the necessary plugins.
– Hold down the CTRL key and LEFT mouse button and move the mouse around the rotate the image.
– Use the mouse-wheel to zoom in/out.
– Hold down the SHIFT key and LEFT mouse button and move the mouse around the pan the image.
– Depending on how "Zoomed-in" you are, different scale maps will load, over the topography.
IMHO – the results are staggering. Find your favourite trail and zoom right in and follow the contours and enjoy.
Great job Bill!