Microsoft enhancements enable "Wikipedia of maps"

Bing Maps adds OpenStreetMap layer

Microsoft has said that the collaborative mapping site OpenStreetMap is now available within the software giant’s Bing Maps site.

Microsoft has recently added new features to Bing Maps, such as 3D visualisation for some cities, and last month launched a challenge called King of Maps where developers were tasked with creating Bing gallery apps which provide alternative view layers. One application resulting from the challenge was an application that estimated taxi fares within American cities.

OpenStreetMaps has been described as the Wikipedia of Maps, allowing the general public to edit map data. The open source map data has proved especially useful in the developing world where less official map data is available. An application to incorporate OpenStreetMaps as a layer in Bing Maps is now available in the app gallery.

In order to add the OpenStreetMaps layer, users need to visit the app gallery and find the OpenStreetMaps app. Adding this will result in an alternative OpenStreetMaps view appearing within Bing Maps. It’s possible to switch back by using the layer control gadget.

Many advanced functions like layers and 3D visualisation require Microsoft’s Silverlite plug-in. These features do with in Internet Explorer 8, Firefox and Safari but don’t appear to work with rival mapper Google’s Chrome browser.

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