The “Social” with Bing Maps

It still surprises me how little-known the Bing Maps “Map Apps” are.  The Map Apps can add powerful functionality to the already great Bing mapping service.

With the recent announcement that will now be redirecting over to Bing Maps, I thought it might be a convenient time to point out some of the more “socially-focussed” Map Apps.  Feel free to jump straight to a particular Map App:


Where Can I Find Map Apps?

Easy – just press the button on the menu – shown in the screenshot below.  There are lots of Map Apps – hover over each one to get a short description, and try them out (note: some of them are US-centric, so don’t be surprised if you can’t find cheap fuel prices in the UK)!  Try out the Silverlight version of Bing Maps here

Bing Maps

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Facebook: My Friends

Have you ever wondered how internationally dispersed your Facebook friends are?  Well – wonder no more!

If you let Facebook and Bing Maps play with each other, then a nice Map App is My Friends.  This Map App shows you geographically where all of your Facebook friends “live” (provided that they’ve shared this information with you).

Try out My Friends here…  (Remember to click Connect to allow Bing Maps to speak to Facebook!)

My Friends

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Twitter: Twitter Maps

Another nice social Map App, and the first one of two which integrates well with Twitter (well, out of the two that I’m going to cover).

Twitter Maps takes advantage of geo-tagged tweets by displaying your search results overlaid on Bing Maps.  Using this Map App, you can see who has recently tweeted in your local area, or how many people are tweeting about a specific event/product/anything in a certain geographic area.

As an example – the screenshot below shows people who have recently tweeted about Halo: Reach within the UK (well – and some strange foreign-types at the lower-right of the map).

Give Twitter Maps a whizz here

Twitter Maps

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Twitter: Tweet Heat

Tweet Heat is the second Twitter Map App that I’d like to “big-up”.  This Map App also uses geo-tagged tweets, but in a different manner from Twitter Maps.

This Map App analyses each tweet and determines how positive/negative/neutral the tweet topic is.  It’s possibly best described by the intern who created it: “The map app helps users visualize the public response/feeling towards a product, event or really any topic”.

Did I say intern?  Yep I did!  It’s utterly fantastic to hear that Microsoft helps to foster such creativity and ingenuity within the organisation – even challenging interns to create astonishing tools.  Read more about the genesis of Tweet Heat here.  (As an aside – this isn’t a unique occurrence – the Audio Record feature in OneNote was also created by an intern.  More on Microsoft interns here…)

Anyway – I digress.  Try out Tweet Heat here…  And just to get you started – general sentiments on Halo: Reach throughout the UK below…!

Tweet Heat

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OK – so Photosynth isn’t strictly speaking a “social” app, but it has strong social elements within its DNA.

Microsoft Photosynth is actually a great service for creating massive panoramic, gigapixel or 3D photos by stitching together multiple pictures.  The technology is spectacular, and you can easily upload and stitch your own photos.  Thanks to geo-tagging, it’s been possible to integrate Photosynth with Bing Maps.

Below is a terrific example of the integration between photos and mapping.  Go access and zoom/pan/gaze directly here


There’s a great number of Photosynth images to see – below is a screenshot of those scattered around the UK.  According to the Map App, there are currently 40,989 Photosynths made from 2,973,935 photos at this particular moment.  Go see all them here.


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In Short…

There are a great number of interesting – and sometimes useful – Map Apps available already, and the count is ever-increasing.  If you want to keep up-to-date on the latest developments, remember to visit the Bing Maps Community!