Bing Maps AJAX Control version 7 – What’s New?

Last week we launched the Bing Maps AJAX Control version 7.0. I believe that this is a really exciting release with better performance and great new features. However, this is a complete re-design with breaking changes. Therefore it is not possible to upgrade from previous releases by just changing the version number in the JavaScript reference. Over the next days I will post a series of articles that walk you through the most frequently used features but first let’s have a look at what’s new.

Performance 

The control supports both HTML5/CSS3 and HTML4/CSS2. It will automatically detect if the browser is capable of supporting HTML5/CSS3 and leverage HTML5/CSS3 features to enhance performance if possible. However, even in HTML4/CSS2 the performance is significantly improved. The below graph shows rendering times for an increasing number of points in various Bing Maps controls using the Internet Explorer 8.

image

Size

Version 7 is much slimmer than it’s predecessors. In version 6.3 we had already introduced a core-mode which stripped out a lot of features from the AJAX control to speed up the initial loading. In version 7 we have improved on this concept by having a richer core set of features with better performance and yet smaller size.

image

(All sizes are compressed sizes and include secondary JavaScript-, CSS and image-files)

Browser Support

On the Desktop v7 supports now officially the latest versions of Firefox, Safari and Chrome as well as Internet Explorer 7, 8 and 9. Internet Explorer 6 is not officially supported anymore but it should still work. Additionally the iPhone 3GS/4G browser is now supported as well.

Animated Zoom

Zooming in the map is now animated in a similar way as the DeepZoom-effect in Silverlight.

Panning over the International Date Line

Panning over the international date line was previously available in the Silverlight control but not in the AJAX control and that led to quite nasty side-effects if you wanted to visualize for example a flight path from Sydney to Los Angeles. v7 now also supports panning over the international date line in the AJAX control.

image

Enhanced Bird’s Eye View

In previous releases of the AJAX control Bird’s Eye imagery were rendered as scenes and when you panned over the edges from one scene to the next you saw black areas before the next scene as loaded. The enhanced Bird’s Eye View allows a seamless panning over these edges just like it is in Silverlight.

image

Additionally the enhanced Bid’s Eye View synthesizes oblique aerial images at lower zoom-levels which allows you to zoom further out. In the screenshot below you see for example that with the chosen map size in version 6.3 you could not zoom out far enough to see the entire area of the Tower of London. In version 7 the synthesized view is available everywhere and also on lower zoom-levels – just as it is in Silverlight.

image

Map Styles

The new style for roadmaps was already available on an opt-in basis for the AJAX control version 6.3 (see previous blog post here). This style is now the only style for roadmaps in version 7 with the exception of the UK and Japan.

image

In addition you can display Ordnance Survey and Collins Bartholomew maps in the UK if you set the market parameter to en-GB, e.g.

<script type=”text/javascript”
                src=”http://ecn.dev.virtualearth.net/mapcontrol/mapcontrol.ashx
                   ?v=7.0&mkt=en-GB”>
</script>

image

Map Types

Besides the new styles mentioned above there is now also a Map Type automatic which automatically chooses a style for you based on the zoom-level.

image

More New Features

  • New Navigation Control
  • Version 7 now requires a Bing Maps Key. If you haven’t done so yet, sign-up for a free developer key at the Bing Map Account Centre.
  • Geocoding and Routing are not part of the AJAX control anymore and we suggest using the Bing Maps REST Web Service to implement these capabilities.

As mentioned before I will post several articles over the coming days to walk you through some of the most frequently used features but if you can’t wait you will find the SDK online here. A downloadable version is also available as CHM and PDF.

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6 Responses to Bing Maps AJAX Control version 7 – What’s New?

  1. Nice post. Have you done any testing with polygon data. I’m curious to see if this control can handle more polygons than v6.3

    • Hi Ricky. Yes the performance is indeed better but not quite as dramatic as it is for points. The amount of performance increase depends a lot on the browser. Since v7 takes advantage of HTML5 features if the browser supports this, it won’t be surprising that response times in Safari 5 and Chrome 7 are quite a lot better than on IE8 (I haven’t tested IE9 since the beta works fine on my old 32bit machine but freezes on my Lenowo with 64bit Win7). Here are some time that I measured on my laptop:
      v6.3 Number of Time To Render (ms)
      Lvl Polygons Nodes IE8 Safari 5 Chrome 7
      18 5 297 31 14 4
      17 14 1095 92 42 17
      16 73 6497 417 195 139
      14 503 43737 4302 1336 997

      v7 Number of Time To Render (ms)
      Zoom Polygons Nodes IE8 Safari 5 Chrome 7
      18 5 197 17 7 5
      17 14 1095 58 16 21
      16 73 6497 341 95 123
      14 503 43737 2976 664 637

      Please note that this is only the time to render and you would have to add the time for the database query and the time on the network. The 500 polygons at level 14 are worth about 1.5MB.

  2. Mark Merchant says:

    J, I have the Lenovo W500 w/ Win 7 64 but runing on it, if you want to send me your project Monday we can see if it’s you system or something else.

    Mark

    • Hi Mark, my problem is actually that the IE9 beta freezes after some time – regardles of the website – even with static pages. This maybe a problem with my graphics adapter or driver. Are you using the default driver from Lenovo?

  3. Pingback: Bing Maps AJAX Control version 7 – Loading the Map & Localized Labels | Hannes's Virtual Earth

  4. Pingback: Bing Maps AJAX Control version 7 – Adding Vector Data | Hannes's Virtual Earth

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