Bing Maps’ “Game Changer”: Hi-Res Aerial Imagery Coming To Entire US and Western Europe


Hot on the heels of last week’s Read/Write World effort, Bing Maps has announced another ambitious project that will improve its imagery collection.

It’s called the Global Ortho Project and the goal is to provide consistent, high resolution (30 cms) imagery across every square inch of the United States and Western Europe by June, 2012. Some major cities and landmarks (like Cowboys Stadium above) already have hi-res imagery but, as any experienced online map user can tell you, the photos often get much worse in smaller towns and cities.

No more, Bing says.

In a video about the project, Program Manager Robert Ledner calls it “a complete game changer” and says Bing Maps will be the first in the industry to offer the same visual experience in “a little farm town in Iowa” as in any major city.

“There’s no other competitor that has the same consistency of quality. The amount of of data that we’re pushing through, the speed that we’re getting out is unprecedented in the industry.”

In the video, Bing says it’ll have a three-year refresh cycle on its hi-res aerial imagery collection and, in that timeframe, it’ll go back and re-collect about 50% of its imagery coverage, with a focus on the more populated areas.

The Global Ortho project gives Bing a second type of aerial imagery to complement the existing “Bird’s Eye” photos that display at a 45-degree angle. To access the straight-down Global Ortho images, users can deselect the “show angled view” option when using the Bird’s Eye view imagery.


(Unchecking the option shown here leads you to the image earlier in this article.)

This recent Forbes article says that about 25% of the new hi-res aerial imagery is already online.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Features: General | Microsoft: Bing Maps & Local


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • Bob Bigellow

    Or, in other words… we’re Microsoft… and we’ve got something really exciting we’re working on, but it’s not available tomorrow… and won’t even be available this year… but it’s absolutely coming next year, and it will blow your socks off. There’s no way the competition will ever be able to accomplish what we’re doing within a mere year.

  • kevinmc3

    Calm down guy…if we believed all the “game changer” type Hype stories Google would have been doomed 5 years ago.

  • Adam Alter

    They need to update their maps so bad it’s a joke. When we were house shopping in Austin we wanted to see what neighborhoods looked like by their listing address, but if the house was less than 4-5 years old, Bing’s maps wouldn’t even show a house built yet lol.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide