Virtual Earth API vs Google Maps API

When I had the first look at Virtual Earth I was quite impressed by the details the provide on the Maps for certain areas. I checked San Jose and Seattle ant the resolution in those areas is much higher than what Google offers. Check out the Space Needle! (Sixth Avenue North Seattle, Washington 98109)

On the first look the Virtual Earth API appears to be pretty similar to what Google offers. That’s quite nice but why was it necessary to switch (long, lat) to (lat, long) if everything else looks so much the same? A really nice thing is that you don’t need to register your application or generate a key to use the API.

There biggest difference between the two API’s is that Virtual Earth only offers one class (VE_MapControl) which is the equivalent to GMap but that’s all there is. If you want to overlay information you can call a method of the class called AddPushPin() and that is not a great way to do it. What I really like a bout the G-Implementation is that I can create little “pin-objects” place them on the map and add a listener to it. This is really helpful to actually make you map interactive without writing a lot of code. VE also provides no default control to zoom in or out.

Here is my attempt to create something quickly that offers the same set of features then my Google Maps demo. I didn’t have the time to create any controls, therefore it is not really useful. (I will be late for my hockey game!)

To sum this up, the maps API doesn’t seem to be very polished. VE only comes with the bare minimum of features which seems to me like it was done in a big hurry. I would not be surpised to find to missing classes in the documentations in the next couple of weeks.

Update: Just realized that double-clicking on the VE Maps zooms in and that the satellite data for Europe is much worse than Google’s…

One Response to “Virtual Earth API vs Google Maps API”

  1. Colin says:

    I’m one of the bigger Microsoft fans around, and I’ll come right out and say the Google Maps API blows Virtual Earth’s out of the water.

    I can move/zoom a map and create ugly pushpins with Virtual Earth. Big deal!

    The VE API isn’t very elegant and has none of the functionality I’d want from a maps API like drawing lines, creating custom icons for markers, handling marker click events or overlaying custom map layers.

    GMaps has all of this, but it lacks is a license model for intranet applications, thus they’re cutting themselves out of the enterprise market and forcing people like me to consider inferior solutions like VE.

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