Microsoft Corp., following the lead of Google Maps, this week introduced a beta version of an online local search and mapping service that combines aerial imagery with driving directions and other local search tools.

Windows Live Local, at http://local.live.com, is powered by Microsoft’s Virtual Earth mapping and location platform and features a detailed, 45-degree bird’s-eye view of major U.S. cities, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle and Las Vegas, Microsoft announced.

“We believe Windows Live Local sets a new standard for what people can do with maps, directions and local search,” said Christopher Payne, corporate vice president of MSN Search at Microsoft. “The combination of immersive aerial imagery, customizable map annotations, innovative driving directions and the ability to share local search information with others gives users an incredibly powerful and easy way to find what they want and get where they want to go.”

Covering about 25 percent of the U.S. by population, the bird’s-eye images were captured by Pictometry International Corp. via low-flying airplanes and integrated with road and satellite maps to simulate 360-degree panoramas that can be viewed from four compass directions, the company reported.

On-screen navigational tools and preview tiles enable navigation between directional views or zooming in closer to a destination.

“Now people will be able to experience what it’s like to be there, whether they are evaluating a new house to buy, choosing the exact location to meet someone, or just taking a virtual vacation. Over the next couple of years, Microsoft plans to continuously update bird’s-eye, aerial, and road map data and imagery as well as local listings and information,” according to the announcement.

Live Local users will be able to point to anyplace on the map that interests them and immediately calculate directions to it, Microsoft announced. “Now, even if the user doesn’t know the address or name of a place – such as a park, shopping mall, parking garage or other spot that is hard to identify by address or name – he or she can simply point, click and get directions to that location.”

Other features of the newly launched site include identification of construction areas along a specific route, several print options, and thumbnail pictures of each turn in the route. Microsoft noted that there is also an updated version of Microsoft Location Finder in Windows Live Local to assist users in identifying their current location as a starting point to their search. The degree of accuracy is usually within a few hundred feet of a user’s actual location, the company reported.

Users also can customize their maps by adding user-created “Pushpins,” which can include personalized notes such as a meeting time or building office number for a scheduled meeting or appointment. “Pushpins can be used to create itineraries for a set of activities and in all cases can be easily shared with others through e-mail, Web logs, MSN Spaces or instant messages sent with MSN Messenger,” Microsoft announced.

Live Local also invites users to comment on the new site at a Microsoft discussion board.

***

Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Black Friday starts now! We've got great deals on Inman Connect New York in-person and virtual tickets. Register now×
Cyber Week Sale: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $75.SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription