Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp. is the latest brokerage company to install the Microsoft Virtual Earth technology at its Web site, www.coldwellbanker.com, according to a company announcement today.

New mapping functions enable consumers to view market perspectives within a state, city and community, as well as things like a home’s proximity to schools, shopping, dining, health services, banks and places of worship, among other things. Consumers also can get a bird’s-eye view of individual properties.

Mapping tools have made huge inroads at real estate Web sites in the past year, most notably since the launch of the Google Maps platform in February 2005. Both Google Maps and Microsoft’s Virtual Earth mapping tools allow users to view aerial imagery and street names, and to find driving directions for addresses across the country.

In May, Realogy Corp. (formerly Cendant) announced an agreement with Microsoft to supply interactive online mapping tools to Realogy’s real estate brand Web sites. Under the agreement, Microsoft provides the Virtual Earth tools to Century21.com, ColdwellBanker.com, ColdwellBankerCommercial.com, ERA.com, SothebysRealty.com and the operating company Web sites of NRT Inc., a Realogy subsidiary.

Another recent addition to the Coldwell Banker site was the Coldwell Banker Personal Retriever, which uses RSS (Real Simple Syndication) to automatically send daily, personalized real estate listings directly to a consumer’s computer desktop. The retriever shows all the newly listed properties meeting a consumer’s criteria each day with a link to more detailed information, and also provides daily updates to mortgage rates.

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