Microsoft’s Virtual Earth has a phenomenal addition to Live Search Maps that allows users to create virtual aerial tours. Here’s an example using pictures from my trip to Kauai:
The tours can be exported as a video file and uploaded to a video sharing site (as above) or shared by link to Live Search Maps. Like many such links on AJAX sites, it doesn’t preserve the correct state. Click “Tour in 3D” in the upper left and “aerial” above the map for best effect.
Tours can be created manually by pushing pins into a map. The service also plays nicely with GeoRSS, GPX, KML or KMZ files. The above tour was imported from my flickr pictures. (Unfortunately, flickr caps geo exports to the most recent 20 pictures per search.)
The 3d map tours can be generated from GPS tracklogs. Here’s a tour based on the tracklog from a recent bike trip through San Francisco, taking the ferry back from Sausalito:
Major cities, like San Francisco, benefit from 3D models of key buildings. The blue line in the video is the tracklog.
Both of these tours were created using the default settings. You can also customize the view shown at each location by rotating, tilting or zooming. I don’t see an option to playback the full tracklog.
Disclosure: I work for a Microsoft subsidiary.
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