On Tuesday, the Bing team announced that the Bing Maps 3D control (the ActiveX plug-in, not Silverlight) is being end-of-lifed. The 3D control will be removed from the website in a few weeks, but the data feeds that support it will remain live until December 2011. I've gotten some questions on twitter and the InfoStrat.VE forum about what this announcement means for InfoStrat.VE so I wanted to post an update about this.
Based upon this announcement, the current version of InfoStrat.VE will still work until December 2011. After that date, any applications using the current version will essentially stop working. We are pursuing several options that will replace as much of the functionality of the Bing Maps 3D backend to InfoStrat.VE as possible.
I'm really happy to see the support from people on twitter and comments on the Bing blog for InfoStrat.VE. Unfortunately the decision to end-of-life Bing Maps 3D was made much earlier this year. We had been working closely with some of the team members so they did give us a heads up back then, but we couldn't discuss it publicly of course.
At that time we provided a lot of feedback and as much push-back as we could, including several of the ideas that people posted in the comments on the Bing blog. This is also why you haven't seen much new lately for InfoStrat.VE. Of course, Microsoft and this project has always said using this control is unsupported with no guarantees.
We are disappointed that Microsoft is bowing out of the 3D mapping market, which is important to commercial and government customers. They've chosen to focus on 2D mapping, which primarily targets consumers. The 2D solution does have Birds Eye and some other cool features, though.
That said, this is not the end of mapping on Surface. InfoStrat.VE should still work in your existing projects until December 2011. We're hoping to have news of a transition path well before then in order to give time to switch over current and future projects. This might end up using 2D only, or possibly extending the backend to support other 2D or 3D mapping providers. We don't have anything solid at this point but we will definitely post some information when we can.
If you have any preferences about where you'd like to see InfoStrat.VE go, please chime in on the comments or send me an email: joshblake at gmail.com.
Thanks for your support!