Microsoft Street Slide: Pan through Street Maps

Google Maps has the user’s no.1 choice when it comes to mapping a location or finding directions. Sure their StreetView is awesome, but the latest one from Microsoft Research called Street Slide makes StreetView look inferior, under-utilizied — They missed out all the Panoramas.

Often we navigate into streets and find it hard to recognize the Buildings with the immersive  the 360 environment. Microsoft Research wants to change that. Street Slide, a research project, aggregates all the photos from 360 degree bubbles and stitches neighboring images into long panoramas. The Result — You can see the full stretch of road along one street (like a filmstrip) that you can now pan across. However, this doesn’t stop you from zooming into individual positions to get the traditional 360 degree view, but the ability to zoom out and scan one stretch of street offers a level of freedom that makes exploration enjoyable and useful.

Watching says more than reading:

Street Slide is one of the implementations of Microsoft’s Seadragon technology they’re already using in Bing Maps Beta, along with an extension of its Photosynth collaborative geo-tagging photo project.

It’s great to see Microsoft Innovating after all these bad years. After all, its been long since they last used “Utility” over “Visual gimmick” to promote a product. Let’s hope that Street Slide will get the opportunity to move beyond the research paper domain and actually turn into a Bing Maps feature.

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