webDotWiz talks Windows Live

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See the world on Live Maps

Over a cuppa the other day the webDotWizards at Rushworth Community House were running through all the computer jobs that were pending:

And so the list grew.

In the end some of us called up Office Live Workspace, created a to-do task list and began filling in what we’ve got to catch up on. Then somebody mentioned that there had been an update to the imagery on Live Maps with bird’s eye views of Hobart, Sydney, Gold Coast and Wollongong. So it was off to explore.

Go to http://maps.live.com in your browser, enter sydney, click Locations then the Search Maps button.

Sydney, Australia

We’ll return to the Explore collections link later (if time and space allow) but clicking will give you lists of places that other people around the world have contributed. They’re all related to Sydney because that’s where our focus is at the moment. If you were to re-locate the map to another city or region, the list of highlights would adjust.

The interesting feature we notice for Sydney is that the Bird’s eye link is bolded so that means we can use this view. Let’s click it and see what we get.

Sydney CBD in bird's eye view

The road-view small map at the top right can be used to pan around the bird’s eye view. Note the trapezium shape blue highlighted area which designates the current view (the trapezium shape comes about because the plane cameras are aimed obliquely to capture the edges of buildings and terrain). You can pan the map using this thumbnail image or pan the large view. Remember that the scrollwheel zooms in and out. To get a better view, let’s remove the left-hand pane – you can either click the X or drag the divider to the left. Now we’ve got a larger map area to explore.

Sydney CBD in bird's eye view expaned to fill browser window

On the left of the navigation menu you’ll see we’re facing north and below there’s a + button so we can zoom in. Because we’re in bird’s eye view, we can rotate our view using the two curly arrows at the bottom of the navigation pane.

Navigation pane controls

Let’s rotate the camera clockwise to change our view.

Sydney CBD looking eastward

Now the compass is pointing eastwards to the top of the screen, north is to the left – check the way George St is running, for example. So in this shot, Circular Quay and the Opera House is to the left and that’s the direction we’d have to pan to view these Sydney highlights. Let’s rotate our view back so north is at the top of the screen and head down to Circular Quay.

After going up George St (panning north) and taking a look at some of the commercial buildings along the way (particularly those at the top of George St), we pan a little eastwards and come to Circular Quay.

Circular Quay, Sydney

Panning further eastwards and a little northwards, we arrive at  this landmark.

Sydney Opera House

Here’s the view looking south (a couple of clicks on the rotate arrow) and zooming in for more detail (click the + button until it greys out).

Sydney Opera House looking south

Now you should be ready to travel the world. Before you go, though, go westwards to view another famous structure. You might like to pan around a little and explore The Rocks.

Then you can head off to the Gold Coast, Wollongong and Hobart for more bird’s eye viewing. It won’t be too long before other Australian cities have the bird’s eye feature (imagery is usually updated each month for cities and regions on a world-wide basis).

One more thing before heading overseas, spend some time exploring Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong which only have the normal oblique imagery at the moment but there’s plenty to see. For example in Bendigo, find the historic sandstone police barracks building.

If buildings aren’t your interest, there are planes to be observed (e.g., O’Hare airport in Chicago or Heathrow near London), trains to be spotted at Waterloo Station, London, and Marseille, France, shipping containers by the tens of thousands at the Port of Los Angeles, world famous gold courses, or you might prefer a sight-seeing tour of Venice or Rome.

Posted with the help of Windows Live Writer, Microsoft OneNote, Paint.NET and Live Search Maps.

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