Microsoft Virtual Earth and Local Search Patent Applications

Microsoft’s Live Local (now Bing Maps) is powered by the Microsoft Virtual Earth platform (now Bing Maps for Enterprise). Five patent applications were published at the US Patent and Trademark Office this past week which detail aspects of how Microsoft’s Virtual Earth works, including roof-top overlays, virtual Earth images, real time driving information, user privacy, and community based recommendations.

I would have liked to have delved deeply into the intricate details of the patent applications, but used up most of my budgeted blogging time exploring the Via Virtual Earth community site I found which has some great articles on it about how to work with the Virtual Earth platform. I also spent too much time driving a sports car around the streets of San Francisco in a Virtual Earth Technology Preview. Unfortunately, the front and side level views didn’t work in some of the parts of the City that I wanted to explore. But, it was still a lot of fun.

There are some minor differences in the following patent applications, but also a considerable amount of overlap. If you would like to get a good insight into the mechanics of how this system works, and what features it may offer, you may want to skim through these.

Virtual earth rooftop overlay and bounding
Invented by Gur Kimchi and Leonard Smith
US Patent Application 20060238383
Published October 26, 2006
Filed: February 15, 2006

Abstract

Provided is a single repository for capturing, connecting, sharing, and visualizing information based on a geographic location, for example.

Detailed information of a structure or object information can be displayed on a rooftop or over an area of interest. The detailed information can be provided for a single structure or for each structure shown on a map area.

According to an embodiment is a system that facilitates surface overlay and bounding on a map. The system can include a receiver component that receives information for an object, a boundary component that ascertains a perimeter of the object, and a rendering component that selectively displays the object information and object on a map based in part on a user perspective.

The remaining patent applications all share the same abstract and the same inventors: Gur Kimchi, Amit Dekate, Ashok Kuppusamy, Steve Lombardi, Joseph Schwartz, Stephen L. Lawler, Alexander G.Gounares, and Raymond E. Endres

Obtaining and displaying virtual earth images
US Patent Application 20060238379
Published October 26, 2006
Filed: October 7, 2005

Real-time virtual earth driving information
US Patent Application 20060238382
Published October 26, 2006
Filed: January 19, 2006

Maintaining user privacy in a virtual earth environment
US Patent Application 20060238380
Published October 26, 2006
Filed: January 19, 2006

Virtual earth community based recommendations
US Patent Application 20060238381
Published October 26, 2006
Filed: January 19, 2006

Abstract

Provided is a single repository for capturing, connecting, sharing, and visualizing information based on a geographic location, for example.

Provided is a schema, repository, index, and APIs for any information, place, entity, attribute, service or person that can be referenced geographically.

A system to provide real time image data includes an input component that receives image data associated with a specific geographic area, a splitter component that splits the image data into at least two quadrants, and a storage component that stores at least a portion of the at least two quadrants.

Also provided is on-line or real-time advertising based on a user’s mapped location and/or a user preference.

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3 thoughts on “Microsoft Virtual Earth and Local Search Patent Applications”

  1. Thanks.

    That one came out about a year after I made this post, and it does describe an interesting aspect of Microsoft’s virtual earth.

    Here’s the US Patent Office Link:

    Oblique Image Stitching

    Joining seams in 3D imagery does seem to be filled with issues. It’s an interesting read.

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