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MIX09 Day 3 – Silverlight, Virtual Earth, and Pigmaps

Day 3 of MIX09. I head to a few sessions, all of which are interesting.Don't Shag the Pinball Machine

Virtual Earth integration from Silverlight was the highlight. Once again a nice clean API allows developers to pick it up, with fully integrated customised maps in Silverlight developed faster than previously possible. Video and media asset integration, scaling/zooming/”deep zoomesque” capabilities, and the ability to feed in your own map data.

So how easy is it?  Well, first up you need the control DLL.  And once you’ve done that, you’ll need the following XAML…

<UserControl x:Class="MapControlInteractiveSdk.Tutorials.Tutorial1"
     xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
     xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"
     xmlns:m="clr-namespace:Microsoft.VirtualEarth.MapControl;
                assembly=Microsoft.VirtualEarth.MapControl"
>
   <Grid x:Name="LayoutRoot" Background="White">
     <m:Map />
   </Grid>
</UserControl>

BAM!  Map with controls in Silverlight in 3 seconds.  Even more impressive is all the small tweaks you can do in only a few lines of code.  Chris Pendleton has a wrap up and other posts over at the Virtual Earth Evangelist’s Blog, so check out further details.

Another session I found interesting was Pigmap. All I could ascertain is that the translated meaning behind the brand could probably translate to ‘cash cow’, and although the presentation had a lot to be desired, the Korean markets tend to push online community concepts many years before the western world picks them up.

Pigmap will be a social networking site.  It leverages Virtual Earth, flickr, and other services (OpenID, Live ID etc). To provide users with mapping, it searches Virtual Earth for certain locations and venues. So search for Las Vegas NV, and BAM, Las Vegas turns up on the map. But then type in ‘Venetian’ as a point of interest, and the platform searches Flickr for photos matching Venetian, grabs their geo coordinates, and drops thumbnails on the map (“The End of Theory” theory strikes again).

The questionable feature of the site is the ability to set “Missions” for people using the product. To be able to go “Dear X, I challenge you to go to this location” doesn’t really appeal to me, but “Dear X, you want to head here tonight?” might work, but many other services provide that functionality. Possibly Korea is too far ahead culturally with social networking that it zips over my head.

And that’s a wrap from MIX09. There is just so much more to talk about, and many of that will come with some of the posts that grow out of playing with the new toys. Head on over to the downloads page to grab your favourite preview/beta/CTP/SDK… and remember to check out the sessions at sessions.visitmix.com.

MIX oh-ten has been announced, and I’m excited to see where the designer and developer community has taken these tools by then. 

Catch you online when I land back in Australia. 

Don't Shag the Pinball Machine