Chris Pietschmann

husband, father, hacker, entrepreneur, futurist, innovator, autodidact


Simplovation Web.Maps.VE v3.0 Now With FREE Edition!

Today, I just posted the latest Web.Maps.VE v3.0 release. The coolest thing about this new version is that is has a FREE Edition for non-commercial use! Download Web.Maps.VE v3.0 FREE Edition! There are a few new things in this latest release, but the most significant are the following performance updates: Microsoft CDN (Content Delivery Network) Support Added. This helps improve the Bing Maps content delivery speed by up to 82% JavaScript Performance Optimizations. All the JavaScript cod... [More]

Microsoft Killed the Virtual Earth ASP.NET Control

Yesterday, Chris Pendleton officially announced that the Microsoft Virtual Earth ASP.NET Control is now Dead. Frankly, I’ve considered it “dead” for a long time now since it didn’t get updated much, didn’t have a completely full feature support, has a few bugs AND you couldn’t use it within your applications because it was just a Preview (CTP) anyway. There are however a few good things to point out in the light of Microsoft killing its Virtual Earth ASP.NET ... [More]

Bing Maps Shapes (VEShape) to WKT (Well-Known-Text) and Back using JavaScript

One of the standard methods of representing geometric shapes is by using the WKT (Well-Known-Text) standard. This is a human readable standard method of representing geometric shapes that can be used to easily pass spatial data between applications. I know GML or GeoRSS may be a little more applicable since they are based on XML, but WKT can work just fine in some cases. If you don’t know what WKT is here are a couple links for reference: [More]

Prototype of VEToolkit + ASP.NET MVC 1.0 Component Checked In

I just checked in an initial prototype of a reusable Virtual Earth component for ASP.NET MVC. The “VEToolkit.Web.MVC.Map” component is written as an Extension to the ASP.NET MVC AjaxHelper class, and allows for a simpler experience when implementing Virtual Earth mapping within ASP.NET MVC applications. This is an early prototype of what the component will be; it’s not a final release; but you are free to use it. Download the latest Change Set of VEToolkit The code is subject to change at any ... [More]

Bing Maps Silverlight CTP: Using MouseClick Event To Add "Pushpins"

In previous tutorials I covered the “Basics of Adding Polygons and Polylines” and “Adding Media (Images, Video, etc.)”, but what about handling user input via Map Events? Well, in this tutorial I’ll cover the basics of working with the Map.MouseClick Event (equivalent of the old “onclick” event in the Virtual Earth JavaScript Control). This was written for the Bing Maps Silverlight CTP Release. Adding a MouseClick Event Handler In order to wire things up to manipulate the Map using the MouseC... [More]

I'm starting a Virtual Earth Developer Resource list

I just started a page at the below link that I'm lising a bunch of Virtual Earth Developer Resources that I know of. The reason I'm doing this is because there just aren't any really good lists of resources out there, and there are a TON of resources that you probably don't even know about. This isn't going to be an all inclusive list (that would be impossible), but I'll try to make it the best list of resources I can. Hope it helps some of you discover great content. ... [More]

Bing Maps Silverlight CTP: Overlay OpenStreetMap, OpenAerialMap and Yahoo Map Imagery using Custom Tile Layers!

UPDATE: I have written a newer version of this article to specifically target the latest Bing Maps Silverlight Control Version 1.0 Release. You can find the new article here: Display OpenStreetMap Imagery using Bing Maps Silverlight Control v1 In the “Using Tile Layers to Overlay Custom Map Imagery” article I showed you how to overlay your own Custom Map Imagery that you generated using the MapCruncher tool on top of the Map. Now, in this article I’ll show you what you need... [More]

Bing Maps Silverlight CTP: Using Tile Layers to Overlay Custom Map Imagery

One of the features that the Virtual Earth JavaScript Control has is the ability to add custom Tile Layers to overlay your own custom imagery over the map. The Virtual Earth Silverlight control also supports this feature. This was written for the Bing Maps Silverlight CTP Release. Before I begin to explain how to add custom Tile Layers to the Map it’s important to note that you can still use the MapCruncher tool to generate Map Imagery Tiles to be used with the custom Tile Layers. The specific... [More]

Bing Maps Silverlight CTP: Adding Media (Images, Video, etc.) to the Map

This was written for the Bing Maps Silverlight CTP Release. In the previous tutorial (“Basics of Adding Polygons and Polylines using XAML and Code”) I mentioned that there is no Pushpin Shape Type in the new Virtual Earth Silverlight Map Control SDK CTP. Instead, the Silverlight control has the flexibility of plotting/displaying anything (as long as it inherits from UIElement) you want at a specific Latitude/Longitude Coordinate. This opens up a ton of UI options that can be built to allow the ... [More]

CTP: Bing Maps Silverlight CTP: Basics of Adding Polygons and Polylines using XAML and Code

This was written for the Bing Maps Silverlight CTP Release. Now that we’re familiar with the basics of the Virtual Earth Silverlight Map Control SDK CTP (from my Getting Started with Virtual Earth Silverlight CTP tutorial), we’re ready to move on to adding Shapes (Polygons and Polylines). After all what use is a Virtual Earth Map Control without plotting some data on it. If you’re not familiar with how to get a Map displayed within a Silverlight Application, I really encourage... [More]

CTP: Getting Started with Bing Maps Silverlight CTP Map Control SDK

UPDATE: I have written a newer version of this article to specifically target the latest Bing Maps Silverlight Control Version 1.0 Release. You can find the new article here: Getting Started with Bing Maps Silverlight Control v1.0 It seems like forever since MIX’08 when a demo was shown of a new Silverlight-based Virtual Earth Map Control. Well, now FINALLY we actually have a version of the control to “play” around with. The reason I say “play” is because it&rsq... [More]

Virtual Earth Silverlight Control CTP Teaser and Some Initial Thoughts

Yesterday, the Virtual Earth Silverlight Control CTP (Community Technology Preview) was announced at MIX’09. I was also fortunate to get early access to the CTP, so I’ve been playing with it for a few days. I can’t show you any code yet (until it’s released publicly), but I can tell you a little about it for now. Once it’s released I’ll be posting some articles that range from Basic How-To to Implementing Some Cool Stuff; but you’ll have to wait a little bit for those. For now, here’s a little ... [More]

Bing Maps: Modify the Opacity of an Existing Custom Tile Layer

One of the features that the Custom Tile Layer functionality of the Virtual Earth JavaScript control is the ability to modify the Tile Layers Opacity after it's been added to the Map. It does include HideTileLayer and ShowTileLayer methods to dynamically toggle the display of Custom Tile Layers, but sometimes that's just not enough customization. However, I do have some good news, there is a small technique that you can use to modify the Tile Layer Opacity as necessary. How to Change Custom Til... [More]

VEToolkit: Virtual Earth Toolkit Open Source Project

A couple weeks ago I started the new VEToolkit (Virtual Earth Toolkit) Open Source project. This project spawns out of the need for more helpers to make Virtual Earth Map development much simpler, and follows inspiration from the Ajax Control Toolkit. This is a JavaScript library, so it's all client-side code; just like the Virtual Earth AJAX API itself. The project is also meant to play nicely with any client-side, JavaScript library you want to use within your application (such as jQuery, ... [More]

Virtual Earth 6.2 (Bing Maps) JavaScript Intellisense Helper Released

Today, "We" released a new updated version of the Virtual Earth JavaScript Intellisense Helper that is updated to support the brand new Virtual Earth v6.2. You can learn more about what's new in Virtual Earth v6.2 here: It appears that Mark beat me to blogging this release (which makes sense since he's the one that posted the final ZIP of the release): http://blo... [More]

Bing Maps: Polygon Search - Is Point Within Polygon?

Today, I found an article on MSDN that covers how to perform a polygon search to determine if a given Lat/Long point is within a given Polygon. I copied the logic for searching within the Polygon and made it more reusable than what is posted in the MSDN article, so I thought I'd post it here. if (GeoHelper == undefined) var GeoHelper = {}; GeoHelper.IsInPolygon=function(points,latlong) { // This code adapted from the following URL: // [More]

Plot ZipCode Boundaries on a Map: Part 2 - Import Zip Code (U.S. Census ZCTA) Data Into A Database

Now that we've Made Sense of the U.S. Census ZCTA ARC/INFO Ungenerate (ASCII) files in Part 1 of this series, we are ready to import the U.S Census ZCTA Zip Code data into a database. In Part 2, we'll create database tables and import the Zip Code Boundary data into those tables in a MS SQL 2005 database. Create SQL 2005/2008 Database Tables First lets create a couple database tables to hold all the Zip Code boundary data. One table will hold the ZipCodes, the other will hold all the Boundary Po... [More]

Plot ZipCode Boundaries on a Map: Part 1 - Making sense of U.S. Census ZCTA ARC/INFO Ungenerate (ASCII) files

One question that I get fairly oftern is "How do I plot Zip Code boundaries on a map?". Well, the answer isn't simple, well at least it hasn't been. So, I've decided to write a series of articles going through the steps needed to obtain Zip Code boundary data, makes sense of it and plot it on a map. I'm not sure how many parts this series will be, but it'll probably be at least 3. Where do I get Zip Cod Boundary Data From? There are a number of campanies that sell geocode data that includes Zip ... [More]

Virtual Earth Staging Environment Launched

The Virtual Earth team has officially launched their Virtual Earth Staging Environment. The staging environment allows you to access all the features of Virtual Earth (during development and testing) without incurring transaction costs against your production account. How do I access the Virtual Earth Staging Environment? Simple, just use the following url when you include the VE JavaScript Control in your page. Notice, the only change in the url is the "staging." in the beginning, otherwise the... [More]

Web.Maps.VE 2.0 Released - ASP.NET Virtual Earth Mapping Server Control

Today, I released Web.Maps.VE v2.0!! I had originally planned to release it on June 30th, but was able to reach that goal about 2 weeks early, so here we are. Web.Maps.VE v2.0 builds on top of the previous v1.0 release, and adds many new features. If you aren't familiar with Web.Maps.VE, it is the industries first ASP.NET Virtual Earth Mapping Server Control. It enables you (the developer) to implement MS Virtual Earth mapping into your ASP.NET web applications by writing only server-s... [More]

Bing Maps ASP.NET: Web.Maps.VE v1.0 Update, v2.0 Coming Soon

Today, I released the 8th update (v1.00.08) release to the Simplovation Web.Maps.VE v1.0 ASP.NET AJAX Virtual Earth Mapping Server Control. This control has come along way since the initial (v1.00.00) release last October. It greatly simplifies the implementation of Virtual Earth into any ASP.NET web application by enabling full server-side (.net, C#, VB.NET) control of the map, while eliminating the need to write javascript/jscript. Unless of course you want to write javascript; in which c... [More]

Virtual Earth: Get Center Lat/Long When In Birdseye or Oblique Map Style

One of the tricky things that you need to work around when programming Virtual Earth is the VEMap.GetCenter() method doesn't work when displaying the Birdseye or Oblique Map Style. I'm not exactly sure what the reasoning for this is, but this is one thing that I would like to see fixed in a future version. Luckily, there is an unsupported method of doing this. The code shown below gets the center Lat/Long coordinate for the BirdseyeScene being shown, not the actual center of the M... [More]

My Virtual Earth Interview on The Thirsty Developer podcast

A couple weeks ago, while attending the Heros Happen Here launch event in Milwaukee, I ran into Larry Clarkin who is co-host of The Thirsty Developer, and we recorded The Virtual Earth Edition episode that he just released today. In the podcast, I talk about how I got into Virtual Earth development, and give a good overview of the Virtual Earth product, among other things VE related, including the Virtual Earth JavaScript Intellisense Helper and my Web.Maps.VE product. Listen here: The Thir... [More]

Virtual Earth + ASP.NET AJAX Now Fixed in Safari

A couple months ago I blogged about the fact that using Virtual Earth and ASP.NET AJAX together on the same page caused errors in Safari. There is good new to report back, the latest update to Virtual Earth has fixed this issue. In fact Virtual Earth v6.1 actually includes much better Safari support that previous versions; it actually works correctly in Safari. I found this to be especially helpful since I can now support Safari with my Web.Maps.VE product. What's the catch? I can't... [More]