A couple days ago, Microsoft released Virtual Earth v5.0. So, what's new?

Improved Support for Feature Cusomization

  • **Virtual Earth Shapes** - Easily customize and modify pusphins, polylines and polygons with the new Virtual Earth Shape class. Customize line colors, widths and transparencies of shapes, as well as add custom icons.
  • **Info Boxes** - Shapes now have associated info boxes which can be shown and hidden as a response to user actions (e.g. clicking on the shape). The info box text and text style are completely customizable.
  • **Find Method** - More customizable find method integrates the new Shape class to find locations and businesses easier than before.
  • **Keyboard and Mouse Events** - Override almost any keyboard or mouse event, and use it to execute any Virtual Earth map action.

Rich End-User Experience

  • **Bird's Eye Panning **- Pan continuously across the map in bird's eye view.
  • **Tile Over-fetching** - Programmatically enable tile downloading to either increase panning performance or optimize page load time.
  • **Small Navigation Controls** - New options for end users to customize the interface by utilizing two new options for smaller navigation controls.
  • **Mini Map** - The mini map provides a small map legend, giving the user better bearings as they navigate.
  • **Compressed Map Control **- The map control code base is now compressed, reducing the initial download size to around 25% of the original download.
  • **Programmatic Market Selection** - Localized market support, beginning with Japan, which is now supported in the Virtual Earth API

New Level of Control and Flexibility

  • **Pushpins, Polylines and Polygons** - Once seperately-coded objects, the new Virtual Earth shapes are now richer and easier to customize. Move shapes on the fly, show and hide them programmatically, and give them custom icons using your own image or your own HTML.
  • **GeoRSS Imports** - Import pushpins, polylines and polygons using the GeoRSS feed, which is becoming the de facto standard.
  • **Info Boxes **- Shapes can now store HTML and CSS content for custom info boxes, which can be shown or hidden programmatically.
  • **Shape Layers** - New and improved shape management capabilities allow grouping of pushpins, polylines and polygons. Show or hide a group of shapes, or make changes to the individual shapes within them.
  • **Find Method** - Easily customize search results with the updated find method which sends the resulting pushpins directly to a shape layer.
  • **Tile Layers** - The tile layer interface, used for adding, deleting, showing, and hiding tile layers, is now more straightforward and easier to use.

So much to do, oh my!

As you can see from the fairly decent list of changes made from v4 to v5, I have a bit of work to do on my PietschSoft.VE ASP.NET AJAX Virtual Earth Mapping Server Control. I wasn't even finished with fully implementing v4 yet, and now they've blind sighted me with v5.

I just have to keep on coding…