New Bing Maps experiences: distance calculator, gas prices and parking finder
Let’s take a little trip. It’s raining in Seattle today (surprise, surprise), so we decided to go to San Diego for the weekend as the weather should be nicer there. The first thing we want to do is determine the distance between Seattle and San Diego, as well as find nearby gas stations with a simple map experience. We’ve heard the road is beautiful, especially along the Oregon coast, so let’s calculate the driving distance using the Bing Maps distance calculator.
Calculation of distances
Bing Maps Distance Calculator App will generate the distance between two places on the map. Enter “Seattle” in the “Add a place” box in the left navigation. You will see it added to the list below the input box. Then enter “San Diego”. There are several places in the world called San Diego, so select “San Diego, CA” in the disambiguation list box.
At each entry, a flag is placed on the map and, after selecting San Diego, a distance calculation starts and calculates the distance for one or more routes. So, next to the direction arrow icon, you’ll see how many miles to drive, transit, or walk from Seattle to San Diego (you can also switch to kilometers).
As you might expect, the distance calculator app allows users to change map settings. Using “Add Destination” will allow you to add points of interest along the way and you can rearrange them and the route will be recalculated. You can also click and drag the route itself to take different routes as you see fit.
Click on the “Go” button and the map will calculate the fastest distance from Seattle to San Diego. There is also a route line drawn on the map to represent driving directions. We can now add a stop to say, Newport, OR to visit the Aquarium on the Oregon Coast. Before adding this stop, we could see that there were around 1255 miles to take the westernmost coastal route versus 1268 miles for the inland route, so it was an easy choice! We can now also decide if it is worth adding Newport, OR as it extends the distance to 1366 miles.
Moving the endpoints will not only change the destination (or origin), but it will also reverse the geocoding of the location (estimate the address where you moved the pin). We could also add stops on our trip by just typing with another location in the box – like Phoenix, AZ. Distance Calculator Map app will add sum of all points as result. So now driving from Seattle to Vegas is about 1,247 miles and driving to Phoenix is 1,541 miles.
The list of locations provides the calculation next to the destination of the previous stop, so now we can see the distance from Seattle to Vegas and from Vegas to Phoenix, in addition to the entire trip. It should be noted that the options at the top right also offer Dark road, Aerial and Streetside modes.
However, the idea was to drive along the coast, so let’s take the road from Seattle to San Diego and calculate the cost of gas using the Gas Prices Map app.
The Gas Price Map feature is pretty self explanatory – it finds gas prices within a 5 mile radius of where you are looking. It also serves as a gas station finder app. So we’ll take a closer look at the start of our Seattle itinerary and find the nearest gas station with the best price. Because we can have two map applications running simultaneously in different browser pages, we can always see our route from Seattle to San Diego on the map. This allows us to see where these gas stations are in relation to our route. So while Union 76 is $5.90 a gallon there is a Shell station that is $5.52 a gallon and that’s a significant difference of 38 cents a gallon so it pays to shop around before you go .
Starting the Gas Price Map app loads all gas stations as soon as you request it; it’s as fast as the Distance Calculator app because they’re all supported by Bing Places and Bing Maps. You will notice brand icons on the left navigation panel with name, address and price information per station as well as pins on the map. Clicking on any of the pins will bring up a caption that will give you the same information, along with the last date and time the information was updated. There is also a link to get directions from Bing Maps. Clicking on one of the gas stations found in the app’s left navigation will re-center the map on the corresponding gas station.
Very well! So, we decided to drive, we filled up and we were on our way. After enjoying the beautiful Pacific coastline, we arrive in San Diego and head to the waterfront. Now we need a parking space to let the car cool off and enjoy the cool breeze from the ocean. Enter the Parking Finder Map application.
The Distance Calculator application will take us to our destination, and now we will have to find a place to park safely. The Parking finder map app helps users find a place to park their car. There is so much more, however! The Parking Finder Map application uses contextual commercial information, just like the Gas Prices Map application.
Before you even select a parking lot by clicking on the corresponding pin on the map, you will get a list with contextual information such as the address, hours and a phone number to the left of the map. Hovering over each “P” pin can also get information about the type of lot, like outdoor parking and self-parking, and the types of payment they accept if that information is available. Getting there is as easy as finding gas stations in a map app.
The app uses the Bing Maps One-Click Directions feature to calculate directions to the respective lot. Simply click the link, select your current location as the starting point, and the route will be calculated for you with step-by-step directions in Bing Maps.
How to get there – Isochrone API
Distance-per-time features are powered by versatility Isochronous PLC – Here’s how it works. Rather than using a distance circle to narrow the area to search, drive-time polygons represent answers to “Where can I get to in less than 30 minutes by car, on foot, or by public transit?”. Think of any large city with a river running through it. The places on the other side of the river are physically close but are actually more difficult to access because you have to find a bridge to cross and the isochrones take this into account. Because of this, isochrones completely change the way we think about calculating distances and travel times from point A to point B. In fact, the Bing Maps isochrone API also supports multiple stops if you plan a longer trip or plan to use multiple transit routes. . This is achieved through the use of isolines polygons which provide a quick view of how far you can travel in a given time, or vice versa.
This is especially useful for car travelers who use a map app to find nearby gas stations within a limited travel distance because their fuel consumption is low. Alternatively, this feature can be useful for electric vehicle users who plan trips around charging stations taking into account range constraints. Support for multiple modes of transportation, including walking, driving, and public transit, means you’ll always have a tool you can use to get around, even in an emergency.
To learn more about the Isochrone API, see our LinkedIn Customer Story! The LinkedIn team used location intelligence, Isochrone API, and other intuitive mapping features to provide users with the ability to visualize potential routes when looking for a job. Developers can use this API to turn simple gas station finder apps into geolocation solutions with distance calculation and other features. See a live demo of the Isochrone API with sample code at examples.bingmapsportal.com.
Find gas and park with location intelligence
The difference between a good mapping app and a great one is location intelligence. The ability to add local information to your maps can completely revamp the user experience – and that’s exactly what gas finder and parking apps do. Bing Maps API location intelligence uses geolocation to provide users with relevant contextual information for a given location. Whether it’s gas stations, restaurants or hotels, location intelligence makes every step of the journey easier.
Likewise, you can plan ahead by getting a street side view potential gas stations found on the map. This is accomplished with the Bing Maps API high resolution collection location data. Aerial imagery allows users to get a bird’s-eye view of various attractions and points of interest, while even more curious travelers can switch to a street-side view for a close-up.
Distance calculation, gas prices and parking finder apps are just a taste of what you can do with the full range of Bing Maps API Features. Users can add multiple stops to their route, favorite locations for future visits, and view real-time traffic data, all in the same app.
So there you have it – a quick weekend getaway from Seattle along the beautiful Pacific Coast to spend time in San Diego, all powered by Bing Maps. Although we’ll probably hit Bing Travel fly home and have the car sent back since more than 20 hours of driving is enough for us.
Calculating distances is just the start with the Bing Maps API. Use it to manage and automate multiple routes or geocode hundreds of locations simultaneously. Create a key today to start.