The Windows Live Maps/Virtual Earth team has spent some serious time over the last few weeks implementing new features and changes. One of their latest changes is the addition of Birds Eye Coverage around the world using their Virtual Earth service. 

Yesterday they released a new version of Live Maps, and they say among the changes are bug fixes and performance improvements. Besides those changes, there’s a pretty big list of new features which they’ve posted on their blog. Below are some of the changes you’ll probably enjoy most:

  • Firefox Support for 3D mapping – If you’re using version 1.5 or later, you’ll now be able to use this feature. They’ve also added 16 new cities that will have 3D support available. Along with this change, cache performance and memory management has been improved.
  • Subscribe to collections via RSS – This new RSS feature will make it easy to keep track of changes to collections. For example, “if someone sends you a link to a collection of their favorite Italian restaurants in your city, you may want to subscribe to the collections’ feed to be kept up to date as the author adds more and more restaurants.”
  • Reviews and Ratings – This is definitely not a new concept here, but it’s nice that they implemented it.  You can read and write reviews of businesses, and rate them.
  • Area Calculations and Drawing Enhancements – Using drawing tools, you can draw a shape on the map (perhaps for your neighborhood, community, etc.), and then Live Maps will find the area of the shape that you drew.

Keep in mind that using the Virtual Earth 3D Mapping requires a quick installation and setup. It only takes a minute, and you only have to do it once.

They also say that V5 of Virtual Earth Map Control will be released soon and they’ll be introducing new features with that as well. Kudos to the Windows Live/Virtual Earth team for all of their hard work and great improvements.