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DeepEarth Toolkit - focus of this project?

Nov 11, 2009 at 2:48 AM

I'm after some feedback. When we started this project we built the first MSI based map control for Silverlight.

With the release of the Microsoft Bing Maps Silverlight control there is a great supported base map control with many of the harder bugs solved and some awesome additional features. Add to this the new licensing terms that pretty much mean that developers can use it for free for small sites I don't see a future for the DeepEarth core map control. However as a toolkit of controls to use ontop of Bing Maps control it is awesome.

I propose that we archive the legacy parts, drop the complex multi map control support architecture and simple become an awesome toolkit of controls for Bing Maps.

Each control would be a single project, easy to understand and include in Blend or VS. Still have some common helpers and a pattern to follow.

I'm keen to get a release of the best of these controls out this year.

Nov 11, 2009 at 7:53 AM

What about other tilesources.. Does the Bing Maps V1 release allow for setting the base map to null and using it with other tilesources (say, openstreetmap), for free?

Nov 11, 2009 at 8:18 AM

Bing Maps V1 supports other tile sources in the Mercator projection and also flat maps, it may even be possible to create other projections.

However it is not free under all circumstances:

License link

Developers at all types of organizations can use the Bing Maps Platform for free, under the following conditions:

Use is on public-facing, non-password protected Web sites
Limit of 125,000 sessions or 500,000 transactions in a 12 month period

125,000 sessions would cover most personal websites / demos etc.

I know I have said in the past I would like to cut DeepEarth map control back to be a really light weight free and open map control. I can garrentee that all other controls will get bloated with functionlaity. I certainly don't have the time to keep it competitive with MSFT, IDV and ESRI's controls.

Nov 11, 2009 at 4:13 PM

OpenStreetMaps seems to be glowing exponentially.  I just founld DeepEarth because I was looking for a .NET/Mono OpenStreetMaps solution.  Maybe a focus towards OpenSteetMaps is worth a consideration?

Nov 11, 2009 at 6:37 PM

So the focus will gear towards supporting only Bing Maps? One of the feature that made DeepEarth interesting was that it provided a way to switch Map Providers easily. I know that this is a powerful feature especially when making business decisions, feedback from some of my clients are quite positive because of this. Futhermore, I wanted to use BingMap for one of my project and hence tested out on BingMaps' Geocoding service, unfortunately it was far from satisfactory (Microsoft also confirmed that certain locations are not god enough even though the website stated otherwise when I checked) so I had to try google, and that worked. Bottom line, my opinion is that keeping options open is good especially for open source projects.

Nov 11, 2009 at 9:41 PM

The feedback I've had is that this project is a little confusing at the moment, I think we are too broad. Are we just another map control? I don't think it is clear that we have tools that let you render SQL2008 geography data directly on Bing Maps. It is very powerful to have your data in SQl2008 rendering to a slick Silverlight control embedded in Sharepoint, but you'd never guess this was possible from our front page.

The major issue with the "Map Providers" is you have to license the data, for Bing this is now free for small sites if you use their control, Google won't let you use the tiles at all.

I like OpenStreetMap and I love open source, how about we make it really clear and have two distinct parts to the project:

  1. "DeepEarth Map Control", all demos using OSM (no tokens) and other free tile providers.
  2. "DeepEarth Bing Maps Toolkit", requires the Microsoft control.

Even though I spent an enormous amount of time creating the control architecture to allow us to build a common control and then impliment for a specific map it is not practical. The couple of people that have had a go at creating a control here have found it challenging. Additionally having to include two dlls for each control is a little painful for adoption. I think people would understand a single common dll and then one dll per control as this makes it easy for us to seperate the work. Ideally in a release it should just be one dll.

thanks for your feedback, please do ask any questions you have here.

Nov 11, 2009 at 10:29 PM

For me at least, the biggest hurdle to date in developing online mapping applications has not been the programming platform, but the high start-up costs MS & Google want.  As soon as you start putting users personal data on a passworded account, then you have to pay a lot of money up front.

However, now the tables have been turned.  OpenStreetMaps is good enough now for at least two of my projects.  Better in fact.  The start-up costs are gone, but now the software platform is lacking.  DeepEarth looks to be the only option right now (and I have yet to try it with OpenStreetMaps), but the Bing control would not work for me due to the licensing issue.  I am sure I am not alone.

Nov 11, 2009 at 11:01 PM

I am with TanakaJones. Originally I was using the Silverlight Bing Maps CTP, but yesterday I received an email saying the CTP would be shut off december 31st. The V1 requires you to authenticate for any use, including custom tiles, which Microsoft charges per session. Because of this I am switching to DeepEarth.

I think the DeepEarth project will start getting a lot of attention because of this licensing prohibition of Microsoft's control, and I am very happy that it exists. I hope the DeepEarth control will continue to be developed.

Nov 11, 2009 at 11:15 PM

Glad to hear your comments.  It has been almost a year since I've pulled back from DeepEarth work. My interest has always been on the core map and given this direction DeepEarth has been heading, I am considering starting another branch.  This branch would focus specifically on the core.  I think there is still much that can be done. 

Nov 11, 2009 at 11:32 PM

I'm more then happy to co-ordinate some efforts here but my personal projects are around the Bing Maps control. I'm really glad I started this thread and glad to see that the DeepEarth control does indeed have a future.

Rick, are you happy to take charge of the Core DeepEarth map control? You have already done so much for it beofre you pulled back.

We could have two purposely seperate folders at the root of the project, I think there are benifits in having the two parts under the same project here at codeplex.

  • DeepEarth has been widely used for POCs and get reasonable traffic here. With some publicity around a toolkit for Bing Maps this traffic will increase.
  • Bing Maps developers using a toolkit may need to use the DeepEarth map control for a project where licensing is an issue
  • DeepEarth users needing a commerically supported control may want to use the Microsoft control, familar set of controls for them.

In summary I'm not happy with the complexity of the project solution at the moment, I think we need to make it uber simple for someone to contribute a toolkit control even if this means a bit of duplicate code (DeepEarth Coordinate panel and a Bing Maps Coordinate panel).

Nov 12, 2009 at 8:12 AM

I would be willing to chip in my efforts as well because DeepEarth Project have good synergies with the work I am doing. I am not a GIS/Mapping expert (yet) but I think I am pretty proficient with writing codes.

 

Nov 13, 2009 at 1:08 AM

RE: new Bing Maps control. I just found out that if you use the MapCore control and your own tileproviders then no AppID is required. It appears to be unrestricted use. You loose the tools but get all the base functionlaity. I'd have to read the full terms of use but maybe MSFT is being helpful here :)

eg:

    public class MyMap : MapCore
    {
        public MyMap()
        {
            base.Mode.SetView(new Location(), 2.0, 0.0, 0.0, false);
            base.Mode = new MercatorMode();
        }
    }
Nov 13, 2009 at 4:09 AM

Ok this is very grey. Terms of Use say you can't use the Bing with other maps. I'll try to get this clarified.

So.....

I'll make a clean seperation of two branches of code. I would be looking for someone to put their hand up and take charge of the core map control. My focus is very much on the Toolkit side, I simply do not have enough spare time to do both.

Thanks again for everyone's input.

Nov 16, 2009 at 11:36 PM

I think that it must be considered a real fact: for some regions on Earth (in my case Bucharest, and generaly speaking Romania), Bing and Google Maps are useless because of the street layer that is for some zones more that 5 year old. By contrary OpenSteet is updated on weekly or monthly basis.

 

thnx

 

Nov 17, 2009 at 12:36 AM

Thanks net4u.

Interesting that a new product has been launch in my home country of Australia called: http://www.nearmap.com/

Offering very recent (last month) ultra high resolution aerial photography of Australia's major cities under a creative commons license for most scenarios. They are using OSM for road data and even providing their images to OSM to improve the coverage here. The imagery is better then Google and Bing and much more current. I wonder if this is the start of something to shake up the whole industry worldwide?