I have been a little derelict in my reporting, failing to cover a quite impressive Virtual Earth application that my brethren bloggers on the commercial side have already written about. I was holding off until after a scheduled demonstration of the app which has been postponed. It turns out this doesn't make for a great excuse because looking at the site, like most Virtual Earth based applications, it is so intuitive that anyone can quickly use it without explanation.
I am speaking about the Buckeye Traffic (www.buckeyetraffic.org) site that provides Ohio travelers with up-to-date information on road conditions, traffic, construction, and other activity affecting roadways managed by The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). Information provided by this site is updated frequently and comes from a variety of sources, such as pavement sensors and monitoring stations, traffic cameras, and through direct input by ODOT personnel.
Here is the legend for available data layers that can be displayed on the map. As you can see, there is a boat load of information for travelers to accurately assess driving conditions along their planned route!
For grins, I turned on every layer or "filter" as the site refers to them. Look at all the data on this map! When yo mouse over any of the map icons, an info box appears that provides details for that filter. In this instance, I chose a road and weather sensor icon and found that at this particular location the temperature is 20.8 degrees and there is an ice warning.
Because I am always impressed by real-time data displayed on a Virtual Earth map, particularly video or web cams, I next found a traffic cam to take a look at the congestion at that location. Looks like I caught someone jay-walking! The web cams refresh roughly every 5 seconds, and the window features a refresh button as well as an option to enlarge the camera image.
This is one you really will want to check out. It really takes advantage of the Virtual Earth platform to deliver a lot of value to users looking to get an accurate sense of driving conditions across the state. The site features a thorough Help section, complete with FAQs and "How To's" but it is really so intuitive and easy to use that you are unlikely to need that assistance. Even I managed quite quickly!
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