Happy New Year to all you Virtual Earth for Public Sector blog readers!

I am pleased in my first entry of this new year to share some news of further adoption of Virtual Earth in the public sector.

MyNeighborhood Map (MNM) is the City of Seattle's public-facing mapping application displaying information on a neighborhood basis related to City services, Impacts on neighborhoods, and Statistical data.* The site was revamped from a 2006 custom-created ESRI ArcIMS and .NET based application to now use Microsoft Virtual Earth as its base map.

You can access it directly from the seattle.gov home page (in it's old location) or by http://web1.seattle.gov/mnm.*

The application continues to contain more than 50 City Services, Real Time 9-1-1 Impacts and SPD crime data in Statistics. In addition to using Microsoft Virtual Earth as the new platform, where click and drag is the order of the day, the City added some new functionality:

  • Below the Fold - you can now open or close this section to view "My Nearest" and Elected Officials - the information changes for both as you move the map.
  • My Nearest - by clicking on the address provided for any of the items in My Nearest, a push pin is placed on the map so you can see the exact location of the item.
  • Maps - Virtual Earth provides the choice of looking at it as a Road map, as an Aerial view, or a Hybrid of aerial with street names.
  • Zooming - You can double click on the map to zoom in or use the +/- .
  • Also, there are a total of nine (9) zoom levels, three more than the old map.
  • The center point of the map is marked with a "+".
  • Side panel - The layers and addresses panel side closes to provide a larger size map for viewing, but easily slides open again.

When you visit the site, to play with the layers in the side panel you will first need to designate an area of interest through the Select a Neighborhood drop down option. I chose downtown for the below screenshot.


The City of Seattle worked with Microsoft Virtual Earth Partners, IS Consulting (providers of MapDotNetServer) and Idea Integration for custom Oracle queries. In addition to Virtual Earth, the MNM application leverages the following technologies:*

  • C# .NET
  • .NET Framework 3.5
  • ASP.NET 2.0
  • SQL Server 2005
  • MapDotNetServer v6.5
  • AJAX
  • JavaScript
    • Script.aculo.us Library
  • Oracle Spatial
    • SDO_Geometry
    • PL/SQL
  • Custom Web Services built with SOAP
  • XML

My readers know that I am always boasting the ease of development that is inherent to the Virtual Earth platform ... the City of Seattle reports that the size of the team that created this application was just 4* ... 3 developers and a manager ... proving to them "that an application using multiple API's can be created efficiently and with great results."

It warms my heart to see government agencies increasingly leveraging the Virtual Earth platform to provide augmented citizen services sites that constituents are sure to find easier to use, given the web service model (requiring only an Internet-enabled PC and a browser) and the intuitive nature of Virtual Earth maps as a user interface.

-=Virtual Jerry

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