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Posted on September 14th, 2012

Free For All – Bing Maps Imagery Date Finder

Have you ever been on Bing Maps and wondered, “What is the date of the imagery in this location?” Well I know I definitely have and according to the maker of the Bing Aerial Imagery Analyzer, Martijn van Exel, there is now a way to find these dates out. The Bing Aerial Imagery Analyzer is a slick API that lets you zoom in and out and then shows the ‘known’ date of the imagery – by tiles – that is currently loaded in Bing Maps.

While we all use applications like Bing Maps and Google Earth in the daily course of our jobs and/or studies, we should recognize them for what they are, i.e. ways to advertise to us and GIS-lites. We should also recognize them for what they are not, i.e. an imagery gathering application with 100% correct metadata. The reason I bring this up is that there will certainly be errors with the imagery dates in this application; and this is even addressed in this blog by the maker. That said, if you know the limitations up front, this is still a pretty slick application!

The screengrab above is taken from the Bing Aerial Imagery Analyzer from an area just southwest of Colorado Springs, Colorado. If you look closely at this screengrab, you will notice that some tiles have date ranges from 2001 to 2011 – in locations such as this, you should be suspect as to the quality of the metadata. After poking around this application, it seems that the most inaccurate dates are associated with the zooms that show large areas as opposed to the close-in zooms.

Until my next edition of Free For All!, happy hunting for free GIS data!

Brock Adam McCarty

Map Wizard

(720) 470-7988

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