I'm sitting in a session on Web Mashups at VSLive! Orlando. Speakers are Ken Levy, the new product planner for Windows Live and Steve Milroy, a Virtual Earth Tech Consultant at Microsoft.

Steve just did a demo of MapCruncher, an application from Microsoft Research that was just announced yesterday [MapCruncher Announcement]. MapCruncher allows you to easily create and add custom maps/data layers to your VE enabled applications. Since VSLive is taking place at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, in Orlando, Steve illustrated the utility of MapCruncher by loading a VE map of the Swan Hotel, side by side with a custom map layer (the finished product), a color brochure entitled "Magic Kingdom". He then created a set of geo-coded and numbered "pushpins" on the VE map, depicting the location of various attractions at Disney World and synchronized them with the color brochure layer. You can imagine distributing the color map to Disney World visitors for use on their Windows SmartPhones, Treos, and PocketPCs, enabling them to navigate Disney World as they would with a paper map, drill into a specific pushpin for more detailed information, and even generate an optimized walking route based upon their current location. Very cool. Next Step: display the precise geo-location of my daughter on the map...

You can download MapCruncher here.
Learn more on the Virtual Earth, developer blog (subscribe).