As you may have noticed already, as I have gotten a few comments, URLs that used to lead to MapPoint Web Service information on www.microsoft.com now redirect to a site branded as Virtual Earth. What's up? Did we change the name of the MapPoint Web Service? Is this a new version? It is much more simple than that actually:
We are combining our two primary services components, Virtual Earth Map Control and MapPoint Web Service, under a single brand, the Virtual Earth platform, for a number of reasons.
The primary reason for doing this today is to more clearly show that they are complimentary components in a complete location service offering. Together they give you visualization tools for the rich browser environment down to the mobile phone, spatial services for geo-coding and routing in about 30 countries and powerful proximity search, data processing and hosting services, and reporting.
As a side benefit, we also hope this subtle change will reduce confusion between the MapPoint 2004/2006 CD products and the MapPoint Web Service over time.
So, what does this mean for you as a developer? Diddly squat really. The MapPoint Web Service 4.1 is still the most current version, with recently updated data and features in CSR2 rolling out now. You can still develop on the SOAP APIs and/or use the Map Control. You will find the same great information on MSDN and ViaVirtualEarth. This is mostly a marketing change to highlight the platform's richness.
Over time, as we release new components and updated versions of existing ones, you will see more parts to the Virtual Earth platform come together. We have a great deal more information to add to the new Virtual Earth site, so check back often for more details on features, coverage, solutions, partners and more.