The folks at Starbucks just made it a whole lot easier to find their stores. They've added some new ways to find their stores as well as filters to find different types of stores and ammenities at those stores using Virtual Earth version 6 no less than 2 weeks after the release. Okay, they had some inside help....:-)
Go to Starbucks.com and click "Our Stores" to see the new functionality powered by both Virtual Earth and MapPoint Web Service. You'll notice 3 tabs across the top - Find Store, Find Route and Find Event. Since Find Store is the default, we'll start there. You can put in a whole host of information in this text box - anything from full addresses to just a postal code. You can also put landmarks like "Space Needle" or "Grand Canyon" - there actually is a Starbucks in a nearby Safeway. :) There are filters for limiting your search. You simply need only check the boxes for the filters you want in place. For example, if you only want drive-thru locations (awesome when on the road or a screaming child in the back seat) you check the box adjacent to the "Drive Through Window" box and only drive-thru locations will appear. I think my favorite filter is the "Coming Soon" checkbox. I love to know where Starbucks is going to be next so I can plan to buy a house nearby or open a complimentary restaurant like P.B Loco...but, I digress. The categories include Wireless Hotspot Available, Drive Through Window, Oven-Warmed Food, iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, Airport Stores, and Coming Soon. Once your search is complete you get a map of pushpins that appear on the map in different colors. Ie. Starbucks stores show up green and Coming Soon stores appear in gray. For the Coming Soon stores it would be nice to see when they plan to open, but maybe they have reasons for not stating. Once you see the map you can check the box for events! Now we're getting additional interesting layer of information for events at Starbucks such. I couldn't find any in Seattle, Dallas or Los Angeles but I'm assuming they're out there somewhere. In order to not bore you, I'm gonna bullet point list it from here:
In any case, the new Starbucks locator is certainly a showcase of mapping functionality for others to follow. Now, I need some diesel.