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Microsoft throws 270TB of Bird's Eye imagery at Bing Maps

Not to be outdone by Google, Microsoft has some maps news of its own to share.

The Redmond-based company has announced that it has added its largest-ever batch of Bird's Eye imagery to Bing Maps — nearly 270TB of data, or the equivalent of 100,000 DVDs. Microsoft has also bolstered its maps service with expanded venue imagery, and a new way to report problems.

Microsoft's Bird's Eye imagery is captured at a 45-degree angle, giving photos more depth and a three-dimensional look. To date, Microsoft has published a total of 1,452,958 sq km, or half a petabyte of data, of Bird's Eye scenes from around the world.

The new Bird's Eye imagery is available for a number of destinations, including: Kaanapali, Hawaii; Melbourne, Australia; Tokyo, Japan; Tampere and Kuopio, Finland; Milan, Pescara, and Rome, Italy; and Stavanger and Ringerike, Norway.

Besides that, Microsoft also expanded its venue maps, which provide detailed imagery illustrating popular points of interest like shopping centres, zoos, airports and amusement parks.

With the expansion, Bing now has more than 4,700 venue maps in more than 59 countries. These maps are useful because they can help users navigate their way around popular destinations right from their Windows phone, tablet, or PC — instead of having to go around searching for an information desk.

To view venue maps, head over to Bing Maps within a zoom level of 1,000 feet and you'll see purple and green shapes appear to outline particular points of interest. Green shading is designated for restaurants, and purple is for shops. Click on any of the coloured shapes and a directory will appear with a full list of points of interest, as well as options to visually explore additional floors of the venue.

Meanwhile, mapping the world is a difficult task, so there's bound to be some issues. Microsoft has therefore added a new feature to Bing Maps that easily lets users report a problem. All you have to do is click on the point of interest in question and tap "report and problem."

The update comes hot on the heels of Apple's announcement that Bing search will be integrated into its Siri voice assistant with iOS 7.

In other maps news, meanwhile, Google has officially announced its acquisition of the crowd-sourced traffic app Waze. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but earlier reports tipped the purchase at $1.3 billion (£831 million).