Bing Maps Adds OpenStreetMap - Bing Maps Blog - Bing Community

Bing Maps Adds OpenStreetMap

August 02, 2010, 05:13 PM by Chris Pendleton | 17 Comments

Bing Maps Adds OpenStreetMapOpenStreetMap (OSM) is the newest layer for Bing Maps and the newest Bing Map App in the gallery. The map app, dubbed simply, “OpenStreetMap” loads OSM maps as a new map style option. OpenStreetMap follows a similar concept as Wikipedia, but for maps and other geographic facts (despite its name, it's by no means only limited to streets and roads). A community of map lovers and developers gather location data across the globe from a variety of sources such as recordings from GPS devices, from free satellite imagery or simply from knowing an area very well, for example because they live there. This information then gets uploaded to OpenStreetMap's central database from where it can be further modified, corrected and enriched by anyone who notices missing facts or errors about the area.

Bing Maps Adds OpenStreetMap

Users can still perform searches atop of the OSM map layer. Once the OSM Maps are rendered, users will find the OSM map option listed in the map types so if you switch to Bird’s Eye or some other native Bing map types, you can easily return to the OSM map style. Of note, we are using the Mapnik map style from OSM (one of the many map styles available to open source users) to create our OSM map type. People love the details you see?

We’ve taken the OSM data as is and are pumping it through our Windows Azure CDN (see my quotes in the recent Windows Azure Case Study, Mapping Service Increases Performance by 80 Percent with Global Data Center Network). This means, pure OSM data coming down at screaming fast speeds from the massive Windows Azure infrastructure built out to support globally distributed applications…like Bing Maps.

And, now, you can get all the benefits right in Bing Maps! Juicy.

Follow me @BingMaps, ^CP



Chris Pietschmann

Posted On August 02, 2010, 06:14 PM

Does this mean we can use the MS Azure CDN hosted OpenStreetMap imagery with the JavaScript and Silverlight Bing Maps for Enterprise controls?


Posted On August 02, 2010, 08:25 PM

Big fan here of Bing Maps but why in the world did you change the color muted colors/low contrast.  It is more difficult to make out highways, water features, parks, etc.  Am I missing something.


Posted On August 02, 2010, 08:45 PM

@Chris, awesome! Can't wait to try it out!

@JohnCZ, sir, you are missing something. This is using map tiles from a completely different maps site (namely Open Streetmap). The colour scheme is different because it is the Open Streetmap colour scheme.

You won't see the Open Streetmap tiles unless you opt in to them, though. The Bing Maps tiles|colours are still the default.


Posted On August 02, 2010, 10:48 PM

@JohnCZ, sorry, I now see what you were saying. The Bing Maps colour theme indeed has changed.

@Chris, why no mention of the dynamic map style, or did I miss a previous blog post? I've been waiting for you guys to do this since v.1 of Virtual Earth. Is the dynamic map only available with road map style for now? I've always thought that it would be optimally efficient to just beam down the vector labels once and be able to overlay them over any of the map styles. The first release of Silverlight Bing Maps did appear to at least separate the labels into a separate .PNG layer of tiles, but having vector labels is one step closer to Google Earth and even the Seadragon demos that Blaise used to give from a few years back.

I have to say that I infinitely prefer aerial and bird's eye to road map and I look forward to having clickable vector labels overlaid on them soon as well.

Chris Pendleton

Posted On August 02, 2010, 10:57 PM

@Chris - No. While technically feasible, we don't have license for this.

@Nathaniel - This is what we call a viral marketing campaign. All your questions will be answered in my post tomorrow morning. :)


Pete R

Posted On August 02, 2010, 11:00 PM

Considering how unreliable the OSM tileservers have been, I'm glad that I can access the OSM tiles via Bing.

However how often will the tiles be refreshed?  As the OSM database is constantly being updated.

PS for the life of me I can't figure out how to find this layer.  I'm thinking I need to be running windows and silverlight?


Posted On August 02, 2010, 11:02 PM

@Chris, are you using JPEG to store the road tiles in dynamic tiles? I see a lot of what appears to be compression artifacts? I can understand using JPEG for the aerial and bird's eye tiles, but wouldn't using PNG for the road map tiles result in both lower filesize and cleaner display?


Posted On August 02, 2010, 11:14 PM

@Pete R, You need to have Silverlight 4 installed, but you could be using a modern (Intel) Mac. Just visit this link:

If you're running Linux, Novell's Moonlight (open source Silverlight) team is unfortunately too small to keep up with the rapid release schedule of Silverlight, so compatibility lags about a year behind what Silverlight is up to and in this case will keep Linux users from enjoying the fancy version of Bing Maps.

If you're using an iPhone or iPad, Apple has banned all browser plugins and other browsers like Opera, Firefox, and Chrome, so Silverlight is effectively locked out. The Bing app for iPhone|iPad may expose the Open Street Map layer eventually, but if you're using Bing Maps Ajax or Bing Maps 3D, there may not be any way to expose the OSM layer (yet).

John Bradson

Posted On August 02, 2010, 11:40 PM

Thanks Chris for sharing information about this application of Maps.


Gregory Marler

Posted On August 03, 2010, 02:04 AM

As I thought, the use of OpenStreetMap is well hidden and even requires downloading/installing extra software that only works on Windows and modern Macs. How do you get to it?  Maps then click "Go to Bing in USA" then you have the option "Get More from Bing Maps/Try it Now" which finally is a version with a Map Apps button. Or go to this blog post and see the link in a comment (not the actually blog post).

Once you get to see OpenStreetMap as used by Bing, you can't send a link of the area you're looking at to someone else (a permalink as it's often called).

Thanks for telling us you find OpenStreetMap cool, but it seems you don't want to tell anyone else. I'll be sticking to looking at

Gregory Marler

Posted On August 03, 2010, 02:08 AM

How can I give a link to people to show them an area of interest on Bing Maps using the OpenStreetMap style? Normally I use the permalink or shortlink on 'other' map websites, such as


Posted On August 03, 2010, 03:07 AM

@gregory marler

1) The permalink icon is on the lower left corner. Look for the envelope icon.

2) The link directly to the OpenStreetMap app is the second link in the blog post.

3) The Silverlight version of Bing Maps is simply located at It isn't any more complicated than that.


Posted On August 03, 2010, 04:37 AM

You may see a Silverlight Bing Maps Control application which uses the standard OSM tile server in a custom tile source implementation here:  - Choose OSM Map under the Maps menu)

We see varying performance degradations when using OSM as the basemap.  


Posted On August 03, 2010, 12:31 PM

Very nice to see some of my mapping used in this way.

Comment one - I note that some detail I've mapped isn't shown.  For example Florist, they show in Maperitive with the appropiate rule set, if the detail is present you could add in a few more icons.

Comment two - its nice to see the footpaths on the map especially the cut throughs for the bus stops.

Charlemagne / Tenth Line Road Ottawa is typically where I map.

Comment three - Works beautifully in Firefox but I got a unspported browser message when using IE 8 64 bit, something to do with Silverlight.

Cheerio John


Posted On August 03, 2010, 07:11 PM

@johnwhelan, Yep. Use IE8 32-bit.

Most web plugins on Windows are only 32-bit, meaning they only want to work within 32-bit IE - regardless of what version of IE you're using.

The following article is over a year old at the time of my posting this comment, but it contains some of the philosophy coming from the man in charge of Silverlight's future direction:


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