New Map Features in Windows Phone 8

New Map Features in Windows 8

The Windows 8 SDK is pointing to some tantalising improvements to the maps functionality. Specifically maps will now support overlaying Landmarks, in this example, a 3d transparent building and pedestrian features. The pedestrian feature show in the example seems to be that of stairs.

3d buildings New Map Features in Windows 8

As well as that the documentation makes reference to a range of Cartographic modes that can be used, it also looks like it’s now possible to pitch the maps along with that:-

  • Road : displays the normal, default 2-D map
  • Aerial : displays an aerial photographic map.
  • Hybrid : displays an aerial view of the map overlaid with roads and labels.
  • Terrain : displays physical relief images for displaying elevation and water features such as mountains and rivers.

Light Dark New Map Features in Windows 8

Where once there was light, now there is dark...

Pitch control Maps New Map Features in Windows 8

Pitch of map view now available - rejoice! 

If that weren’t enough you can now have either light or dark mode maps. This looks to be similar to how Nokia drive works in Night Mode currently. Looks like maps is going to get a nice boost in Windows Phone 8. The features detailed above alone will put the standard mapping technology up a level. Hopefully the feature set of maps goes beyond this to include streetview and streetside but even as it is, this will mean it’s just as capable as something like google earth or similar products currently available on a desktop from Nokia and Microsoft.



Beyond these new features, it looks as though developers will now be able to download maps for offline use in their apps. Thanks to Jay B for the tip.

What do you folks think of the details revealed so far? You know more? Let us know? Get in those comments! 


Reader comments

New Map Features in Windows Phone 8


Is it drive, maps, transit rolled into one? I really font want to use so many map apps for slightly different things.

No. According to a Nokia representative I talked with recently, these will remain seperate apps. However, Nokia will unify things behind the scenes. For example, if you download an offline map for Nokia Drive, all of these apps (Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive, Nokia Transport) will have access to it. Nokia beleives the requirements for each of these apps are too different as to allow consolidating them into a single app.

"New managed APIs coming to Windows Phone 8 Developer Preview include a new map control powered by Nokia maps and a wallet API for storing payment methods and enabling NFC-based payments."

Nokia maps

The Windows Phone map system is being upgraded to Nokia Maps, which features beautiful cartography, more complete and accurate map data, a new 3-D mode, and hardware-accelerated rendering for smooth performance. A new WinPRT-based location API also accompanies the new Nokia Maps control and provides functionality new to the Windows Phone platform such as generating driving directions with an API call so that they can be included in your app. Existing apps that include the Bing Maps control will continue to work."


Everything discovered today looks great. Awesome job on all of the articles today. My biggest issue is deciding to upgrade with the first batch of new phones or wait a few months to see what CES brings.

Ahhh good question. My early impulse will be to hop on WP8 the moment it's released but logic (and my wallet - I have to break my contract early) tells me to wait a little longer for better devices

Depends: Are you on a dying first Gen device, or an Android or iPhone you are dying to dump? If so I would happily recommend jumping on the initial WP 8 device from your favorite Manufacturer. If you are like me, I have the Focus S and love it, then waiting makes sense. I am sure I will waste a few hundred dollars and buy a WP 8 outright, so I am definitely waiting for a few "waves" of devices to be sure I get the best option for me.

My first Windows phone was a Dell Venue Pro
Got the Titan day 1 for the penny black friday sale. But it has a huge crack on the screen (didn't get insurance, and if I did it would be $150 minimum repair anyway). I absolutely love my Titan but I'm ready to move on because of this crack. I like having unique (DVP) and/or powerful (Titan) devices. So maybe I'll wait to see what the Juggernaut Alpha is all about before I hop on WP8.
Unlike others, I'm very much satisfied with the 7.8 update. I'm ecstatic about that new start screen more than anything else!

I have an upgrade for T-mo due in October and my birthday is in November,,,probably going to get what ever nokia has out at that time. Can't wait! This is an exciting time for windows phone fans.

No need to wait Microsoft has been working on this a long time so it's gonna be worth getting a new wp8 device maybe not till 2013 January r February so u can let the OEMs build up on the bandwagon to make ur choice more unique and best fits u

That's really the bigger issue... carrier options and availability. AT&T will be a launch partner, and T-Mobile will probably adopt one too (but probably lower end). Verizon and Sprint are questionable, at best, right now. Verizon has been more favorable to WP8 than WP7, but nothing announced yet, so don't hold your breath... especially since they're the DROID champions. Sprint is pretty likely to be worthless even if they do adopt WP8.

I think Verizon is such a big supporter of Droid is because it makes them money hand over fist,,,I'm sure if WP8 devices shows the same potential for making them money they'll put there marketing team into full swing and get the devices into peoples hands.

I'm with you. I have a Titan now, and it's aggravating the hell out of me right now because of what I think is a dying headphone jack (I use it constantly in the car with my AUX port). I was going to get a Lumia 900, but I didn't want to pay full price for something I knew wouldn't get a WP8 upgrade. Come holiday season, I can upgrade at a discount... but do I or do I wait for CES? Honestly, I'm probably going to go for a fall upgrade. I generally find the fall devices aren't as flashy but are more mature.

I'm in the same boat...
Have had my HD7 since Nov 2010 and I'm not too sure what to do when it comes to WP8.

There is plenty of life in my HD7, but the thought of a brand new day 1 WP8 is making me want to jump.... But then be in the same situation like when the Lumia range was announced.

I'll give it til Xmas and then I hope there'll be some powerful beasts ready to snap up come Jan '13

yet another feature that can come to 7.8  It will really be interesting to see how much of the shaft Microsoft gives WP7 users.

I hope they add the ability to rotate maps as well with the pitch. The one thing I really loved about maps in Android is with two fingers on the map you can zoom in and out, change the pitch, or rotate the map.

Not only that, they should automatically rotate the maps based on the compass, not just when you're driving but all the time if you have the option enabled.

Very cool... my only question is whether or not I still have to "tap" for the next direction or not. That is extremely aggravating, but I don't really like the Garmin app or gMaps, and I don't have a Lumia, so no Nokia Drive for me. Although, I'll probably go Nokia for my WP8 device, so guess it won't matter much.

Microsoft Maps won't even be available under WP8. It is getting replaced by Nokia Maps. No more tapping.
Even better, Nokia is making Nokia Drive available to all WP8 handset manufacturers. It is expected that all WP8 manufacturers will license this from Nokia (just as Android manufacturers license mapping services from Google). So, even if a navigation system is very important to you, your choices won't be limited.
Personally, I couldn't care less about HTC or Samsung, but that is everyones own choice to make.

If I'm not mistaken, the street view maps are identical to those already available in Nokia Drive 3.0, which shows 3D buildings.  The best part is the buildings are labeled by name, e.g. Bank of America Building, or CitiBank, etc., which is great when driving to a metro area.

Despite the massive improvements the new maps will bring, I must say the I really do like the current Bing maps. It is amazing how many shops and restaurants they can find by name.

Ring me when we have built in public transportation. Getting around SF would be a pain if I didn't already know the routes..