Bing Maps Heats Up Visual Location Data

Microsoft has developed a method that allows marketers to visualize location data in heat maps within Windows Store apps, pulling in public points-of-interest data sources available within Bing Maps, and custom data sources containing the company's own data.

Geoff Innis, Bing Maps technical specialist, outlines the process of creating a JavaScript file for the project where the custom JavaScript code for the app. The file he creates includes initialization logic to populate a dropdown menu with available data sources. He also demonstrates how to create a loadMap callback with code, and loads the heat map module to provide the rendering capabilities. It is all quite fascinating, actually.

In the example, Innis draws on data hosted in Bing Maps Spatial Data Services, along with public data sources like FourthCoffeeSample, sample data for a fictional coffee chain; NavteqNA, points of interest for North America, categorized by SIC; NavteqEU, points of interest for Europe, categorized by SIC; and traffic incident data source.

Bing Maps' SearchCallback function gets tapped when the request completes successfully to make certain the total number of entities that match the search criteria does not exceed the maximum number the user specifies in the UI. In the process, he removes existing heat map functions, and creates a new layer using specific locations and rendering options the user specifies, which will affect the radius and intensity of the hotspots for each location.

Innis also provides examples of how marketers can implement the heat map in Bing Maps to more closely target specific consumers in a geographic area.

Some ways to use heat maps:

1) Heat maps of restaurants or bars in a city to show where nightlife is concentrated

2) Heat maps showing where specific industry is concentrated, for civic planning, event planning, or site selection

3) Heat maps showing where competing retail chains are concentrated, for business intelligence or site selection

4) Heat maps of customers, opportunities, or service requests from enterprise data in Dynamics CRM, to drive smarter planning and operational optimization business decisions

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