Bing Maps improves trip planning with a new distance calculator, gas detector and parking locator

What do you want to know

  • Bing Maps offers new experiences to help plan trips, including tools to calculate trip distance, find gas stations, and locate parking spots.
  • The service also has a tool to find passable routes around obstacles and with different modes of transport.
  • Similar features have been available on competing map apps for some time, such as Google Maps.

Microsoft has a new set of features for Bing Maps that focus on improving trip planning. Bing Maps now has a new experience for calculating distance, locating gas prices, and finding parking spots along a planned route. Similar features have been available on other platforms, such as Google Maps, for several years, but have now made their way to Bing Maps.

The tools provide the experience that their names suggest. Distance calculation calculates the distance of a trip. The Gas Price feature calculates gas prices on your way. The Parking Finder tool locates parking spaces along your journey. Some technical aspects of the features are nice, such as how Bing Maps calculates the distance of a trip, but these don’t affect day-to-day use. Microsoft explains the features in more detail in a blog post.

A unique aspect of Bing Maps is how its distance-by-time feature works. When a search is entered into Bing Maps, the service uses drive-time polygons, as opposed to a circle, to determine how far someone could realistically go within a set time frame. For example, I live in Nottingham, England, which is bisected by a river. For this reason, searching for gas stations within 2 miles would normally return results that are geographically close, but it would take a long time to drive to. With Bing Maps, the search would show where I could actually go in a given time.

The Isochrone API also works with different modes of transport. Still taking Nottingham as an example, there are places that are quicker to get to on foot than by car due to the limited number of bridges that support vehicles.

“This is particularly useful for car travelers who use a map app to find nearby gas stations within a limited travel distance as they run out of fuel. Alternatively, this feature can be useful for electric vehicle users who are planning trips. trips around charging stations with range constraints in mind,” Microsoft explained.

“Support for multiple modes of transportation, including walking, driving, and public transit, means you’ll always have a tool you can use to get around, even in an emergency.”

Like the other tools announced for Bing Maps, the Isochronous PLC (opens in a new tab) can be used by developers to create web and app experiences.