What’s the difference between Virtual Earth and MapPoint Web Service?

From http://www.microsoft.com/virtualearth/faq.mspx:

Q. What happened to the MapPoint Web Service? What is the difference between the Virtual Earth platform and MapPoint Web Service?

A. The Virtual Earth platform encompasses the next evolution of the MapPoint Web Service offering with innovative new capabilities. The Virtual Earth platform is not only a new brand name; it represents a richer, more powerful offering from Microsoft to companies of all industries. Developers have the flexibility of tapping into one of the two Virtual Earth application programming interfaces (API): MapPoint Web Service API using SOAP XML to communicate with customer applications and Virtual Earth Map Control that lets users make request via JavaScript to an AJAX map object.

Here are some quick comparisons:


Virtual Earth

MapPoint Web Service

Map Styles

Road, Aerial, Birds eye

Over 30 different styles (optimised schemes for night viewing, etc) however no aerial imagery

Integration style

JS control (best for embedding in web pages)

SOAP web service (usable anywhere)

Interface style

Drag and drop positioning, scroll wheel support, interactive pushpins, AJAX based.

Roll your own (it returns an image and you have to work out what to do with it).

Pushpin support

You create them all yourself on the fly using API calls – any clustering / filtering optimizations have to be done manually.

Can upload pushpin sets to their databases and they will handle plotting / clustering and filtering.


Specify a start point and an end point and they’ll give you a route in text. End of story.

Specify the waypoints, preferred road styles (back roads, highways, toll roads, non-toll roads) and it will return a machine readable result set.


Free (commercial use has some minor restrictions)

Per transaction

SDK documentation and support

Basic MSDN docs, active community (www.viavirtualearth.com)

Plenty of MSDN docs and articles, including VS.NET integrated help and plenty of websites (www.mp2kmag.com)

6 thoughts on “What’s the difference between Virtual Earth and MapPoint Web Service?

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  2. Very good information!!!
    I got what i want in short & sweet way!!!

    Thanks a lot πŸ™‚

  3. Very important information in short & sweet way!!!
    I got wht i was searching for!!
    Thanks πŸ™‚

  4. Thanks ….this is great…i am searching for that difference 2 weeks ago πŸ™‚

  5. I have been going in circles tyring to understand difference using MSDN. Sometimes teams within MS dont talk to each other or simply dont connect the dots!

    THanks for the highlighting the differences!

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