Azure Maps

So at the moment, I’m testing and reviewing some training material for internal use in Microsoft in February and as you may have guessed, the service is Azure Maps.

This is the service that used to be part of the Bing Api, but have now been moved into the Azure service catalog

Chris Pendleton just wrote me to let me know that Azure Maps is in fact a brand new service, written from scratch – only thing that moved from Bing is the imagery and a couple of former Bing team members – Just wanted to let you all know this, and correct the misunderstanding.

and I must say it’s been a really nice experience to work with and use during the last few days.

Using Azure Maps, you get a variety of options to integrate maps into your application, these includes in headlines:

  • Search : build applications that enable you and the users to search for adresses, Point of Interest, Businesses, contact information and much more. You even have the option to get detailed information on what the road is used for, speedlimit and more.
  • MAPS : use this to integrate the well-known quality maps from Bing into your website, application or mobile app to give the user a visual experience of the location.
  • Geocoding : Convert Lat and Lon into adresses and vise versa.
  • IP to location : Ever wanted to have an easy way to match a IP/number to the country where it is in use? Well, here is a service that gives you that, but please be aware that the service is in preview, and are subject to changes.
  • Traffic : Use this in your custom application to allow for instance your sales personel to avoid traffic jams, reduce travel time and let them choose between several available routes.
  • Routing : Use this to incorporate the shortest or fastest route to your users, allow multiple points along a route, and can be useful for development and help solve the ever occurring logistic problem, know as “the travelling salesman”
  • Timezone : Enables you ti implement time service in your application, and look up times around the globe.

The full documentation is available here, with a lot of examples and demo apps.

During the test and evaluation of the training material, I used the application Postman that allows you to build a url and header for use against a Rest API, such as Azure Maps.

The application will then get the result and present it for you in a format of your choosing, raw, json, pretty, etc. and you can then inspect the response you get from the service, even before you start a single line of code in your preferred IDE for development. But I suggest you use Visual Studio Code – that is an free and open sources code editor that runs on your selected operation system.

Postman

Start by downloading the application Postman, and install it, once installed and running, you should create a Collection for storage of the results you get.


Click on the Arrow Down besides New, and select Collection
Enter a name for the collection and click Create

Now we’re ready for testing our service, it’s a prerequisite that you have created a Azure Map Service on Azure and have your Subscription-key at hand.

  1. Start by entering the following into the URL just besides the GET function https://atlas.microsoft.com/search/fuzzy/json?
  2. Now we’re ready to fill in some values for the keys, that we will send to the REST API.
  3. In the first key, you enter api-version and the value is 1
  4. In the next you enter query and your query for an address in value, I entered Birkedommervej 8, Vester Egede  but  i  suggest  you  use your own ūüėČ
  5. In the next key you enter subscription-key and in value the key from your Azure Map Service
  6. Now you should have a screen looking a bit like the one below

Now once all the keys and values have been entered, you should click on the big blue SEND button, which initiates a call to the api, and then catches the result in the Postman app.

You have now called the Azure Maps api for the first time and the result you get is in this example being shown as JSON, but you could easily show it as XML instead. Here is the result in JSON that my query returned.

{
    "summary": {
        "query": "birkedommervej 8 vester egede",
        "queryType": "NON_NEAR",
        "queryTime": 104,
        "numResults": 1,
        "offset": 0,
        "totalResults": 1,
        "fuzzyLevel": 1
    },
    "results": [
        {
            "type": "Street",
            "id": "DK/STR/p0/20146",
            "score": 5.785,
            "address": {
                "streetName": "Birkedommervej",
                "municipalitySubdivision": "Vester Egede",
                "municipality": "Haslev",
                "countrySubdivision": "Sjælland",
                "postalCode": "4690",
                "countryCode": "DK",
                "country": "Denmark",
                "countryCodeISO3": "DNK",
                "freeformAddress": "Birkedommervej, 4690 Haslev (Vester Egede)"
            },
            "position": {
                "lat": 55.26562,
                "lon": 11.96339
            },
            "viewport": {
                "topLeftPoint": {
                    "lat": 55.26486,
                    "lon": 11.96664
                },
                "btmRightPoint": {
                    "lat": 55.26602,
                    "lon": 11.96013
                }
            }
        }
    ]
}

Now the next steps would be to add more keys to the query to get even more information from the API about the address at hand, as mentioned above we can get information about speedlimit, road usage etc. etc.

I hope that you got a little excited about this new service on Azure and if so, i would encourage you to go deep dive into the API and look at some of the more advanced features yourself.

I will post another post on some of the advanced features, in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned or head over to the documentation and start yourself.

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