Though Google Maps may still be the choice of most developers, Bing Maps continues to be a serious contender. Microsoft evangelist Chris Pendleton points out a Weather.com feature and mentions it has used the service since back when it was called Virtual Earth (the switch happened last June).
The new feature lets you look into the future, with maps that guess how the radar will look in a few hours. It uses Bing imagery inside a Flash player. Pendleton describes the process:
The way this is done, since they are using a Flash interface, is to create a transparent tile overlay with the predictive weather data models drawn as ~20 different overlays. They’ll load the overlays as individual layers, then turn one off and turn the next one on – very much how animating a cartoon is done.
All Points Blog rightfully questioned whether users care:
So, there we go, another confirmation that regular folks (ok, he’s a techy) don’t really care about the source background or API used, just that there’s interesting data and the app “works.”
Of course, map developers do care what someone else uses, especially if the platform provides a better method to perform a task. For example, Weather Underground uses Google Maps and has similar radar imagery.