Pitney Bowes
MapInfo Pro™ Monthly Journal
Easy Tip: Use the Bing layers to make nice looking maps!

Easy Tip This easy tip offers a technique to add some subtle detail or "texture" to your maps. In short, you can use the Microsoft Bing® map layers, perhaps with some translucency applied to achieve a nice look.

The envisioned use for this tip is where you have your own vector data, such as a street map and you would like more detail in the map. One way to describe this, is that the imagery helps to fill in detail "between the lines" of your vector data.

To use this technique, all you need to know are couple things about using the Layer Control capabilities. This is a pretty easy tip.

I try to work in maps from around the world in these articles so for this one I'll use the StreetPro® Vietnam data from Pitney Bowes.

Here are examples of the StreetPro map shown both with and without the Bing Aerial layer added.

Use Bing to add texture
The maps on the left have the Bing Aerial layer added. The maps on the right are from the "International" style workspace supplied with StreetPro. The data is StreetPro® Vietnam ©TomTom BV.

How to ...

Here is how to utilise this technique.
  1. Add the desired Bing layer to your map. You can open the Bing layers from the Open gallery. (In the 32 bit versions of MapInfo Pro, the Bing layers can be added by clicking the appropriate buttons on the Standard buttonpad.)

  2. To imitate the examples above, position the Bing layer above your region layers and below your line and point layers. This assumes your map is ordered in this way. You may need to arrange your layers appropriately.
layer control

  1. The Bing layer in the examples above is translucent. This allows some of the colour from the StreetPro map to show through.
translucency

You may wish to experiment with different translucency settings to get the best look for your map.

Final comments

The example use in this article was to add the Bing Aerial map to a street map. You may also find the Bing Hybrid map useful as a backdrop to other maps that do not contain streets. Similarly, if you have the Premium Services offering you can take advantage of the Bing Roads layer too.

The techniques shown here can be used in any version of MapInfo Pro from v10.5 on. The Bing mapping first appeared in version 10.5.

Are you using the latest version of MapInfo Pro?

Links to MapInfo Pro free trials in a number of languages can be found here:
http://web.pb.com/mapinfopro-archive/resources

Article by Tom Probert, Editor of "The MapInfo Professional" journal

When not writing articles for "The MapInfo Professional", Tom enjoys talking to MapInfo Professional users at conferences and events. When not working he likes to see movies with car chases, explosions and kung-fu fighting.