Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform: trends and investment areas

This post was co-authored by the extended Azure Mobility Team.

The past year has been eventful for a lot of reasons. At Microsoft, we’ve expanded our partnerships, including Volkswagen, LG Electronics, Faurecia, TomTom, and more, and taken the wraps off new thinking such as at CES, where we recently demonstrated our approach to in-vehicle compute and software architecture.

Looking ahead, areas that were once nominally related now come into sharper focus as the supporting technologies are deployed and the various industry verticals mature. The welcoming of a new year is a good time to pause and take in what is happening in our industry and in related ones with an aim to developing a view on where it’s all heading.

In this blog, we will talk about the trends that we see in connected vehicles and smart cities and describe how we see ourselves fitting in and contributing.

Trends

Mobility as a Service (Maas)

MaaS (sometimes referred to as Transportation as a Service, or TaaS) is about people getting to goods and services and getting those goods and services to people. Ride-hailing and ride-sharing come to mind, but so do many other forms of MaaS offerings such as air taxis, autonomous drone fleets, and last-mile delivery services. We inherently believe that completing a single trip—of a person or goods—will soon require a combination of passenger-owned vehicles, ride-sharing, ride-hailing, autonomous taxis, bicycle-and scooter-sharing services transporting people on land, sea, and in the air (what we refer to as “multi-modal routing”). Service offerings that link these different modes of transportation will be key to making this natural for users.

With Ford, we are exploring how quantum algorithms can help improve urban traffic congestion and develop a more balanced routing system. We’ve also built strong partnerships with TomTom for traffic-based routing as well as with AccuWeather for current and forecast weather reports to increase awareness of weather events that will occur along the route. In 2020, we will be integrating these routing methods together and making them available as part of the Azure Maps service and API. Because mobility constitutes experiences throughout the day across various modes of transportation, finding pickup locations, planning trips from home and work, and doing errands along the way, Azure Maps ties the mobility journey with cloud APIs and iOS and Android SDKs to deliver in-app mobility and mapping experiences. Coupled with the connected vehicle architecture of integration with federated user authentication, integration with the Microsoft Graph, and secure provisioning of vehicles, digital assistants can support mobility end-to-end. The same technologies can be used in moving goods and retail delivery systems.

The pressure to become profitable will force changes and consolidation among the MaaS providers and will keep their focus on approaches to reducing costs such as through autonomous driving. Incumbent original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are expanding their businesses to include elements of car-sharing to continue evolving their businesses as private car ownership is likely to decline over time.

Connecting vehicles to the cloud

We refer holistically to these various signals that can inform vehicle routing (traffic, weather, available modalities, municipal infrastructure, and more) as “navigation intelligence.” Taking advantage of this navigation intelligence will require connected vehicles to become more sophisticated than just logging telematics to the cloud.

The reporting of basic telematics (car-to-cloud) is barely table-stakes; over-the-air updates (OTA, or cloud-to-car) will become key to delivering a market-competitive vehicle, as will command-and-control (more cloud-to-car, via phone apps). Forward-thinking car manufacturers deserve a lot of credit here for showing what’s possible and for creating in consumers the expectation that the appearance of new features in the car after it is purchased isn’t just cool, but normal.

Future steps include the integration of in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) with voice assistants that blend the in- and out-of-vehicle experiences, updating AI models for in-market vehicles for automated driving levels one through five, and of course pre-processing the telemetry at the edge in order to better enable reinforcement learning in the cloud as well as just generally improving services.

Delivering value from the cloud to vehicles and phones

As vehicles become more richly connected and deliver experiences that overlap with what we’ve come to expect from our phones, an emerging question is, what is the right way to make these work together? Projecting to the IVI system of the vehicle is one approach, but most agree that vehicles should have a great experience without a phone present.

Separately, phones are a great proxy for “a vehicle” in some contexts, such as bicycle sharing, providing speed, location, and various other probe data, as well as providing connectivity (as well as subsidizing the associated costs) for low-powered electronics on the vehicle.

This is probably a good time to mention 5G. The opportunity 5G brings will have a ripple effect across industries. It will be a critical foundation for the continued rise of smart devices, machines, and things. They can speak, listen, see, feel, and act using sensitive sensor technology as well as data analytics and machine learning algorithms without requiring “always on” connectivity. This is what we call the intelligent edge. Our strategy is to enable 5G at the edge through cloud partnerships, with a focus on security and developer experience.

Optimizations through a system-of-systems approach

Connecting things to the cloud, getting data into the cloud, and then bringing the insights gained through cloud-enabled analytics back to the things is how optimizations in one area can be brought to bear in another area. This is the essence of digital transformation. Vehicles gathering high-resolution imagery for improving HD maps can also inform municipalities about maintenance issues. Accident information coupled with vehicle telemetry data can inform better PHYD (pay how you drive) insurance plans as well as the deployment of first responder infrastructure to reduce incident response time.

As the vehicle fleet electrifies, the demand for charging stations will grow. The way in-car routing works for an electric car is based only on knowledge of existing charging stations along the route—regardless of the current or predicted wait-times at those stations. But what if that route could also be informed by historical use patterns and live use data of individual charging stations in order to avoid arriving and having three cars ahead of you? Suddenly, your 20-minute charge time is actually a 60-minute stop, and an alternate route would have made more sense, even if, on paper, it’s more miles driven.

Realizing these kinds of scenarios means tying together knowledge about the electrical grid, traffic patterns, vehicle types, and incident data. The opportunities here for brokering the relationships among these systems are immense, as are the challenges to do so in a way that encourages the interconnection and sharing while maintaining privacy, compliance, and security.

Laws, policies, and ethics

The past several years of data breaches and elections are evidence of a continuously evolving nature of the security threats that we face. That kind of environment requires platforms that continuously invest in security as a fundamental cost of doing business.

Laws, regulatory compliance, and ethics must figure into the design and implementation of our technologies to as great a degree as goals like performance and scalability do. Smart city initiatives, where having visibility into the movement of people, goods, and vehicles is key to doing the kinds of optimizations that increase the quality of life in these cities, will confront these issues head-on.

Routing today is informed by traffic conditions but is still fairly “selfish:” routing for “me” rather than for “we.” Cities would like a hand in shaping traffic, especially if they can factor in deeper insights such as the types of vehicles on the road (sending freight one way versus passenger traffic another way), whether or not there is an upcoming sporting event or road closure, weather, and so on.

Doing this in a way that is cognizant of local infrastructure and the environment is what smart cities initiatives are all about.

For these reasons, we have joined the Open Mobility Foundation. We are also involved with Stanford’s Digital Cities Program, the Smart Transportation Council, the Alliance to Save Energy by the 50×50 Transportation Initiative, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

With the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform (MCVP) and an ecosystem of partners across the industry, Microsoft offers a consistent horizontal platform on top of which customer-facing solutions can be built. MCVP helps mobility companies accelerate the delivery of digital services across vehicle provisioning, two-way network connectivity, and continuous over-the-air updates of containerized functionality. MCVP provides support for command-and-control, hot/warm/cold path for telematics, and extension hooks for customer/third-party differentiation. Being built on Azure, MCVP then includes the hyperscale, global availability, and regulatory compliance that comes as part of Azure. OEMs and fleet operators leverage MCVP as a way to “move up the stack” and focus on their customers rather than spend resources on non-differentiating infrastructure.

Innovation in the automotive industry

At Microsoft, and within the Azure IoT organization specifically, we have a front-row seat on the transformative work that is being done in many different industries, using sensors to gather data and develop insights that inform better decision-making. We are excited to see these industries on paths that are trending to converging, mutually beneficial paths. Our colleague Sanjay Ravi shares his thoughts from an automotive industry perspective in this great article.

Turning our attention to our customer and partner ecosystem, the traction we’ve gotten across the industry has been overwhelming:

The Volkswagen Automotive Cloud will be one of the largest dedicated clouds of its kind in the automotive industry and will provide all future digital services and mobility offerings across its entire fleet. More than 5 million new Volkswagen-specific brand vehicles are to be fully connected on Microsoft’s Azure cloud and edge platform each year. The Automotive Cloud subsequently will be rolled out on all Group brands and models.

Cerence is working with us to integrate Cerence Drive products with MCVP. This new integration is part of Cerence’s ongoing commitment to delivering a superior user experience in the car through interoperability across voice-powered platforms and operating systems. Automakers developing their connected vehicle solutions on MCVP can now benefit from Cerence’s industry-leading conversational AI, in turn delivering a seamless, connected, voice-powered experience to their drivers.

Ericsson, whose Connected Vehicle Cloud connects more than 4 million vehicles across 180 countries, is integrating their Connected Vehicle Cloud with Microsoft’s Connected Vehicle Platform to accelerate the delivery of safe, comfortable, and personalized connected driving experiences with our cloud, AI, and IoT technologies.

LG Electronics is working with Microsoft to build its automotive infotainment systems, building management systems and other business-to-business collaborations. LG will leverage Microsoft Azure cloud and AI services to accelerate the digital transformation of LG’s B2B business growth engines, as well as Automotive Intelligent Edge, the in-vehicle runtime environment provided as part of MCVP.

Global technology company ZF Friedrichshafen is transforming into a provider of software-driven mobility solutions, leveraging Azure cloud services and developer tools to promote faster development and validation of connected vehicle functions on a global scale.

Faurecia is collaborating with Microsoft to develop services that improve comfort, wellness, and infotainment as well as bring digital continuity from home or the office to the car. At CES, Faurecia demonstrated how its cockpit integration will enable Microsoft Teams video conferencing. Using Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform, Faurecia also showcased its vision of playing games on the go, using Microsoft’s new Project xCloud streaming game preview.

Bell has revealed AerOS, a digital mobility platform that will give operators a 360° view into their aircraft fleet. By leveraging technologies like artificial intelligence and IoT, AerOS provides powerful capabilities like fleet master scheduling and real-time aircraft monitoring, enhancing Bell’s Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) experience. Bell chose Microsoft Azure as the technology platform to manage fleet information, observe aircraft health, and manage the throughput of goods, products, predictive data, and maintenance.

Luxoft is expanding its collaboration with Microsoft to accelerate the delivery of connected vehicle solutions and mobility experiences. By leveraging MCVP, Luxoft will enable and accelerate the delivery of vehicle-centric solutions and services that will allow automakers to deliver unique features such as advanced vehicle diagnostics, remote access and repair, and preventive maintenance. Collecting real usage data will also support vehicle engineering to improve manufacturing quality.

We are incredibly excited to be a part of the connected vehicle space. With MCVP, our ecosystem partners and our partnerships with leading automotive players, both vehicle OEMs and automotive technology suppliers, we believe we have a uniquely capable offering enabling at global scale the next wave of innovation in the automotive industry as well as related verticals such as smart cities, smart infrastructure, insurance, transportation, and beyond.

Expanded Azure Maps coverage, preview of Azure Maps feedback site, and more

This blog post was co-authored by Ricky Brundritt, Principal Technical Program Manager, Azure Maps.

Azure Maps services continue to expand our support for Microsoft enterprise customers’ needs in Azure. And, we’ve been busy expanding our capabilities. Today we’re announcing Azure Maps is now available in Argentina, India, Morocco, and Pakistan. We have also launched a new Azure Maps data feedback site that is now in preview. In addition, we’re also introducing several enhancements that are available via our Representational state transfer (REST) services and Azure Maps web and Android SDKs.

Here is a run-down of the new features:

Azure Maps is available in new countries and regions

Azure Maps is now available in Argentina, India, Morocco, and Pakistan and these regions require specific consideration for using maps. Azure Maps will now empower our customers to use the appropriate map views in these regions. To learn more about how to request data via our REST services and SDKs for the new regions and countries listed above, please see our Azure Maps localization page.

Introducing preview of Azure Maps data feedback site

To serve the freshest map data as possible to our customers and as an easy way to provide map data feedback, we’re introducing the Azure Maps data feedback site. The new site empowers our customers to provide direct data feedback, especially on business points of interest and residential addresses. The feedback goes directly to our data providers and their map editors who can quickly evaluate and incorporate feedback into our mapping products. To learn how to provide different types of feedback using the Azure Maps feedback site, please see our How-to guide.

Azure Maps Feedback Site

 

REST service enhancements

Point of interest data updates

When requesting point of interest data, you might want to restrict the results to specific brands. For example, your scenario is to only show gas stations under a specific brand to your end users. To support this, we’ve added the capability to include one or multiple brands in your request to limit the search results. To learn more, please see our How-to Guide article where we share useful tips to call data via Azure Maps search services.

In addition, Azure Maps now returns hours of operation for points of interest like business listings. We return the opening hours for the next week, starting with the current day in the local time of the point of interest. This information can be used to better optimize your planned routes, and for example, show end users store locations that are open during a specific timeframe.

Sunset and sunrise times

According to a recent report from the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, buildings construction and operations account for 36 percent of global final energy use and nearly 40 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions when upstream power generation is considered. To create impact with IoT and help to combat climate change and optimize buildings for energy efficiency, Get Timezone by Coordinates API now returns sunset and sunrise times for a given coordinate location. Developers can automate device messages in their IoT solutions, for example, by building rules to schedule heating and cooling by using sunrise and sunset times combined with telemetry messages from a variety of devices and sensors. 

Cartography and styling updates

Point of interest data rendering

To provide richer and more informative map data content, we’ve pushed up certain point of interest data so that certain categories appear at higher levels. As a result, airport icons are rendered at zoom levels 10 to 22.

image

Point of interest icons for important tourist attractions like museums, and railway and metro stations are displayed on zoom levels 12 to 22. In addition, universities, colleges, and schools are shown on zoom levels 13 to 22.

image

 

State boundaries and abbreviated state names

To improve usability and give more detailed views, state boundaries are pushed up in the data so that they appear already at zoom level 3. Abbreviated state names are also now shown in zoom level.

Azure Maps State Boundaries Update

Blank map styles in web SDK

Often it is useful to be able to visualize data on top of a blank canvas or to replace the base maps with custom tile layers. With this in the mind the Azure Maps web SDK now supports two new map styles; blank and blank_accessible. The blank map style will not render any base map data, nor will it update the screen reader on where the map is centered over. The blank_ accessible style will continue to provide screen reader updates with location details of where the map is located, even though the base map is not displayed. Please note, you can change the background color of web SDK by using the CSS background-color style of the map DIV element.

Web SDK enhancements

The Azure Maps team has made many additions and improvements to the web SDK. Below is a closer look at some of the key improvements.

Cluster aggregates

Clustering of point data based on zoom level can be done to reduce the visual clutter on the map and make it easier to make sense of the data. Often clusters are represented using a symbol with the number of points that are within the cluster, however sometimes you may want to further customize the style of clusters based on a metric like the total revenue of all points within a cluster. With cluster aggregates, custom properties can be created and populated using an aggregate expression. To learn more please see our Azure Maps documentation.

image

Aggregating data in clusters

Image templates

The Azure Maps web SDK uses WebGL for rendering most data on the map. Symbol layers can be used to render points on the map with an image, line layers can have images rendered along it, and polygon layers can be rendered with a fill pattern image. In order to ensure good performance, these images need to be loaded into the map image sprite resource before rendering. The web SDK already provides a couple of images of markers in a handful of colors, however, there is an infinite number of color combinations that developers may want to use. With this in mind we have ported the SVG template functionality for HTML markers over to the image sprite and have added 42 image templates, 27 symbol icons, and 15 polygon fill patterns. You can easily define a primary and secondary color as well as a scale for each template when loading it into the map image sprite. These templates can also be used with HTML markers as well. Check out our documentation and see our Try it now tool to learn more.

image

Images can be used HTML markers and various layers within the Azure Maps Web SDK

Additional notable improvements to the web SDK:

  • Accessibility improvements – The team has spent a lot of time improving accessibility in the web SDK and ensuring that every user is able to use the map. A major part of this consisted of leveraging the vector tiles of the base map so that we can provide highly accurate descriptions of what the map is rendering.
  • Limit spinning of the globe – By default the map mimics a globe by allowing the user to infinitely scroll the map west or east. When the user is zoomed out, sometimes the map will render additional copies of the globe to fill in the blank space. This is great for most scenarios, but some developers prefer having a single copy of the globe that doesn’t scroll infinitely. Now this can be configured using the new renderWorldCopies map option.
  • Easily show all map styles in style picker – Up until now, if you wanted to show all map styles in the style picker control you had to list them all in an array in the mapStyles option. Now you simply set this option to “all.”
  • Image overlay georeferencing tools – When georeferencing an image to overlay on the map, sometimes all you have is some reference points (i.e. pixels to positions) which might not be the corners of the image. We added some functions which can be used to correctly georeference the image. We also added tools for reprojecting between pixels and positions relative to the image. For example, if you have an image of a floor plan displayed on the map, you can take any map position and determine its pixel coordinate on the original image and vice versa.
  • New spatial math functions – Several new spatial math functions have been added. One of the new spatial math functions we added will calculate the closest point to a location that falls on the edge of another geometry object. This has a lot of use cases, such as basic snapping of points to lines or simply knowing how far off the path something is.
  • Pitch touch support – You can now pitch the map using touch, with two-finger drag up/down.
  • Popup customizations – Up until now you could only have a popup with a white background and pointer arrow. Now you can set the color of the popup and optionally hide the pointer arrow. Popups can also be made draggable now too!
  • Shape and Data source events – New events for tracking changes to shapes and data sources.

Tile layers in the Android SDK

The Azure Maps team released an Android SDK into preview earlier this year. It is able to render point, line, and polygon data. The team has now added support for rendering tile layers. Tile layers are a great way to visualize large data sets on the map. Not only can a tile layer be generated from an image, but vector data can also be rendered as a tile layer too. By rendering vector data as a tile layer, the map control only needs to load the tiles which can be much smaller in file size than the vector data they represent. This technique is used by many who need to render millions of rows of data on the map.

Azure Maps Tile Layers in the Android SDK

Rendering tile layers within the Azure Maps Android SDK

We want to hear from you!

We are always working to grow and improve the Azure Maps platform and want to hear from you. We’re here to help and want to make sure you get the most out of the Azure Maps platform.

  • Have a feature request? Add it or vote up the request on our feedback site.
  • Having an issue getting your code to work? Have a topic you would like us to cover on the Azure blog? Ask us on the Azure Maps forums.
  • Looking for code samples or wrote a great one you want to share? Join us on GitHub.
  • To learn more, read the Azure Maps documentation.

Harnessing the power of the Location of Things with Azure Maps

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the beginning of accessing planetary-scale insights. With the mass adoption of IoT and the very near future explosion of sensors, connectivity, and computing, humanity is on the cusp of a fully connected, intelligent world. We will be part of the generation that realizes the data-rich, algorithmically deterministic lifestyle the world has never seen. The inherent value of this interconnectedness lies within the constructs of human nature to thrive. Bringing all of this information together with spatial intelligence has been challenging to say the least. Until today.

Today, we’re unveiling a cross-Azure IoT collaboration simplifying the use of location and spatial intelligence used in conjunction with IoT messaging. The result is the means for customers to use Azure IoT services to stay better informed about their “things” in terms of space. Azure IoT customers can now implement IoT spatial analytics using Azure Maps. Providing spatial intelligence to IoT devices means greater insights into not just what’s happening, but where it’s happening.

The map shows four points where the vehicle was outside the geofence, logged at regular time intervals.

Azure Maps provides geographic context for information and, as it pertains to IoT, thus geographic insights based on IoT information. Customers are using Azure Maps and Azure IoT for monitoring movement of assets and cross reference the “things” with their location. For example, assume a truck is delivering refrigerated goods from New York City to Washington DC. A route is calculated to determine the path and duration the truck should take to deliver the goods. From the route, a geofence can be created and stored in Azure Maps. The black box on the truck tracking the vehicle would provide Azure IoT Hub to determine if the truck ever leaves the predetermined path. If it does, this could signal that something is wrong—a detour could be disastrous for refrigerated goods. Notifications of detours could be setup and communicated through Azure Event Grid and sent over email, text, or a myriad of other communication mediums.

When we talk about Azure IoT, we often talk about data (from sensors) which leads to insights (when computed) which leads to actions (a result of insights). With The Location of Things, we’re now talking about data from sensors which leads to insights which leads to actions and where they are needed. Knowing where to take actions has massive implications in terms of cost efficacy and time management. When you know where you have issues or opportunities, you can then make informed decisions of where to deploy resources, where to deploy inventory, or where to withdraw them. Run this over time and with enough data and you have artificial intelligence you could deploy at the edge to help with real-time decision making. Have enough data coming in fast enough and you’d be making decisions fast enough to predict future opportunities and issues—and where to deploy resources before you need them.

Location is a powerful component of providing insights. If you have a means of providing location via your IoT messages you can start doing so immediately. If you don’t have location natively, you’d be surprised at how you can get location associated with your sensors and device location. RevIP, Wi-Fi, and cell tower triangulation all provide a means of getting location into your IoT messages. Get that location data into the cloud and start gaining spatial insights today.

Announcing Mobility service for Azure Maps, SDKs updates, and more

Mobility has become the center of an array of new technologies running the gamut from cloud-based algorithms and ride-sharing services, to edge cognition, assisted driving, and traffic pattern analysis – all in an effort to move people and things from one location to another more efficiently. These are challenging initiatives that require scale, real-time intelligence, and deep insights. In an effort to begin chipping away at helping to get people moving, Azure Maps is excited to introduce Mobility service APIs for Azure Maps.

The Mobility service will begin by powering public transit routing, enabling organizations to add public transportation information and routing capabilities into their mobility, IoT, logistics, asset tracking, smart cities, and similar solutions.

Request public transit routes and visualize routes on map.

The Mobility service APIs for Azure Maps are brought to life in partnership with Moovit, Inc – a partnership that was announced last year. Natively through Azure Maps applications organizations can use transit routing to serve public transportation data to their customers, as well as to generate deeper insights, with applications spanning smart cities, transportation, automotive, field services, retail, and more.

A collection of operations allow applications to request public transit, bikeshare, scooter share, and car share information to plan their routes leveraging alternative modes of transportation and real-time data. Applications can use the information returned for smart city and IoT scenarios like:

  • Minimizing urban congestion by combining public and private transportation services
  • Leveraging IoT sensor data to enable dynamic routing
  • Simulating the movements of occupants in city environment

The Mobility service also provides additional insights on mobility trends, such as public transit ridership, costs and benefits of different transit modes, justifications for additional public transit, or additional taxation opportunities for roads and parking.

The Mobility service provides the ability to natively request nearby transit objects such as public transit stops, shared bikes, scooters, or cars around a given location and allows users to search for specific object types within a given radius returning a set of transit objects with object details. The returned information can be used for further processing such as requesting real-time arrivals for the stop, or transit stop details such as main transit type of most lines stopping for a given public stop, active service alerts, or main transport agency. Users can request transit line details covering basic information, such as line number and group information, or more detailed information such as line geometry, list of stops, scheduled and real-time transit arrivals, and service alerts.

Show on map nearby transit objects around given location and within specific radius.
Show on map nearby transit objects around given location and within specific radius. 

Customers can also find out how many available shared bikes are left in the closest dock by requesting docking stations information. While searching for available car share vehicles, details such as future availability and current fuel level are included in the response. This information can be used for further processing, such as calling the Azure Maps Route Range API to calculate a reachable range (isochrone) from the origin point based on fuel or time budget and requesting point of interests within the provided isochrone by using the Search Inside Geometry API.

The Mobility service supports trip planning, returning the best possible route options and providing a variety of travel modes, including walking, biking, and public transit available within the metro area (city). The service allows users to request one or multiple public transit types, such as bus, tram, and subway. It also allows users to focus on certain types of bikes and preferences for a specific transit agency operating in the metro area. Also, users have the option to choose optimal routes based on multiple parameters, such as minimal walking, minimal transfers, or specify desired departure or arrival times. The Mobility service support real-time trip planning and provides real-time arrival information for stops and lines. Azure Maps can send notifications to users about service alerts for stops, lines, and metro areas (city), and provide updated times with alternate routes in case of interruptions.

The Mobility service can also return multiple, alternate routes that may not be considered optimal given current condition, but could be preferred by the end user. The service returns data pertaining various legs comprising the route itinerary, including the locations, public transit lines, as well as start and end times. Users can also request transit itinerary details with additional information such geometry of the route and detailed itinerary schedules.

SDK updates

Azure Maps Web SDK

In this release we have added a preview of a new drawing tools module which makes it easy to draw points, lines, and polygons on the map using a mouse or touch. Several new spatial math features have been added around speed and acceleration-based calculations, as well as affine transformations, polygon area calculations, closest point to a line, and convex hulls. The team has also spent a lot of time adding performance enhancement, stability, and improving accessibility.

Azure Maps Android SDK update

Added support for Azure Active Directory authentication, drawing lines and polygons, and raising and handling events.

Spatial Operations for Azure Maps are now generally available

Azure Maps Spatial Operations takes location information then analyzes it on the fly to help inform customers of ongoing events happening in time and space, enabling near real-time analysis and predictive modeling of events. Spatial Operations provides applications enhanced location intelligence with a library of common geospatial mathematical calculations, including services such as closest point, great circle distance, and buffers.

Cartography and styling updates

Light grey map style

We’ve added a new map style, light grey, to our map style offering. A compliment to the dark grey style, the new light grey canvas is created for our customers to visualize their custom data atop lighter contrast map. Like the other styles, this can be used seamlessly with the Azure Maps Web SDK and Android SDK, for example, to create interactive maps with data driven styling, or heatmaps from a data set of point features.

Light grey map style in Azure Maps Level 4.
Zoom level 4

Light grey map style in Azure Maps Level 15.
Zoom level 15

Pedestrian and walking paths

Additional detail has been added for pedestrian and walking paths, including moving to zoom level 14, which has greatly improved the appearance of urban areas and city parks.

Pedestrian and walking paths after cartography update.

Road network layering

To give a more realistic view, we are now showing the layering of tunnels, bridges, underpasses, and overpasses for both vehicle and pedestrian crossings.

Road network layering changes. Before (left image) and after (right image).

Data rendering

To improve styling and usability, certain polygons and labels were pushed up in the data so that they appear at higher levels. Hundreds of cities have been regrouped by size in the data in order to adjust which zoom level cities are showed based on significance. As a result, medium and large cities have been moved to zoom level 4. Due to symbol collision, most medium cities do not show until level 5. In addition, all national, regional, and state parks are now rendered at zoom level 4 instead of zoom level 7.

Data rending improvements on Azure Maps.

We want to hear from you!

We are always working to grow and improve the Azure Maps platform and want to hear from you. We’re here to help and want to make sure you get the most out of the Azure Maps platform.

  • Have a feature request? Add it or vote up the request on our feedback site.
  • Having an issue getting your code to work? Have a topic you would like us to cover on the Azure blog? Ask us on the Azure Maps forums.
  • Looking for code samples or wrote a great one you want to share? Join us on GitHub.
  • To learn more, read the Azure Maps documentation.