Despite the popularity of parades and marches, it is unfortunately not a common practice for their organizers to post the routes online; this has a number of obvious implications, not least for those participating in the parades, and those who wish to visit.
Microsoft has posted routes for the Martin Luther King, Jr marches and parades, due to be held on Martin Luther King day, allowing the public greater freedom to plan their day around these events. By translating paragraphs of directions, along with non-scaled maps and digital cartography, the results for over 25 cities are now available on Bing for all to see.
In order to access individual routes, users will have to load the Martin Luther King, Jr Day Parades and Marches Collection (available here) while in Bing. Currently the collection covers, Austin, Baltimore, Charlotte, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Fort Worth, Honolulu, Houston, Jacksonville, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Mesa, Miami, Nashville, New York City, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, San Antonio, San Francisco, Savannah and Washington D.C, if users wish for another route to be added then they are advised to contact Bing Maps via Twitter (at @BingMaps).
The routes are also available on mobile, though a little extra effort is required, as Chris Pendleton, Principal Program Manager Lead of Bing Maps explains,
“First, load the list of Marches and Routes. Next login to Bing Maps with your Microsoft Account ID. Once you find the route (or routes) you want, click it and you’ll find an option on the popup to ‘Save to your places.’ From the My Places menu you can now export it as KML or GeoRSS and import it into your favorite mobile mapping application”
This is yet another example of Microsoft allowing Bing to evolve from being a simple mapping solution into a feature set that will sell services. These incremental, but practical, upgrades provide real benefits to the end consumer, as such they are highly welcome.
Will you be using Bing to plan your parade day? Let us know in the comments below.Further reading: Bing, Bing Maps, Microsoft