Proof of concept: Microsoft’s WPF/E + Maps

Remember WPF/E, that new Microsoft web interaction and display technology that surfaced as a preview a few days ago? It is supposed run on both Mac and Windows (XP and Vista), and in IE, Firefox and Safari — the clearest indication yet that Microsoft understands future successes on the web will require platform neutrality.

I wondered then if WFP/E might not be a useful mapping tool in combination with Virtual Earth 3D. As for the 3D part, the jury is still out (as it requires Windows-only software), but when it comes to the 2D component of Virtual Earth, Mike Taulty’s already got a proof of concept up on his blog:

What he’s done is add a new layer over the Map using WFP/E to capture mouse movements, translating these into an different navigation mode. Mike also superimposes a new graphic. The upshot: it would be very easy to make some very nifty custom user interfaces for maps using WFP/E.

To try it out yourself, go to Microsoft’s WPF/E download page and download the installer, either for PC or for Mac (it’s a “technology preview”). Run it, restart your browser, and then try out Mike’s demo, here.

I’ve found that it only really works in IE for PC at the moment, but on Safari for Mac it definitely looks like it wants to work. So it’s early days yet, but this is promising. Plus, from poking around on the WPF/E website, I see no reason why this can’t be used in conjunction with Google Maps’ Javascript controls.