– for people that are sick of whereis

posted in: Uncategorized | 0, the new way to search for places in Australia. Powered by Virtual Earth 3D and customised by Soul Solutions for Australia we believe it is the simplest, fastest and coolest way to find a street, suburb or place in Australia.

Go check it out:

Simply double click the state, and start typing the street name and extension e.g. ‘smith st’
Because you centred the map on the state, the search box automatically populates the state and country. That’s right Virtual Earth has a powerful search engine for Australia but you need to know how to use it. Type in “Opera House” into and you are taken to Boston, USA – you could say hello to Denny Crane but really it’s not that useful. Instead go to, double click on NSW and type “Opera House”, that’s much better.

Ok so the site is quick, it’s easy to use, it works, but where is that cool part?

See that 3D button? Click on it to install Virtual Earth 3D into Internet Explorer. It’s still a beta but if you have XP SP2 (or better) and a 32MB video card you download 5.5mb and say goodbye to your afternoon. Its Google Earth in your browser and now with full search for Australia!

Click on the 3D, click on the map to give it focus and press Ctrl-Q. You have just entered first person mode! This is cool, mouse looks around and the WASD keys move you around like you’re in counter strike, c and space zoom, Esc to exit the mode.

So now we put this all together, in 3D mode we double click our state, click on the textbox (hope to remove this step ASAP), type in the street name and press enter – whoosh your zoomed in to the address. Now click on the map and press Ctrl-Q. Now you can explore the area! Is that cooler then the competition in Australia? At least they have NextG so we can have this on our phone!

So what have we done to put this together? Isn’t it just a stock Virtual earth control with a textbox. Well guess what? Pretty much it is, with a few tricks to make it work well and no crap put in. What this means is you too can offer localised Australian searching from your website. Want to get started right now? Go checkout the interactive SDK at Got some really good idea or running into problems with Virtual Earth – come talk to us at the MSDN forums. Have some really cool code to share? We just started a Virtual Earth code wiki at

So what are these tricks I speak of?

1) Basic lookup for what state you’re in. Just some hard coded JavaScript for performance. We have another version for the whole world but you add an extra AJAX call to work out your country and state/province, it slows it down a little.
2) Custom search box and Disambiguation box.
3) Support for controls in 3D mode
4) Full screen support. Resizes with your browser.
5) Firefox 2 support
6) Dispose the map on exit
7) Preloading message for VE JavaScript
8) Hide the message boxes
9) JavaScript optimisation (.js file is 4.11KB)
10) IIS compression (.htm file is 880 bytes, .js file is 1.59KB)
11) Kernel mode caching (hey they are static files – serve them up quick)

Where do I find out how to do these things? Visit the WIKI of course!

So what next for What would you like to see?
• Routeing?
• Traffic Cams?

We are trying to think of ways to get these features out there without slowing the whole thing down. Since we use the site all the time and hope now will too we want it to be super fast.