Harley-Davidson ridding on the open roads of… Microsoft Virtual Earth. Back in 2006, Harley-Davidson introduced an application dubbed Great Roads which is designed to take advantage of the Redmond company’s Microsoft Virtual Earth. With Virtual Earth, the Redmond company is providing much more than a collection of Bird’s eye view, aerial ad 3-D imagery, combined with a mapping service and with search functionality. Virtual Earth is essentially a platform, and Harley-Davidson’s Great Roads is an illustrative example of how the platform can be leveraged for customized solutions.
The Great Roads application “was a sleek interface with brand retention and allowed us to demonstrate some strong evidence of how powerful VE integration can be in the enterprise. Additionally, it provided an example of cross brand pollination and monetization opportunities by showing Best Western hotels on their Great Roads application – a practical service for their riders providing them with hotel information when the routes were too long to complete in a single day,” explained Chris Pendleton, Virtual Earth Technical Evangelist.
Since its debut on Virtual Earth, Great Roads has been evolving, with Harley-Davidson gearing the application toward a more social approach. Because of the new strategy, riders are now able to put together their own routes and submit them to Great Roads via the Ride Planner. Once submitted, the routes can be shared with all the riders of the Great Roads. The application uses ByWays.org in order to enable its users to make up routes, and offers extensive information about dealers and events across the U.S. But of course that Great Roads’ strongest point might yet prove to be its social networking capabilities.
Pendleton enumerated the features of the Ride Planner: “user can submit origin information in 3 ways submit address, place name, postal code, etc., [or] right click on the map, click any point of interest or existing road and build it from that. You can continue to add waypoints and locations to the route and you can MOVE THE ROUTE by clicking and dragging the route and it will change it. Once you create your route, you can submit it to H-D and it will be reviewed and posted on the Great Roads application.”
Microsoft, Windows Live, Harley, Davidson, Harley-Davidson, Motobike, Virtual Earth, Great Roads