Microsoft deserves credit for some interesting mapping innovations like Street Slide. A recent patent applications "HYBRID MAPS WITH EMBEDDED STREET-SIDE IMAGES" reveals yet another interesting spin on street-level imagery that might make them far easier to explore.
The claimed subject matter relates to a computer-implemented architecture that can generate a map. The map can be a hybrid between an orthographic projection map and street-side images, thus including useful aspects from both types of representations. For example, an orthographic projection map is very effective at presenting global relationships among the features of the map but not effective at presenting local detail. In contrast, street-side images show excellent detail but do not convey the global information of an orthographic projection map. The hybrid map can thus provide a richer set of information than conventional maps and can also display objects/features of the hybrid map in multiple perspectives simultaneously on a single representation that is printable.
As mapping has evolved, satellite imagery has become a common tool to identify structures of a unfamiliar places, however unless your common method of transport is flight, looking at buildings from the top isn't the best representation what you might see when traveling. More recently, street-side imagery like Google Street View has become far more relevant, however they are harder to navigate in larger areas.
As per usual, Microsoft's idea combines the best of both.
In the most basic sense, it projects street-side imagery besides both sides of street markings on a traditional map. Add this to your ever-growing list of "why didn't I think of that".
Combined with some post-processing on the street-side imagery to remove the sky and roads using 3D spatial data of just the buildings, you're left with a clean projection of how the sides of a street would look laid out besides it on the map.
[tags]street-side,street slide,uspto,hybrid map,street view[/tags]