Chris at LiveSide has the details:
In yet another Windows Live update coming this week, the Live Local team (formerly VirtualEarth) will release a technical preview at http://preview.local.live.com that demonstrates the new StreetSide feature for two cities: Seattle and San Francisco.
This new feature provides a vivid fly-through experience for the user, especially in the downtown areas that the technical preview focuses on. The user appears seated at ground level, as if they were driving around the map themselves.
Click through for some amazing sample screenshots. The observation is made that this takes a whole lot of storage and that’s why it’s just a two city preview.
Update: Mark Hachman at PC Magazine:
At noon PDT on Tuesday, Microsoft will unveil a preview version of its Windows Live Local Technology, which will allow users to view a “street-side” perspective of local neighborhoods.
Only two neighborhoods will be supported in the technology’s initial release: the downtown “cores” of Seattle and San Francisco, as a way to provoke feedback from users. The street-side view will supplement aerial, road and bird’s eye views currently available in Windows Live Local, the company said.
The technology is being supplied by Facet Technology Corp., whose SightMap technology has already compiled 700 million high-resolution images — a total of 200 terabytes of data — of geomapped images.
Facet SightMap vans roam the country, snapping front-view and side-vide images of various streets at 8-meter distances, according to the company. In total, over 516,000 miles have been photo-mapped, the company said. Facet’s coverage map indicates that the company has indexed dozens of metropolitan areas around the United States, and the company plans to also index several “high-volume roads” as well.
More details by following the link.