An Overview of the Bing Maps Tile System

If you are new to Bing Maps, this article will give you an overview of the tile system and the various features it offers. We'll also cover the costs and the imagery providers you can use. Keep reading for more information. In the meantime, you can check out our Basics article and read about Imagery providers. We hope this information will help you choose the best tile system for your needs. Until then, have fun exploring.


In order to render maps in different resolutions, Bing Maps divides imagery into manageable sections, or tiles. The Bing Maps Tile System uniquely identifies each tile in a map hierarchy using a quadkey identifier. This allows Bing to render base maps in a consistent format and send the same map tiles to any client. Understanding these fundamental concepts can improve your map-viewing experience.


Getting started with Bing Maps involves a little math. There are several ways to tile your map. You can convert pixel XY coordinates to a specific level of detail. Other options include WGS-84 coordinates, or latitude/longitude WGS-84. Whether you want a more detailed map, or a map that shows every pixel of an area, understanding the tile system and projection system can be a big help.


You may be wondering whether Bing Maps is worth the investment. In fact, the company provides free tile service through the Bing Maps Dev Center, but what are the costs involved? Let's explore these costs and benefits to understand whether Bing's tile service is worth the investment. First, consider the cost of the imagery used for Bing Maps. Aerial images are updated roughly every six months, and each release typically contains more than 10TB of data. Additionally, the time taken for each release of imagery means that some aerial images are several years old, and this time lag can lead to drastic changes in the landscape.

Imagery providers

Imagery providers in the Bing maps tile system are responsible for providing the data used in map rendering. They retrieve and store metadata on imagery, and resolve tile requests. The Bing Maps ImageryProvider returns a promise when ready to render an image. When a tile request is made, it may contain a number of attributes, including the alpha channel. In some cases, the imagery provider may not support picking features, so it returns an empty array instead. Imagery providers are not allowed to use the tile discard policy until the Bing MapsImageryProvider#ready returns true.

Changing the base tile layer

In MapViewer, you can set a base tile layer for the map. Changing the base tile layer will not require you to add an external JavaScript library. All you have to do is define a data source for your tile layer, such as mvdemo. Once you have defined the data source, you can call the MVMapTileLayer.setMapType method to set the map type to a supported map type.

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