This morning Bing Maps announced the addition of 13 million square kilometers of new satellite imagery to its database.

Bing Maps is not simply a component of Bing’s search product, but also lives as a stand-alone application in Windows 8, giving it a much higher profile than it might otherwise have. Given that, today’s updates should sharpen up its user experience. Mapping is not niche service, as Apple recently learned.

New data from TerraColor will enhance the most zoomed-out world viewing, and fresh information on certain locations will reduce cloud interference. After all, clouds are topographic noise in a map setting. A total of 13,799,276 square kilometers of “High Resolution Satellite imagery” have been added as well.

However, the neatest part of the update involves the ocean. What Microsoft calls “bathymetric imagery” provides a much better look at the geographic undulations that lie beneath the waves:


Now you can scuba dive from your desk.

With the launch of Windows 8, Bing Maps has become the defacto atlas and globe for any youth with a new PC. The more data it has, the better.

Top Image Credit: Christopher Bulle