Bing Maps Taps Into 35K Traffic Cameras Worldwide To Preview Your Driving Route

Knowing how to get from point A to point B is important, that's why GPS devices and mapping programs exists. But if you want to get to your destination in a timely manner, directions alone aren't enough. Knowing the traffic conditions can be instrumental in selecting the most appropriate route, and to help you do that, Bing Maps now lets your view over 35,000 traffic cameras spread across 11 countries.

To view them, you have to turn on the traffic layer in Bing Maps, which you can do by clicking on Traffic (it sits in between Directions and My Places). Turning it on will place a traffic information overlay on the roads. When you zoom in to an area with traffic cameras, you can view how clear or congested the road might be.

Bing Maps Traffic Cameras

Bing Maps also lets you compare routes on more than one camera, though it's not as slick as it could be. Rather than selecting different saved routes -- maybe you have more than one option when commuting to work -- you have to hit "return to summary" to see a feed of recently viewed cameras.

Microsoft is putting a lot of effort into shoring up Bing Maps with traffic data. Just last week, the Redmond outfit announced support for Clearflow, a predictive analysis technology that predicts traffic on roads that don't provide live traffic data. Not only does Clearflow integration help drivers pick the best route, it also leads to more accurate travel time estimates.

Microsoft is understandably stoked about the progress it's making in Bing Maps.

"Can you believe this all started as a data-driven experiment? Neither can we, however, this is just part of the innovative culture we embrace at Bing Maps," Microsoft stated in a blog post.

Bing Maps is a capable mapping service, though the challenge for Microsoft is getting Android (Google Maps) and iOS (Apple Maps) users to make the switch on their mobile devices, especially since Android and iOS account for nearly 98 percent of worldwide smartphone sales.