The Microsoft Virtual Earth team just announced their latest update. It includes a new rendered map style that they’ve been calling ‘hill shaded’ which gives their road style maps the ability to show elevation. You can see what it looks like on their blog.
In addition, all of these cities/regions have new or expanded Aerial imagery and most have textured 3D buildings and cityscapes
Canada: Hamilton, Quebec, Toronto (Montreal is in their next release)
Europe: Toulouse France, Eastbourne UK
United States: Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery, Mobile, Phoenix (expanded), Arden, Denver (expanded), Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Tallahassee, Fort Myers, Tampa West, St Petersburg, Coral Gables, Cape Coral West, Pembroke Pines, Orlando, Hialea, Columbus GA, Jackson, Oak Park IL, Rockford IL, Ohare IL, Baton Rouge, Shreveport New Orleans, Metarie, Jersey City, Elizabeth, East Ruth, Newark, Paterson, Brooklyn, Niagara Falls, Portland (expanded), Nashville, Chattanooga, Milwaukee
What it means: Microsoft continues moving towards the creation of a virtual 3D world. I think most people do not see the full value at this point but I’m convinced we’ll be able to do local shopping in MSN Virtual Earth within a three to five-year period.