An excellent example of an application that does very much what its name suggests, Bing Maps Downloader lets you grab maps from Bing and save them as images on your computer. You can choose from a number of different map views – street maps, satellite maps or hybrid maps – which can then be saved as individual tiles on your hard drive.
Bing Maps Downloader can also be used to view these map tiles, as well as combining several tiles into a composite that can then be saved as an image file. The software can be used to create personal maps for all sorts of different purposes.
While the idea behind Bing Maps Downloader is simple, the way the program has been implemented makes the process rather more longwinded than you might expect. Maps are downloaded very quickly, but the process of configuring exactly what you would like to download will be off-putting ot many people. There is no way to simply browse or search Bing Maps from within the software, instead you must navigate the maps in your web browser and then grab longitude and latitude details to feed into Bing Maps Downloader.
Priced at $39.99, Bing Maps Downloader is not exactly cheap, but it is perhaps not going to be an impulse purchase, rather something you will only buy if you really need it. The trial version gives you a very good idea of what the software is capable of, but you are limited to a maximum zoom level of 13 – if you need more detail, you will need to buy the full version.
Bing Maps Downloader is a great idea, but it is somewhat let down by issues with ease of use. While it is not exactly difficult to determine longitude and latitude to input into the application, it would have been much easier if there was an integrated Bing Maps browser complete with search. As it stands, the requirement to switch between the application and Bing Maps in a browser window makes things slightly more fiddling and awkward than it should be; this is a shame, as the software has great potential to be incredibly useful.