Bing Maps used in creating personalized interactive children's book

Vu Anh Nguyen

What would be a cool use for map data? The Bing’s team answer seems to be in empowering children’s imagination.  The team has just  announced the completion of a year-long collaborative project with publishing and technology start-up Lost My Name in creating “The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home,” a personalized children’s book with interactive elements.
True to the name, the story is about an adventure of a child with a robot friend of intergalactic proportion. Along the journey across the universe, the pair of heros will encounter and befriend colorful characters and fantastic creatures who will help them navigate the vastness of space. The journey will take them past galaxies and stars, before coming back to Earth, through the atmosphere. and arriving right at the doorstep of their home. It’s a fairly simple and typical fantasy story that imaginative children will definitely enjoy, but the special thing lies in how personal the story can be made.

So how is it personalized? By filling in some details about the user (that’s your kids, not you), such as name, gender and address and at the time of order, a book will be created using these information to tailor it exactly to the reader. A number of Bing Maps’ API and controls will be used to determine the reader’s location and retrieve aerial images of the house and surrounding areas. The use of  location-based real-life imagery and information in the book will ensure as each child’s experience of the storyline will be different; examples in the article include the country flag on the spaceship, view of Earth from outer space, and seeing familiar locations as the reader get closer to their destination.
To add even more excitement, Lost My Home is partnering with NGO Story Time from Space for a contest to choose a lucky child whose story will be read by a real astronaut from space later this year.