The URI scheme for maps application has been around for a while, but because it's buried off with other XML schema, it can easily escape notice. So I wanted to raise awareness of it, as it's very useful for apps that have specific mapping requirements but don't necessarily need to build maps directly into the app. By activating protocols with the bingmaps: scheme, you'll launch the Maps app or any other that wants to implement the scheme itself.

Speaking of Bing Maps, check out the preview SDK on that has added three new capabilities:

  • Optical character recognition (OCR) control, which has exciting possibilities for document reading when combined with the Text to Speech API.
  • Maps 2D Control (this is an update to the existing control that doesn't work with Windows 8.1 Preview apps)
  • Translator Control, with support for 40 languages.

From what I can see, the OCR control is only supported in XAML apps at present; the other two are more general, but I haven't verified that.