Microsoft reportedly moving away from HERE Maps 3D imagery

Microsoft has introduced a new 3D style for images of popular buildings and monuments to Windows Insiders on the Fast ring. It seems like the company is moving away from 3D Imagery from HERE Maps to focus on their own 3D rendering.

If you have been using the Windows 10 Maps app on the latest Insider builds lately, you may have spotted that 3D buildings look somewhat different. Insiders on the Fast ring (5.1611.10447.0) see monuments such as the Eiffel Tower in rendered vector block form.

On the current version of the app on the production ring (5.1611.3342.0), the Eiffel Tower is depicted with a realistic 3D image. Despite the fact that vector graphics are less impressive, it seems like Microsoft has managed to render many more buildings in 3D form.

As you can see in the image below, Microsoft has rendered not only the Eiffel Tower but the surround buildings as well. Currently, this may appear as a regression, however, the company should be able to improve how points of interest look in the future.

Eiffel Tower Fast Ring-Production Ring comparison
The Eiffel Tower 3D imagery as it appears on the current version of Windows 10 Maps app (left) compared to the vector block image appearing on the Fast ring (right)

HERE WeGo vs. Windows 10 Maps

HERE and Microsoft have a long history of working together. In February 2013, Nokia -HERE’s former owner- announced that HERE Maps, HERE Drive and HERE Transit would be available to the Windows Store.

In April 2015, Microsoft unveiled its Universal Maps app for Windows 10, in an attempt to enrich its map services which already include Bing Maps. However, back in July 2016, HERE ended support for its various Windows Phone apps and a few weeks later rebranded to Here WeGo.

Microsoft still uses HERE’s map data for its native maps applications, however, the Redmond giant has already moved away from HERE’s apps and is focusing on the Windows 10 Maps app.

HERE WeGo is a free app which helps users navigate cities without great effort. Support for the app for Windows 10 Mobile has been discontinued since last March, while the Windows Phone version only receives critical updates. The app is available for iOS and Android users.

The Windows 10 Maps app is described by Microsoft as an app which helps users find their way with voice navigation while allowing them to download maps to use when they’re offline. Windows 10 Maps is a UWP app, available on Xbox One, Windows Holographic, PC, and mobile devices.