Microsoft launched its Windows Live Local service today which is a mapping service similar Google Maps but built atop Virtual Earth with nifty new features. It’s actually very cool. I particularly like the bird’s eye view option that goes beyond the top-down aerial views of the current crop of services like Mapquest, Yahoo Maps and Google Maps by rendering areas with perspective. Here’s a screenshot showing the bird’s eye view of our neighborhood:
There is also a really nice (though 2-year old) view of the MIT courtyard & dome:
One could spend hours getting familiar with their immediate and remote environs.