Visio and Bing Maps for Travel Photos

I am not sure how to categorise this article because it covers Visio, Bing Maps and travel.  I went to Pisa and Florence for a weekend break this month, and took many photos that I stitched together with Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor).  Well, I wanted to show-off these photos as I have done on previous articles, but I wasn’t satisfied with how I presented them before. so I re-used and adapted some of my previous work (see!3350D61BC93733A9!1005.entry), and some of John Goldsmith’s (see, and one of Chris Roth’s blogs (see

Firstly, I couldn’t resist taking this photo of a bollard, on the Lungarno Amerigo Vesspucci in Florence, that has been used over and over again to lock-up locals motorbikes:


I created a series of panoramic images using Microsoft ICE, and then located them on Bing Maps.  I created two Bing Maps Collections (we flew into Pisa airport on the way to Florence for the weekend)  :

Florence :!2115

Pisa :!2100

I created a Camera Position master in Visio, and adapted my previous code to import the KML files from the above Bing Map collections into Visio.

image I can adjust the splay and angle of the camera to approximate the vista covered by the panoramic views.

I then saved the Visio 2010 document (two pages) as web pages, and altered the frameset.js file, as shown by John, so that the PhotoUrl is displayed as a thumbnail, and the MoreInfoUrl and Bing Maps Url links are available in the Details panel.


In addition, clicking on a Camera Position shape opens the Deep Zoom web page for that view.

Here is the final output: 

Enjoy (I hope).

Creating Linked Timelines From Project

A recent newsgroup question asked if it is possible to create shapes in Visio 2007 that are linked to tasks in a timeline in Project …. without lots of coding!  Well, that sounds like a challenge that I can’t resist, so here goes!

First, I am using Microsoft Project 2007 and I have loaded the Commercial Construction sample project that is in the Visio SDK.


The first part of the process is to export the project to a suitable format that can be used as a data source in Visio 2007 Pro.  I chose to Save As a Microsoft Excel Pivot Table, and selected the Tasks type of data.  I then chose to Base on Table … Rollup Table:

image When the export has finished, you will get a workbook with two worksheets.  The second one contains a pivot table…

image … but the first one contains a table that we can use as a data source in Visio:

image Next, I started a new blank document in Visio, and changed the Page Setup to be:

  • Print Setup / Printer paper = Landscape
  • Drawing Scale / Pre-defined scale = Metric / 1 : 2.5
  • Page Properties / Measurement units = Days

I then selected Data / Link Data to Shapes, and selected the Excel Workbook that I just created, and chose Task_Table1$ as the range.  I selected Next, accepting the default for the Columns and Rows, but I added Resource_Names to the Unique Identifier, as well as the ID …


After selecting Finish on the Data Selector, I dragged the first record onto the empty page, and dropped it.


I ensured that I had Developer Mode ticked in Tools / Options / Advanced.  Then I defined a new Shape Data row, called EarliestDate, for the page.  This needs to be set as a Date Type row.

image I then entered the date that is one day less than that in my project.

image I then resized the rectangle and edited its Data Graphic to display a few of the fields, and I used the Resource_Names as Color By Value.


I then opened the ShapeSheet of the rectangle, and amended the following cell formulas:

  • LocPinX = 0
  • PinX=GUARD((Prop._VisDM_Start_Date-ThePage!Prop.EarliestDate)*(ThePage!PageScale/ThePage!DrawingScale))


I then altered the X fomulas in the second and third rows of the Geomtery1 section with the following:


This has the effect of altering the width of the coloured rectangle, without changing the width of the shape.  This is important because the width of the Visio 2007 Data Graphic is linked to the width of the shape …. something that has been fixed in Visio 2010.

I then opened the Shapes Document Stencil so that I could drag the Data Linked rectangle onto it.

imageI then renamed this Master as Resource Task, and ticked Match master name on drop.

I then deleted the existing Rectangle master … it is no longer needed.

I could then select the new Master, and drag and drop rows from the External Data window onto the page, knowing that the horizontal position is linked to the start date, and the width of the coloured rectangle is linked to the duration.

image Okay, I played with the scale and width of the master a little, until I was happy, and I have not yet created a header shape for the timeline, but I think this blog answered the original question…

MVP Conference 2010 and Visio Services

I went to the annual MVP Conference in February, and had a really good time, as usual.  It is great to see so many people who give their time and expertise for free in all areas of technology, but the highlight for me (besides the skiing on the Saturday) has to be meeting with the Visio product team for two days.  We really feel that they listen to us, and we like to hear what they might be considering for the future.  I presented my take on the forthcoming validation API in Visio 2010 Premium (did I mention I am writing a book about it?), and others presented their areas of interest.  One bit of Visio that stood out was the potential of Visio Services with SharePoint 2010.  Obviously the Microsoft Visio team were excited about this, and the Visio MVPs are relishing it too, but what about the rest of the world?  Well, I think the message is getting out … hopefully Visio will no longer be Microsoft’s best kept secret!

For example, in December I noticed that Dave McMahon of the very active NxtGen User Group ( ) presented about Visio Services.  I was unable to see his presentation but he has blogged about it (see!59F714755D6E2A69!809.entry).  Very nice article … I look forward to Part 2 :-)

I think that SharePoint (and web) developers will now see how compelling data-linked diagrams are, and hopefully will demand more and better Visio diagrams.  Microsoft are moving Visio into the Business Intelligence division now (which is where I always thought it should be anyway).  We Visio developers have got to embrace this wave, or we will get over-looked, and others will attempt to produce visualizations without the richness that we could offer.

To this end, I have managed to create a dual boot laptop with Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 Server which has SharePoint 2010 with Visio Services, so that I can explore the possibilities opened up by this new Visio SharePoint integration, and I will be presenting some of which I discover at the Microsoft TechDays in April (see ).

I will be writing some blogs about Visio Services in SharePoint 2010 in the future but for now, please check out these resources:

Title URL
Visio Insights – Introducing Visio Services
Visio Insights – No Code Mashups with Visio Services and Web Part Connections
Visio Insights – The Visio Services JavaScript Mashup API
Visio Insights – Using a Visio Process Repository
Visio Insights – Publishing Diagrams to Visio Services
Visio Insights – Embedding a Web Drawing in a SharePoint Page
Visio Insights – Installing and Configuring Visio Services
TechNet –

Manage a Visio Graphics Service service application (SharePoint Server 2010)
TechNet – Plan for Visio Services (SharePoint Server 2010)

Finally, here is a superfluous photo from my time at the MVP Conference – well post-conference actually. Left to right : Jonny and Richard Smith (Microsoft – thanks for the Nordic skiing), me, Michel LaPlane (MVP Visio in France), Lamie Kim (not an MVP from S.Korea), and Scott Helmers (Visio MVP USA) – all enjoying PFChang’s in Bellevue!



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