Microsoft has updated its Live Search Maps service to include three-dimensional, photo-realistic views of New York City buildings and landscapes along with eight other US and international cities, putting the service ahead of Google Maps at least in the 3D mapping arena.

The free online service will provide a unique look at many of New York’s iconic locations, along with local listings, ratings and reviews and driving directions to help people easily find, discover, plan and share relevant location information that is important to them on the Web. The 3-D imagery of New York City will debut along with similar aerial perspectives of several other Canadian, U.K. and U.S. cities, with many more cities worldwide expected to be available by the end of summer.
The Live Search Maps 3D New York cityscape also provides Real-time traffic incident and driving directions incorporated into maps, Custom maps and lists of places that people can create for their own use or to share with others, Yellow Pages listings, location and contact information, consumer ratings and reviews for New York City businesses, and aerial views of Times Square, Central Park, Wall Street, Rockefeller Plaza and dozens of other famous spots.