Bing Maps NAVTEQNA POI Entity Types Caution

Having recently completed a Windows 8 application using the Bing Maps Spatial Data Services, I just wanted to share some knowledge I had the opportunity of learning, “the hard way” regarding the Bing Maps POI Entity Types documentation for the NAVTEQNA data source. To any aspiring developer who is looking to query the Spatial Data Services to retrieve nearby bus stops – and there are quite a few of you because I have seen the posts on msdn and other sites, – regardless of what you might be led to believe/think, this currently cannot be done using the NAVTEQNA data source.

  • Yes, you can search for Transit routes via Bing Maps.
  • Yes, you can see bus stop information for almost any given route(s) the results of your transit search returns.
  • Yes, you would think that same data available in Microsoft’s’ Routing engine would also be available to query in a static form as a POI Entity Type just like bus stations, train stations, ATMs, restaurants, etc.

Sadly though, bus stops information in a static non real-time source is currently not available to query.  That being said, it wasn’t until after many hours of hard work and planning that I learned this key piece of information directly from Microsoft:

The POI data set that you are using would not contain the stops along a buses route.  I’m afraid we do not have a data set of bus stops that would satisfy your requirement.  The difficulty here would be sourcing the individual bus route information from every municipality in the US, which as far as I can tell has not been done, again, for bus stops, not transportation entities related to buses – such as stations. While our Routing engine does contain stop information, we do not have a static non real time version of it to query. My apologies if there was any confusion about this.

So, please do not be fooled by the POI Entity Types:

  • 4170 Bus Station
  • 9707 Public Transit Stop (the really confusing one)

Now that I’m done with all of my bad news, here’s some good that came from all of this:

If you need to return nearby bus stop information or POI information, as long as you have access to, or can create the GTFS data, you have the power to make your application work!

Simply use to create a custom data source. Then once your data has been verified and processed by Microsoft, point your application to query your data source you uploaded. For detailed information regarding this approach check out the Geocoding and Managing Data Sources page under “Bing Maps Account Center Help” on msdn. Hopefully this will help point at least one developer in the right direction, and save he or she a lot of time and frustration. 😉

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