VirtualEarthKit is a framework to allow Cocoa developers to communicate with Microsoft Virtual Earth. Microsoft Virtual Earth provides a wide range of services, including geocoding, reverse geocoding, map imagery, route guidance, and business lookup.

VirtualEarthKit is first platform to make use of Microsoft's Virtual Earth Web Services, which allows 3rd parties to access Virtual Earth's Services. It is also the first toolkit to implement Virtual Earth Web Services support on a platform other than Microsoft Windows. VirtualEarthKit supports both 32 bit and 64 bit Mac OS X targets, in addition to the iPhone simulator and the iPhone hardware.

Dependencies for VirtualEarthKit have also been minimized in order to keep VirtualEarthKit portable for different OS X platforms. VirtualEarthKit uses LibXML for constructing all SOAP requests. To facilitate clean integration with Cocoa and the iPhone SDK, VirtualEarthKit requires the CoreLocation framework. Fortunetly, VirtualEarthKit for Mac OS X uses Philippe Casgrain's re-implementation of CoreLocation for Mac OS X. Integration with CoreLocation allows developers for the iPhone platform to use VirtualEarthKit cleanly with the phone's GPS implementation.

In the near future we will also be releasing map views for both Mac OS X and the iPhone. The iPhone map view has full gesture support, including panning and pinching.

VirtualEarthKit is an independent project from Microsoft. Although we work closely with Microsoft, the project is fully managed by Consonance Software, and is available under the canadian pharmacy BSD license. Use of VirtualEarthKit in a shipping application requires a Virtual Earth account to be obtained from Microsoft. An evaluation account can be obtained for free. Direct pulling of artwork or map tiles from Microsofts servers without authenticating a Virtual Earth account is not condoned by Microsoft.