Microsoft has been collecting detailed maps of the United States over the past two years and the project is reaching its conclusion this week. The Global Ortho Project kicked off in the Spring of 2010 with an ambitious promise to map every square inch of the Continental United States and Western Europe at 30cm resolution. Microsoft is announcing today that the US side of the project is complete, providing high-resolution imagery across Bing Maps.

Over the past several months we've seen hundreds of terabytes of new high-resolution imagery added to Bing Maps across the United States, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere. The software maker has been collecting imagery using specially modified aircraft and an Ultracam camera to capture data that would stretch around the world 999 times or to the moon 104 times. The results are stunning, with the high-resolution imagery providing clearer aerial views and Bing's Bird's eye feature for a unique perspective from above.

Although the imagery is all available on Bing Maps, we asked a company spokesperson about any future integration with Nokia's Maps — but Microsoft isn't discussing its plans. Nokia Maps will play a large role in Windows Phone 8, with the service becoming the default mapping experience for Microsoft's mobile operating system. Ultimately, it will be interesting to see how Microsoft and Nokia handle their shared services and integrate the best parts of both map systems. For now though, Microsoft is pushing ahead with its Western Europe maps which it hopes to have complete by the end of the year.