Microsoft’s search engine Bing has launched a new map feature designed to make it easier for users to access information about health.

The Bing Health Map has been launched as part of an initiative that has seen the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Institute of Medicine release official data to software developers to enable them to produce novel applications that will make the statistics more useful to consumers.

Writing on Bing’s official blog, Alain Rappaport said the new feature allows users to overlay this data on to its maps to help them "better understand and visualise the health of a community".

Teamed with other applications, it could also assist people in making decisions to ensure better wellbeing.

With the Oodle Rental Map, for example, they could find homes suited to their particular health needs, such as apartments close to a hospital or even the potential number of smokers living in the locality based on HHS surveys.

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