Washington D.C., USA, September 13, 2007: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has licensed the Microsoft Virtual Earth platform on which to develop its mission-critical geospatial and mapping applications. The commitment to Virtual Earth will improve data sharing, analysis and insight for partner agencies, citizens and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) on topics ranging from superfund sites and oil spills to waterways and the quality of beach water.
Previously, when the EPA sought to develop geospatial applications, the agency bought imagery from disparate sources to combine it with agency maps, often an intensely time-consuming and costly process. Virtual Earth provides not only three-dimensional city models and satellite and aerial imagery but bird’s-eye imagery, which gives users a unique 45-degree-angle perspective, a feature found only in Virtual Earth. Combined, these models and imagery allow agencies to build applications that layer business data directly over Virtual Earth imagery that is kept current by Microsoft Corp. For example, using Virtual Earth, the EPA is designing a Web-based mapping tool for anyone to access information on beach and water quality.
The benefits of Virtual Earth for the EPA will be both internal and external:
“Before we selected Microsoft’s Web-based Virtual Earth, the EPA relied on more expensive and cumbersome desktop applications,” said Pat Garvey, manager of the Facility Registry System at the EPA. “Our goal was to provide our customers a consistent, richer user experience. We can do that with Virtual Earth because its performance and imagery make it easy for us to focus on our core environmental-data and mission applications.”