ESRI Expands Virtual Earth Access in GIS by Teaming with Microsoft

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ArcGIS Users to Bring Dynamic Basemaps into Analysis and Service Applications

Operational data in ArcGIS can be laid over imagery layer from Virtual Earth.

ESRI and Microsoft share a long history of building geographic information systems solutions that combine both of our companies' strengths

A new agreement with Microsoft Corporation gives ArcGIS users fast access to Microsoft Virtual Earth for their geographic information system (GIS) projects. As part of ArcGIS Online at the ArcGIS 9.3.1 release, ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Server users will be able to connect directly to Virtual Earth and quickly start their GIS projects with ready-to-use content.

"Our agreement with Microsoft defines a pattern of sharing geospatial data on the Web that promises to grow the GIS community," says ESRI President Jack Dangermond. "By bringing Virtual Earth into their GIS projects, people will have a greater opportunity to perform spatial analysis based on dynamic data."

ArcGIS Desktop users who are current on maintenance and have an Internet connection will have access to Virtual Earth for a variety of up-to-date mapping content including aerial imagery, roads, and hybrid (aerial with labels) imagery. With a familiar look, imagery access will appear as another data layer in GIS. The imagery will provide excellent background maps on which users can overlay their operational data. This means users will be able to focus more on their business data than on its context.

For example, an electric utility can layer its distribution line data over a Virtual Earth aerial view of a neighborhood to create a map of its lines and customer connections. This Virtual Earth background layer is useful for editing the company's data and can be easily shared online with other company users.

ArcGIS users can build Web applications that support geospatial services through ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Web software developer kits (SDKs), including APIs for JavaScript, Flex, and Microsoft Silverlight. This enables them to provide their clients with access to Virtual Earth content from their applications.

"ESRI and Microsoft share a long history of building geographic information systems solutions that combine both of our companies' strengths," says Chris Sampson, director of Virtual Earth at Microsoft. "By integrating Microsoft Virtual Earth across all ESRI ArcGIS products, we can provide our mutual customers with spatial analysis software that has instant access to comprehensive geographic data that can only be found in a software plus services solution."

The agreement provides no-cost access to Virtual Earth content for ArcGIS Desktop 9.3.1 users on maintenance and a free 90-day Virtual Earth evaluation to ArcGIS Server users. After the 90-day evaluation, deployment for ArcGIS Server can be purchased through ESRI. In addition to the Virtual Earth map services, ArcGIS Server users will also be able to leverage Virtual Earth geocoding and place-finding capabilities.

ArcGIS users can preview Virtual Earth street maps, imagery, and hybrid map layers at http://resources.esri.com/arcgisonlineservices. Read more about using ArcGIS and Virtual Earth at http://www.esri.com/agolwhatsnew.

About ESRI
Since 1969, ESRI has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS, ESRI software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. ESRI applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world's mapping and spatial analysis. ESRI is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit us at http://www.esri.com.

ESRI, the ESRI globe logo, ArcGIS, GIS by ESRI, http://www.esri.com, and @esri.com are trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks of ESRI in the United States, the European Community, or certain other jurisdictions. Other companies and products mentioned herein may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective trademark owners.

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Barbara Shields
ESRI
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