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ESRI Expands Virtual Earth Access by Teaming with Microsoft

ArcGIS users to bring dynamic basemaps into analysis and service applications

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 start their GIS projects with ready-to-use content.

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.

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. Read more about using ArcGIS and Virtual Earth.

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.NETDJ News Desk monitors Microsoft .NET and its related technologies, including Silverlight, to present IT professionals with news, updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards, and insight.

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