May 18, 2006 2:38 PM PDT

Defense agency to use Microsoft's Virtual Earth

Microsoft is collaborating with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, a division of the Department of Defense, on its Virtual Earth technology.

The NGA wants to use the Virtual Earth technology "to provide geospatial support for humanitarian, peacekeeping and national security efforts," Microsoft said in a statement on Thursday.

In return, the Redmond, Wash., software giant hopes to gain from the organization's established knowledge of geospatial information and geodetics, the math and science of measuring portions of the Earth's topography, magnetic and gravitational variations, and geodynamic phenomenon.

The NGA is headquartered in Bethesda, Md., and "provides timely, relevant and accurate imagery, imagery intelligence and geospatial information in support of national security objectives," according to the government agency's Web site.

Microsoft also announced an agreement last week to provide its Virtual Earth technology to Real Tech, a provider of real estate tools. Similarly, the software giant in April signed a deal with Zillow to provide the real estate comparison Web site with Virtual Earth technology. At the time, Zillow explained that the Virtual Earth platform would provide it with both satellite and bird's-eye imagery.

Bird's-eye imagery is aerial photography taken from low-flying planes at a 45-degree angle, instead of from satellites, which give a different amount of detail.

While the NGA refers to itself as "a major combat support agency for the Department of Defense," it is unclear whether this technology will be applied to military strategy operations.

See more CNET content tagged:
agency, real estate, satellite, Microsoft Corp.

14 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Nice to see the government still likes to crawl into bed with MicroSoft
Will they also share this information with the rest of the software
community or is this going to be another closed proprietary effort
that cheats the mandated DoD open standards non-proprietary
requirements for software development. Coming from the one
Agency that should be supporting open standards and open
software so that the rest of the IC and DoD community including
our friends can all use the software without later owing their souls
to MS.
Posted by fastdodge (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nice to see the government still likes to crawl into bed with MicroSoft
Will they also share this information with the rest of the software
community or is this going to be another closed proprietary effort
that cheats the mandated DoD open standards non-proprietary
requirements for software development. Coming from the one
Agency that should be supporting open standards and open
software so that the rest of the IC and DoD community including
our friends can all use the software without later owing their souls
to MS.
Posted by fastdodge (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
yes, but who will get real-time?
Google Earth vs. Microsoft Virtual Earth (vs. Amazon A9 vs...)

All are, at the end of the day, comprised of archived static images
taken sometime in the past.

The real advantage comes when one can provide a LIVE view. The
question is - who will get that first?
Posted by (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
no no no..
UAV's will supply the imagery of the battlefield to the govt who will in near real time be able to supply that to the military planners with the MS software

in other words - it won't be you.
Posted by baswwe (299 comments )
Link Flag
yes, but who will get real-time?
Google Earth vs. Microsoft Virtual Earth (vs. Amazon A9 vs...)

All are, at the end of the day, comprised of archived static images
taken sometime in the past.

The real advantage comes when one can provide a LIVE view. The
question is - who will get that first?
Posted by (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
no no no..
UAV's will supply the imagery of the battlefield to the govt who will in near real time be able to supply that to the military planners with the MS software

in other words - it won't be you.
Posted by baswwe (299 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft is a good choice in DEFENSE?
Yeah, they do great against attacks! Sheesh.

Our government and our tax dollars at work:-(
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You guys are funny!
Bet the tin foil companies *LOVE* you guys!
Posted by KTLA_knew (385 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft is a good choice in DEFENSE?
Yeah, they do great against attacks! Sheesh.

Our government and our tax dollars at work:-(
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You guys are funny!
Bet the tin foil companies *LOVE* you guys!
Posted by KTLA_knew (385 comments )
Link Flag
lol, MS world is ancient
A couple of months ago MS was still showing the trade towers in a
New York shot. At least google keeps theirs more up to date.
Posted by curtegg (38 comments )
Reply Link Flag
lol, MS world is ancient
A couple of months ago MS was still showing the trade towers in a
New York shot. At least google keeps theirs more up to date.
Posted by curtegg (38 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What technology?
What technology are they talking about? The "technology" of having images tiled on a webserver, being accessed via a web client? That "technology?" AJAX? The oblique imagery technology? I just don't see what Microsoft could possibly offer the NGA with VirtualEarth. It's a nifty web application, but not technology. This article just offers no detail, and I have to think something is BS.
Posted by tom2275 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What technology?
What technology are they talking about? The "technology" of having images tiled on a webserver, being accessed via a web client? That "technology?" AJAX? The oblique imagery technology? I just don't see what Microsoft could possibly offer the NGA with VirtualEarth. It's a nifty web application, but not technology. This article just offers no detail, and I have to think something is BS.
Posted by tom2275 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.