Microsoft and NGA Announce Strategic Alliance
May 11, 2006
Microsoft Virtual Earth platform improves geospatial intelligence applications; hurricane-mapping site empowers first responders.

REDMOND, Wash. — May 11, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) today announced the signing of a Letter of Understanding to advance the design and delivery of geospatial information applications to customers. The NGA will use the Microsoft® Virtual Earth™ platform to provide geospatial support for humanitarian, peacekeeping and national-security efforts. The Virtual Earth platform is an integrated set of powerful online mapping and search services that deliver imagery through easy-to-program APIs. Geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) is the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the Earth.

“NGA is collaborating with Microsoft to accelerate the introduction of commercial virtual solutions into the GEOINT arena,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper Jr., director of the NGA. “This relationship will enable NGA to cooperate in the development of Microsoft’s mapping software and to explore commercial software solutions.”

“Microsoft is honored to work with the world’s foremost mapping organization — we have much to learn from them,” said Craig Mundie, chief technical officer of advanced strategies and policy at Microsoft. “We believe the combination of our experience delivering Web services with NGA’s unparalleled knowledge of the geospatial domain will significantly advance the creation of a truly virtual Earth.”

While Microsoft has been developing the Virtual Earth platform, NGA has been prototyping its own geodetically based and geospatially attributed knowledge base. By continuing to explore visualization concepts and develop user-requested imagery-related services, NGA and Microsoft will collaborate to provide enhanced geospatial services to their respective customers.

Currently, the two organizations believe they will both benefit from collaboratively implementing the latest technology and software applications and identifying best practices for the Virtual Earth and NGA global knowledge base.

The NGA recently used the Microsoft Virtual Earth platform to develop a mapping site for relief efforts surrounding Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast region. Using the Virtual Earth platform, the NGA was able to disseminate satellite imagery belonging to commercial imagery vendors, enabling first responders and agencies to view the affected areas.

Virtual Earth application programming interfaces (APIs) enable many technologies to run seamlessly together, providing powerful horizontal integration to the platform. The NGA will continue to collaborate with industry to create additional crisis response sites in preparation for future disasters around the world.

About Microsoft Virtual Earth

With the Virtual Earth platform, public and private-sector organizations can create an immersive online mapping and search experience that enables customers to easily discover, search, explore, share and visualize location data and locally relevant information. The Virtual Earth platform encompasses the next evolution of the MapPoint® Web Service offering with innovative new capabilities. Developers have the flexibility to tap into one of the two Virtual Earth APIs: MapPoint Web Service API using SOAP XML, for communicating with customer applications; and Virtual Earth Map Control, which enables users to make requests via JavaScript to an Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) map object.

About NGA

NGA is a Department of Defense combat support agency and a member of the National Intelligence Community whose mission is to provide timely, relevant and accurate GEOINT in support of our national security. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., NGA has major facilities in the Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia and St. Louis, Mo. Areas, with NGA support teams deployed worldwide.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft, Virtual Earth and MapPoint are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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