EPA Chooses Microsoft Virtual Earth

James_Fee_IllustrationJames Fee wrote about the Sept 13 Microsoft announcement that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has licensed Microsoft Virtual Earth (for one year, with possible extension to two) for “mission critical” applications.  According to an article in Federal Computer Week (FCW), the partnership between Microsoft and ESRI contributed to the selection, as the EPA can leverage its existing ESRI GIS resources.

Why not Google Earth?  According to a Bloomberg interview with EPA’s Pat Garvey, the fact that GE requires that the user download an application, whereas VE is all browser based was a key factor.

mapdotnet_miamiAn alternative path to putting “real GIS” on the web with MS Virtual Earth (and ESRI’s geodatabase ArcSDE) is using ISC’s MapDotNet Server.  This product competes with ArcGIS Server, and according to the ISC blog  they were “kicked out” of the ESRI partner program last spring.

Microsoft VE vs. Google Maps

jonasson_side_by_sideTo compare the coverage offered by these two Web online mapping tools, a programmer, Ryan Jonasson, in South Dakota has come up with a “side-by-side” viewer. While Microsoft’s VE is really a cross between Google Maps and Google Earth (right now), it lacks detailed “aerial” views outside of the US, UK and France.  (The default on this viewer is “aerial”, so be sure to change to “road” if you zoom in to a European city.)

Coverage is changing every time the earth turns.  Google Lat Long announced (Sept 15) detailed maps of 54 more countries, from Aruba, to Iran and Iraq, to Yemen.  Here’s a list of the new Google countries: Continue reading ‘Microsoft VE vs. Google Maps’

Update 30/5/2018:  None of the links above work any more. Both Bing and Google maps have greatly evolved.  Back then, it was early days. Here’s a more recent comparison of features Bing maps vs. google
In June 2017, MakeUseOF published this comparison of alternatives to Google Maps: Six Google Maps Alternatives. These include Bing, Waze, OpenStreetMap, Mapquest, Rand McNally, and Here. Pros and cons for all. More about this later.
And then there is maps.me