EPA chooses Virtual Earth

The Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S.  has a large number of geospacial apps for things such as oil spills, beach water quality, etc.

Today they announced that they’ll be using Virtual Earth as the platform for these applications.  The reasons for choosing Virtual Earth over Google Earth weren’t clear, but two things stuck out:

  1. “Virtual Earth is the only existing platform that offers developers and end users the ability to work with and view satellite, aerial, oblique and 3-D imagery of the Earth.” – Is the Bird’s Eye view that important for something like this?
  2. “Before we selected Microsoft’s Web-based Virtual Earth, the EPA relied on more expensive and cumbersome desktop applications” — That almost sounds like a shot at Google Earth, but I don’t think it is.

I’m still not sure why they chose VE over GE, but it seems that for this type of application either platform would do the job.  It might just be a matter of preference, rather than a specific need that was filled, but I’d be curious to know for sure.

Comments

  1. The GIS world is gaga over Google Earth. Yes, it’s cool but most of the real world (business/government) don’t need a heavy desktop application to do simple mapping applications.

    In my experience, google is not setup to do business. Tried contacting them and their people were unresponsive and didn’t know their product.

    At least MS seems to have a business plan (pricing etc..).

  2. regardign why EPA chose to go with the VE paltform – I don’t know for sure, but as i said on my blog today (virtualearth.spaces.live.com) I suspect it might be due to having an API for 3D in a web browser. just a guess – each organization is different and considers a lot of factors when choosing their dev tools and platform – support options, licensing, languages supported, runtime environments etc…

  3. Joe – I agree that GE is a heavy desktop app, but VE is a rather heavy web app. Still, if you’re in a Windows-only environment, VE is probably an easier way to go. The biggest downside is that you can’t run 3D on Mac/Linux.

    Steve – Also a good point about the browser. That’s a big shortcoming of GE/Gmaps – no 3D in the browser (without crazy plug-ins). VE does it out of the box.

    You also make good points about support, licensing, etc. I’d be curious to know if that was a factor, and if so, how.

  4. “Before we selected Microsoft’s Web-based Virtual Earth, the EPA relied on more expensive and cumbersome desktop applications”— That almost sounds like a shot at Google Earth, but I don’t think it is. (Mickey)

    I am pretty sure that this statement does not refer to GE being being a cumbersome desktop application nor is it a stab at GE. The comment is actually aimed at an entirely different software company, ESRI. ESRI’s ArcInfo was previously used and the EPA had/has a strong relationship with ESRI (who actually played a part in pairing the EPA with VE)

    http://apb.directionsmag.com/archives/3354-ESRI-enables-EPAMicrosoft-Virtual-Earth-Deal.html

Leave a Reply