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.