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Virtual Earth signs MapData Sciences as reseller

Virtual Earth signs MapData Sciences as reseller

Microsoft rival to Google Maps expands access to business customers

Sydney-based reseller, MapData Sciences, has inked a deal with Microsoft to provide customised mapping solutions and support to business customers across Australasia.

MapData Sciences managing director, Laurie Edwards, wouldn't talk potential revenue but said the deal was significant from the reseller's standpoint.

"Virtual Earth is like Google Maps on steroids," he said. "You add that to the package of [MapData Science's] MapPoint Web Service, and you've got a business-grade Geographic Information Systems [GIS] online platform."

The Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) had already been used quite heavily by business and government sectors in the US, Europe, and North America too, Edwards said.

Virtual Earth was highly available, highly functional and had some fairly amazing traction, he said. MapData Sciences would punt Virtual Earth - which is a Windows Live platform - to local businesses that wanted to capture, connect, share and visualised geographical information.

It had aerial imaging, mapping, location and search functionality that appealed to businesses and consumers, Edwards said, but most of the business use so far was internal or B2B.

One consumer use was MyHome, an online service that lets property buyers search for a particular location and bring up all properties for sale in that area, even filtering by such things as price or proximity to certain facilities, such as train station or shopping. Demand for online mapping services was rising, Edwards said.

"We've put on six people and we're looking for a couple more," he said.

The reseller has about 35 people in its Sydney office. Microsoft and MapData Sciences had worked together for nearly seven years but this expands their relationship, Edwards said.

Microsoft online services strategy leader, Harvey Sanchez, was quoted in a statement as saying that the core targets for Virtual Earth in this deal were businesses and developers.

"However, the potential uses for this technology are endless by combining comprehensive support for customisation, richer features for end-users and new levels of control and flexibility in the platform," Sanchez said.


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