A U.S. Department of Defense agency and Microsoft will collaborate to improve Microsoft’s Virtual Earth mapping program for military and non-military purposes, the Redmond, Wash., company announced Thursday.
Microsoft signed a letter of understanding with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which is a “Department of Defense combat support agency,” the company said.
Microsoft and NGA will use Virtual Earth, part of Microsoft’s Windows Live, for tasks such as guiding relief efforts for natural disasters. The program was used during Hurricane Katrina last year to direct first responders and government branches, Microsoft said.
Neither party specified the potential military applications of Virtual Earth or its application programming interfaces beyond “national security efforts.”
-Steven Schwankert, IDG News Service
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