Google Microsoft satellite deal

The other day this turned into a big debate. To where the other person felt I was being a know it all. Honestly though I'm not aware of a deal that has been struck for Microsoft to use any satellites that Google may have access to for use with Windows Live Local map service powered by Virtual Earth. I spent a good amount of time the other day trying to find any mention of such a deal taking place. I'd tend to think that if this had occurred it would in fact be big news. To me it seems that if an agreement had taken place. It would be Google needing access to what Microsoft has. Yet since both these companies are extremely competitive. I'd find it highly unusual if they had struck a deal to help one another. Although we have seen this take place in the past with other companies. Microsoft has lent a hand to the competition and vice versa a time or two. So is there anyone out there that can point me to a Google Microsoft satellite usage agreement? The person who swears I'm clueless has stated they read this in relation to a stock report ( prospectus ). I'm fully aware I don't know everything and that I can miss major news. I just have a feeling I'd remember something like this if I had come across it previously. I'll include a good amount of facts in relation to both companies and their map services below.

There is no information on any type of deal for Microsoft to use Google satellites linked when using Google Finance.

Using Google's own search engine with multiple searches provides no such information either. But below you will find a very detailed history of the providers both companies use for their map services. Along with much of the history involved.

Using Google's own press release list that goes back to 1999. There is no press release announcing such a deal. I would find it rather odd that such a major deal wouldn't warrant a press release. A press release would be standard practice for both companies if a deal had been struck.

What is TerraServer?

The TerraServer-USA Web site is one of the world's largest online databases, providing free public access to a vast data store of maps and aerial photographs of the United States. TerraServer is designed to work with commonly available computer systems and Web browsers over slow speed communications links. The TerraServer name is a play on words, with 'Terra' referring  to the 'earth' or 'land' and also to the terabytes of images stored on the site.

Exploring our planet by studying maps and images is a fascinating experience! Not surprisingly, the first place many people visit is their own neighborhood. You also might want to take a look at famous places such as our National Parks or your favorite sports parks. TerraServer is also a valuable resource for researchers who was to study geography, environmental issues or archeological mysteries…there are almost limitless possibilities.

You can easily navigate the enormous amount of information in TerraServer by selecting a location on a map or entering a place name. And now, a new Web service–called TerraServer.NET–enables Web developers to easily integrate TerraServer data into their own applications.

TerraServer is operated by the Microsoft Corporation as a research project for developing advanced database technology, and was born at the Microsoft Bay Area Research Center. TerraServer's foundation is Microsoft SQL Server 2000, the complete relational database management and analysis system for building scalable e-commerce, line-of-business, and data warehousing solutions.

Equipment and additional software is provided by the Hewlett-Packard Corporation and other partners. See Technology Behind the Site for more information. Maps and images are supplied through our partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey.

The TerraServer team welcomes your comments. You can write us at [email protected].

The similarly named TerraServer USA is operated by the Microsoft Corporation as a research project for developing advanced database technology. You can easily navigate the enormous amount of information in TerraServer by selecting a location on a map or entering a place name. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) provides the Microsoft TerraServer site with images and maps of the United States. The images are in the public domain, and are freely available for you to download, use and re-distribute.

Orbimage Inc. has agreed to provide satellite pictures of Earth for Microsoft Corp.'s upcoming MSN Virtual Earth service, which would eventually have access to photos that could show manhole covers in Manhattan, an Orbimage spokesman said Thursday.

Virtual Earth, which is scheduled to launch this summer, would compete with Google Inc.'s Google Earth service, launched in beta Tuesday. Both companies plan to integrate satellite images of places in their local-search services.

Orbimage, based in Dulles, Va., currently has two photo-gathering satellites. The images that will be fed to Microsoft are capable of showing aerial views of buildings and streets, but not any ground-level details, Timothy Puckorious, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Orbimage, said.

Orbimage, based in Dulles, Va., currently has two photo-gathering satellites. The images that will be fed to Microsoft are capable of showing aerial views of buildings and streets, but not any ground-level details, Timothy Puckorious, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Orbimage, said.

“If you were butt naked sunning on your roof, it wouldn't see that,” Puckorious said of the satellite.

That, however, would change in the first half of 2007, when Orbimage plans to launch its OrbView-5 satellite, which will deliver the highest resolution possible.

“The resolution will be so good that you will be able to count manhole covers in Manhattan,” Puckorious said.

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are focusing heavily on local search, which studies show is often used by consumers looking for products and services in their cities and towns. As a result, the service is attractive to advertisers.

Yahoo does not offer aerial views, like Google and MSN. The former gets its photos from Keyhole Corp., a digital-mapping company that Google acquired last year. Besides Orbimage, Microsoft gets its photos from TerraServer USA, a research project operated by Microsoft.

For most consumers, the satellite photos provide a general view of the area around a specific location. In addition, Google and Microsoft are adding layers of data, such as businesses, road names, highway signs and more.

In the fall, Microsoft plans to add pictures of locations taken at different angles by low flying airplanes, Lombardi said. Microsoft is licensing the pictures from Pictometry International Corp.

Orbimage, which is a subsidiary of Orbimage Holdings Inc., currently gets about half its revenue from government contracts, Puckorious said. The Microsoft deal, however, potentially delivers a broader audience.

Microsoft's Vexcel buy maps out next Google hit  InfoWorld  News  2006-05-04  By Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service

To boost its local search and online mapping services, Microsoft has acquired a company that makes products for creating maps from aerial and satellite photographs.

Microsoft on Thursday announced its acquisition of Vexcel Corp. without disclosing the deal's financial details. Microsoft expects that Vexcel's products and technologies will strengthen its Windows Live Local service for finding local business listings and displaying online maps.

Microsoft and all other major search engine operators, including Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., AOL Inc. and, have local search services integrated with online maps and are intensely interested in the increasing ad spending attracted by these Web sites.

Orbimage To Provide Microsoft With Satellite Images Of Earth – E-business & Business Technology News by TechWeb

ORBIMAGE Acquires Space Imaging The Past and the Future – Articles

Some of those assets include the IKONOS satellite but other, more important ones for ORBIMAGE, include SI's network of ground stations and resellers.The substantial partner base is a result of SI being the first in orbit with a 1 meter satellite.In 1999, the company successfully downloaded its first imagery.ORBIMAGE expects to retain an SI presence in Thornton, Colorado, SI headquarters, and hopes to keep many of the personnel, many of whom have military clearance.

An acquisition has been coming for some time.Lockheed Martin and Raytheon revealed in 2003 that they would put no further funding into the company after writing off millions.SI sold off its commercial and civilian value-added solutions business unit to Sanborn earlier this year.

Another variable always looming in the commercial use of imagery is the potential effect of Google and Microsoft.Will the educative effect of Google Earth/Maps and Virtual Earth regarding the applications and commercial benefits of satellite imagery prompt more licenses to be sold? Or will users simply take advantage of Google's and Microsoft's APIs (which in the case of Microsoft include free use for commercial apps)? No matter what the impact of these players, the bottom line is that the world now has but two choices for 1 meter commercial imagery, and ORBIMAGE and DigitalGlobe will no doubt try to outwit, “out-productize” and out-market one another in the coming months.

Google buys satellite image firm Keyhole  Tech News on ZDNet

Keyhole, founded in 2001, offers software that lets Internet users view geographic images collected from satellites and airplanes. The technology relies on a multiterabyte database of mapping information.

The software gives users the ability to zoom in from space level; in some cases, it can zoom in all the way to a street-level view. The company does not have high-resolution imagery for the entire globe, but its Web site offers a list of cities that are available for more detailed viewing. The company has focused most on covering large metropolitan areas in the United States and is working to expand its coverage.

The software lets viewers tilt and rotate an image. Users can also search for information such as the locations of hotels, parks, ATMs and subways.


GIS providers face down advances by Microsoft Google

Since chairman Bill Gates gave Virtual Earth the green light five months ago, Microsoft has built the site, folded its MapPoint software group and several researchers into a new group inside MSN, and gone on a hiring spree that will see the team grow to maybe 70 people. Microsoft plans to integrate Virtual Earth with its MSN travel and auto sites and wants to negotiate deals with companies to put their logos on the satellite images, which come from TerraServer, a Microsoft site that was one of the first to make satellite photography accessible to large numbers of online users. Microsoft plans to update Virtual Earth this fall with close-up cityscape photos and more-detailed satellite images.

TerraServer®.com was founded in 1997 in Raleigh, North Carolina with the simple purpose of finding a commercial market for satellite imagery. Aerial Images, TerraServer®.com’s predecessor, helped seed the company’s image database when it forged a relationship with SOVINFORMSPUTNIK, a Russian company with a cache of 2 meter, panchromatic satellite imagery (SPIN-2).

It was this relationship that yielded a series of high-resolution satellite images of Area 51, Groom Lake, Nellis Air Force base, and the Nevada Proving Grounds. On April 17, 2000 TerraServer®.com became the first to release these images to the general public, spawning a wave of publicity (it was the lead story on the CBS Evening News) and enough Internet traffic to down a major Internet provider for over 12 hours.

In recent years, TerraServer®.com has dramatically expanded its image selection by forging relationships with the leading image providers in the industry. The result is the greatest selection and highest quality imagery found anywhere.

Key terraXsite data sets and features:
 Over 300 Terabytes of satellite and aerial images covering the entire United States. All areas feature 1 meter per pixel aerial photography, with most metropolitan areas covered with 1 foot per pixel color photography.
 National coverage of USGS topographic maps at 1:100K and 1:24K scale.
 National coverage of FEMA 3Q digital flood maps.
 Over 78 Million tax assessor records collected from over 1000 municipalities nationwide.
 Demographic data from the 1990 & 2000 Census, as well as current year updates, five year projections, and current year consumer expenditures data.
 National coverage of school information.
 Tools for measurement, calculating acreage, determining flood zones, downloading images, and much more.

O'Reilly Radar  Where 2.0 Compare Google Maps with Virtual Earth

TerraServer-USA – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The “link to this page” link on each Google Maps map targets a URL which can be used to find the location on the map at a later time. The latitude and longitude can be used as input to NASA World Wind or TerraServer-USA, which in some cases have higher-resolution imagery.

Google Maps – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A big part of the change is that, when zoomed out, the Earth's land masses will look more green because Google is now using a dataset from a company called TrueEarth.

© 1988–2006 Microsoft Corporation and/or its suppliers. All rights reserved.

The following notices and company information have been provided by our suppliers.


Mapping data © 2006 NAVTEQ. All rights reserved.

This data includes information taken with permission from Canadian authorities, including © Her Majesty, © Queen's Printer for Ontario.

© 1993–2006 NAVTEQ B.V. All rights reserved. Source: Géoroute® IGN France & BD Carto® IGN France. Die Grundlagendaten wurden mit Genehmigung der zuständigen Behörden entnommen. Based on Ordnance Survey electronic data and used with the permission of the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationary Office © Crown Copyright, 2006. La Banca Dati Italiana è stata prodotta usando quale rifermento anche cartografia numerica ed al tratto drodatta e fornita dalla Regione Toscane. © 2006 Norwegian Mapping Authority. Source: IgeoE – Portugal. Información geográfica propiedad del CNIG. Based upon electronic data © National Land Survey Sweden. Topografische Grundlage: © Bundesamt für Landestopographie.


© 2006 Tele Atlas NV. All rights reserved.


The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) provides Live Local Search with high resolution ortho-imagery of the United States. Live Local hosts two USGS imagery products, Urban Area and Digital Ortho Quadrangle (DOQ), which have been stitched into a seamless mosaic.

The Urban Area data is high-resolution—1 foot to 2 foot per pixel—natural color imagery of a number of major cities. The Urban Area data-set was produced in cooperation with the National Geospatial Agency (NGA) program that began in 2002.

The DOQ data is high-resolution—1 meter per pixel—grayscale imagery (black and white) that covers 96 percent of the conterminous United States (48 states not including Alaska and Hawaii).

Both Urban Area and DOQ data-sets are available for printing and downloading at or


Blue Marble Next Generation courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory Team.

Everyone knows that NASA studies space; fewer people know that NASA also studies Earth. In celebration of the deployment of its Earth Observing System, NASA is pleased to share the newest in its series of stunning Earth images, affectionately named the “Blue Marble” with Live Local. This new Earth imagery enhances the Blue Marble legacy by providing a detailed look at an entire year in the life of our planet. In sharing these Blue Marble images, NASA hopes the public will join with the agency in its continuing exploration of our world from the unique perspective of space. To learn more about the development of NASA’s imagery of the Earth as a whole, read the History of the Blue Marble.
Blue Marble: Next Generation was produced by Reto Stöckli, NASA Earth Observatory (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center). See The Blue Marble Next Generation—A true color Earth dataset including seasonal dynamics from MODIS (880 KB PDF) for technical details about the Blue Marble Next Generation.


© 2006 Pictometry International Corporation. All rights reserved.

Pictometry International Corp is the worldwide leader in digital, aerial oblique imagery and measuring software. The company’s patented imaging process captures georeferenced, high-resolution oblique (at an angle, three-dimension-like) and orthogonal (straight down) digital images of counties and states. Combined with the company’s interactive software solution, users can see everywhere, measure anything, and plan everything. Pictometry is the exclusive provider to Microsoft of oblique aerial images for use on Live Local, with resolution up to 6 inches per pixel. Additional information on pictometry can be found on the Pictometry Web site.


© 2006 Harris Corporation. All rights reserved.

Harris ImageLinks is a worldwide leader in supplying datasets created from a variety of satellite, aerial, and other image sources to be used for complex visualization applications. ImageLinks has developed a suite of digital terrain data sets taking advantage of its long heritage of providing geospatial technologies and solutions for commercial and government customers. ImageLinks is part of Harris Government Communications Systems Division, which conducts advanced research studies, develops prototypes, and produces and supports state-of-the-art, assured communications™ solutions and information systems that solve the mission-critical challenges of its government customers, while serving as the technology base for Harris Corporation's diverse commercial businesses.


© 2006 Earthstar Geographics LLC. All rights reserved.

Earthstar Geographics is a full service consulting firm specializing in products and services for the geospatial data industries. Earthstar developed and offers the TerraColor global 15-meter satellite imagery products and offers software sales, consulting, and training services for satellite image processing and remote sensing applications. Earthstar has over 20 years experience in remote sensing and image processing and has performed projects and training in 15 countries worldwide.


© 2006 GeoEye. All rights reserved.

Headquartered in Dulles, VA in the United States, GeoEye is the world’s largest commercial satellite imagery company, delivering the highest quality, most accurate imagery and products to better map, measure, monitor, and manage the world. GeoEye was formed as a result of ORBIMAGE’s acquisition of Space Imaging in January 2006. The company is the premier provider of geospatial data, information, and value-added products for the national security community, strategic partners, resellers, and commercial customers. GeoEye operates a constellation of three Earth imaging satellites—OrbView-2, OrbView-3, and IKONOS—and possesses an international network of more than a dozen regional ground stations, a robust image archive, and advanced geospatial imagery processing capabilities that are unmatched in the satellite imagery industry. Its products are the cornerstone of the remote-sensing industry enabling a wide array of applications including intelligence gathering for national security and defense, mapping, local government planning, and natural resources and environmental monitoring. For more information, visit the GeoEye website.


Getmapping PLC is the leading supplier of aerial photography in the United Kingdom. The company was established in 1998 to create and maintain the first complete, full-color, digital aerial photographic map of Great Britain, the Millennium Map. The Millennium Map is fully orthorectified, has a pixel resolution of 25 cm, and the photography is constantly being updated. Since 2004, Getmapping has been using a large format digital camera that has increased the standard pixel resolution to 15 cm.

Getmapping is a reseller of Ordnance Survey mapping and Intermap height data of the United Kingdom. The company also sells a wide range of general interest products, including aerial photo prints and jigsaw puzzles, flight simulator scenery, and three-dimensional photographic software for outdoor leisure activities.

Getmapping PLC
Virginia Villas, High Street
Hartley Wintney
Hampshire, England
RG27 8NW
Tel: +44 (0)870 7740174
E-mail: [email protected]


© 2006 EarthData. All rights reserved.

EarthData is a remote sensing, mapping, and GIS services organization that provides clients with customized products and solutions to support a wide range of land-use and natural resource management activities. Equipped with state-of-the-art technologies, EarthData collects and transforms information about the earth’s surface into spatially correct mapping products for use in either GIS or design and engineering environments. EarthData offers aerial data acquisition (digital and conventional imaging, lidar, radar, and multispectral), data processing (digital orthophotography, DEM/DTM development, topographic/planimetric mapping), and GIS (application development, Web hosting, programming, three-dimensional urban modeling, and so on) services.

EarthData International, LLC
7320 Executive Way
Frederick, MD 21704
Tel: 301-948-8550
Fax: 301-963-2064
E-mail: [email protected]


Blom ASA
Blom is Europe’s largest aerial photography and mapping group producing geospatial data with 11 companies in 10 countries, employing 700 staff. The group provides both contracted services and on-demand GIS datasets to meet all commercial and government user requirements. By using specialized aerial and mapping technology that includes LiDAR, multispectoral scanning, and digital imagery, the group provides services throughout the world to support land registration, land development, and engineering applications. The group’s skills and capabilities are diverse and cover every sector of government, business, and consumer information, all within a geographic context and delivered in a digital format.


© 2006, Inc. All rights reserved. is a leading provider of accurate, real-time traffic information in the United States, based on the quality of its traffic data and the extent of its geographic coverage. offers detailed traffic information, including specific speeds, travel times, and delay times. A sophisticated traffic information management system enables to process information in real time and deliver customized reports to large numbers of radio, television, Internet, wireless, and in-vehicle navigation system users.


© 2006 AND International Publishers NV. All rights reserved.

Founded in 1984, AND (AEX: AND) is one of the Netherlands' longest established software groups, currently employing more than 115 people in the Netherlands and India. AND specializes in navigation and geographic data (addresses, roads, and routes), as well as in the technology for the practical application of such data. With a head office located in Rotterdam, AND is the international specialist in geographic solutions for vehicle navigation data, personal navigation data/LBS, Internet/wireless, logistics/fleet management, and Customer Relationship Management.


© 2006 MapData Sciences Pty. Ltd. © 2006 PSMA Australia Ltd.

MapData Sciences

MapData Sciences is the leading provider of Business Mapping Solutions for Australia, New Zealand, and beyond. MapData Sciences provides customized, quality location-based solutions for business mapping needs, including hosted online applications, digital mapping products, Web services, or consulting services.

The data used to create the mapping images or map-based content is copyrighted ©. Any unauthorized copying or reproduction of this output is unlawful. It is a condition of the license that copying in any form, or by any means, is not permitted. Without in any way limiting the generality of the above, you, or any user of this data, shall not copy this content by any means, including magnetic, digital, rasterizing, scanning, digitizing, dye lining, any electrostatic method, fax, or photocopying.

You may not attempt to reverse engineer any output that would allow the recreation of the underlying mapping data in any way. All inquiries should be directed to MapData Sciences Pty. Ltd. at 110 Pacific Highway, Greenwich NSW 2065, Australia. Ph. +61 2 8436 2800. You can also send an e-mail message or visit the MapData Sciences website.

A detailed License Agreement is on the Copyright, Disclaimer, and Terms of Use page.

MapData Sciences Pty. Ltd. acknowledges that the data product was prepared from data the copyright of which is owned by third parties. A full listing of those third parties is available on the Copyright, Disclaimer, and Terms of Use page.


Data supplied by © 2006 Ninemsn Pty. Ltd. MyLocal is a registered trademark of Ninemsn Pty. Ltd.


All information in this service is subject to change without notice. Microsoft makes no representation that the information in this service is absolutely accurate or complete. Microsoft does not assume and hereby disclaims any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or any potential business or travel disruption caused by errors, omissions, or inaccuracies in the service, whether such errors, omissions, or inaccuracies result from negligence, accident, or any other cause. It is strongly recommended that you verify the information in this service before making final business or travel plans. The service should not be used for any purpose requiring exact measurement of distance or direction, or for precision in address location or in the depiction of geographic locating features.

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Who does Google use?

The satellite technology comes from Keyhole, which Google purchased last October. With its integration into Google Maps, the company is opening the door to its high-tech images free of cost. Keyhole previously charged $29.95 for its basic software package.

Mountain View, CA – Users of the beta Google Maps service may see the world in a new way with the introduction of the “hybrid view.” Here, hybrid means offering a combined satellite and map view, the hybrid button that appears on map search queries adds new functionality to the map service, combining the other choices of either map or satellite views.

The competing and similar MSN Virtual Earth service launched July 25 by Microsoft, also offers a hybrid-type view. Both services offer hybrid map and satellite views and scrollable images.

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