Microsoft today announced an agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency to license the Virtual Earth platform to power "mission critical" applications. This includes external, customer-facing applications as well as internal line-of-business applications.

The full release can be read here.

I have joined Pat Garvey, manager of the Facility Registry System at the EPA, on a few press calls today and was impressed by his enthusiasm and excitement over the adoption of Virtual Earth by the EPA. (He made my job a lot easier!) Pat cited several reasons for the EPA's selection of Virtual Earth over other mapping offerings: accurate geocoding, the high resolution aerial imagery, the ability to extend existing ESRI investments so that their programs could better serve their customers and offer end customers an immersive experience, the web service model, and the rapid development time. Pat indicated that internal applications are already in development and he expects public facing applications to be live within the next 4-6 weeks.

Pat also reported that he found the cost for a Virtual Earth enterprise license compelling. "We wanted to get our feet wet with the technology, without spending a fortune."

Pat tells this story much better than I can. I will follow with links to the stories resulting from these calls.

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