Microsoft subsidiary, Vexcel Corporation, is showing a new Virtual Earth Appliance here at the GEOINT 2007 Conference. This Vexcel offering makes available the same features and capabilities as the Virtual Earth browser-based platform (with the exception of Bird's Eye imagery which currently requires a direct license with Pictometry for Public Sector agencies) behind a customer's firewall, on private or classified networks and on portable platforms. Vexcel offers an Enterprise version, with stackable servers that scale with required storage and the amount of users, and a Laptop version with portable, external storage. Systems can be configured to support data from just a city, state, or region, or to include the entire Virtual Earth global coverage.

With the same API and tiling structure as the Virtual Earth platform, customers can integrate their own data and take advantage of solutions provided by Microsoft's network of Virtual Earth partners.

Given that this offering has been long awaited by Public Sector customers, especially in the Intelligence sector, it comes as no surprise that the appliance is being well received here at GEOINT. I am impressed with the form factor of the Enterprise version Vexcel is showing here in the Microsoft Virtual Earth booth. The unit on the show floor is just slightly larger than an oversized toaster which is an appropriate reference because this thing cooks! Tile loading and flying around in the 3D mode is even faster and smoother than on the Virtual Earth powered Live Search Maps site.

While Vexcel is already working with interested customers, the offering is just being rolled out and pricing, as I understand it, is just being established. I don't believe that the Virtual Earth appliance has been added to their website, but if you visit, you can get contact information for Vexcel to get more information.

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