The Microsoft Virtual Earth Public Sector team recently created a web application using KML data that the EPA made available to citizens to show the Air Quality around country. The KML file was offered as a free download to help citizens visualize EPA Air Emission data. The EPA originally designed with Google Earth targeted as the viewer, but our team built this web application that ingests the KML file, offloading the requirement that each citizen viewing the data download and install Google Earth. Building the application on Virtual Earth means less work for the user, in this case citizens. This approach also saves EPA bandwidth.
A technical member on the Virtual Earth team recreated this application in Virtual Earth in about 24 hours (pictured below).* Because Virtual Earth is a web service and runs in a browser, citizens do not need to download and install a separate application, download ˝ meg of data to visualize the air quality and then import a KML file. Instead, they would simply click on a URL and then see the data in 2D “out of the box” and then select 3D if they were interested. This software as a service model greatly benefits citizens who access web pages over slow dial up sessions and who aren’t able to install the competitors solution (when at a public library for instance) or who are using older computers.
The responsiveness of this web application built on Virtual Earth is impressive and it’s easy to use for the vast majority of citizens who want an easy to use tool and find the browser a better choice over a standalone application.
Check it out for yourself!
Screenshot below: EPA’s data in 2D on a map
Screenshot below: EPA’s data in 3D New York