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Microsoft Partners with Institut Géographique National to Advance Digital Mapping in France

Institut Géographique National (IGN), a French leader in cartography and aerial imagery, and Microsoft Corp announced a five-year partnership at Geo-événement 2008, a leading trade show for geo-information specialists in France.

The partnership will allow Microsoft to license IGN’s aerial imagery of France and make this available on the Microsoft Virtual Earth platform and through Microsoft Live Search Maps.

“Our collaboration with IGN will help us bring a new level of realism to Virtual Earth in France,” said Arnaud Gstach, Microsoft Virtual Earth’s Business Development Manager in Southern Europe. “Consumers, businesses and government bodies will be able to access quality aerial imagery across the whole of France. This will give users an immersive experience of their neighbourhood or holiday destination, or provide businesses and government bodies with a mapping service for real-estate viewing, town planning, vehicle tracking and store locations.”

Currently, Microsoft Virtual Earth has high-resolution aerial imagery for nine major French cities and bird’s-eye imagery (45-degree angle) for 43 towns and cities in France. The BD ORTHO® aerial imagery, available in May 2008, will build on the existing Virtual Earth platform by expanding aerial imagery to the entire French territory and allowing users to zoom and pan at a higher resolution than before. IGN is the only French organisation able to provide seamless aerial imagery with 100 per cent coverage of the French territory.

In addition, aerial imagery of the entire French coastline and 45 kilometres (km) inland will be available on the Virtual Earth platform at an even higher resolution than the inland imagery. This is significant given that France was the world’s No 1 tourist destination, with 78 million foreign tourists in 2006.1 The coastal aerial imagery will be available on the Virtual Earth platform to organisations such as those in the tourism sector, and also to prospective tourists, allowing them to virtually explore the French coastline, architecture and amenities before visiting.

“We are happy that Microsoft Virtual Earth has turned to IGN to acquire its aerial imagery and take advantage of its expertise in this area,” said Patrice Parisé, IGN’s new general manager. “This partnership is testament to the quality of IGN’s geographical data.”

IGN will license its BD ORTHO aerial imagery to Microsoft Virtual Earth for five years. The partnership will allow the following imagery to be made available in Virtual Earth:

-Seamless aerial imagery of the entire French territory, including overseas territories, at 2.5 metres per pixel (m/pixel) resolution — available in Virtual Earth by early May 2008

-Aerial imagery with a 45 km coastal margin at a greater resolution of 1 m/pixel — available in Virtual Earth before the end of summer 2008

-Aerial imagery at an ultra-high resolution (50 centimetres per pixel) in urban areas of France with more than 50,000 inhabitants — available in Virtual Earth before the end of summer 2008

-IGN will also license its digital terrain model, BD Alti®, to Microsoft, allowing topography of the entire French territory at 25 metres to be illustrated in Virtual Earth 3D — available this summer

“Microsoft is committed to delivering the highest quality product for Virtual Earth customers, government organisations and consumers in France, and this imagery agreement is a significant investment helping to achieve this commitment in France,” said Erik Jorgensen, general manager of Mapping and Location Services at Microsoft.

Microsoft Virtual Earth is present at Geo-événement 2008, 9 April, where Arnaud Gstach will deliver a presentation titled “Localise, Integrate, Innovate!” and will present the IGN aerial imagery to be made available in Virtual Earth.

About Institut Géographique National
The Institut Géographique National (IGN) is an administrative public institution which was created in 1967 and is under the authority of the MEDAD (France’s Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development). Its mission is to describe the national territory and its land cover, using this for any relevant representations and transmitting the corresponding information. IGN offers a wide range of geographical information services and products to local authorities and government departments, businesses and the general public. IGN has successfully managed to adapt to today’s major technological advances (moving into the digital era, the development of satellites and so on). In this way, the public institution is strengthening its position as a major player on the Internet and in our digital world. These changing practices are bearing fruit –IGN’s e-services and digital products are used as much for professional activities as for leisure pursuits.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

About Microsoft EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa)
Microsoft has operated in EMEA since 1982. In the region Microsoft employs more than 16,000 people in over 64 subsidiaries, delivering products and services in more than 139 countries and territories.

Source Spatialnews