Today we announced that Microsoft Virtual Earth will be offered within ESRI’s ArcGIS Desktop product. The ArcGIS Desktop integration gives you another way to leverage the incredible imagery and base maps to visualize your data. To publish using ArcGIS Server you’ll still need a Virtual Earth license. Read below for our Press Release and for more information and also check out our published FAQ as well.

Microsoft Virtual Earth to Be Offered with ESRI’s ArcGIS Online Services

Mapping platform collaboration helps improve business processes, unlock and gain insight into data, and create better citizen and customer connections

Redmond, Wash., and Redlands, Calif. — July 29, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. and ESRI today announced that ESRI ArcGIS users will have access to the robust mapping and imagery content provided by the Microsoft Virtual Earth platform inside ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Server. With Virtual Earth seamlessly integrated into ArcGIS 9.3 Desktop, ArcGIS users are now able to easily add base maps, which feature rich aerial and hybrid views, to perform data creation, editing, analysis, authoring, and map publishing with one-click access.

“Microsoft and ESRI have a long-standing history of delivering complete geographic information systems solutions,” said Erik Jorgenson, corporate vice president at Microsoft Corp. “The integration of Virtual Earth and ArcGIS 9.3 at both desktop application and platform levels enables customers to better view, analyze, understand, interpret, and visualize geographic data. This new offering further extends the software-plus-services choices available to our mutual customers.”

“With the new ArcGIS Online Virtual Earth map services, ArcGIS Desktop, and ArcGIS Explorer users will have nearly instant access to some of the world’s finest base map layers,” said S.J. Camarata, Director of Corporate Strategies at ESRI. “Through this collaboration with Microsoft, street maps, vertical imagery, and hybrid maps will be available on an affordable, annual subscription fee basis.”

Together, Virtual Earth and ArcGIS Online services will enable customers to access resources that add comprehensive depth to their projects. The seamless integration of Virtual Earth throughout the entire ArcGIS system makes it easier for ArcGIS customers to offer their end-users better insight into their services, which can inspire deeper involvement and participation with their valuable GIS data.

The ArcGIS Online Virtual Earth map services will include high-resolution street maps, imagery, and hybrid maps. Street map coverage is available for more than 60 countries and regions including North America, Europe, South America, the Asia Pacific region, and Northern Africa. Aerial and satellite imagery includes worldwide coverage, but varies by region. ESRI integrates with other Microsoft products that may be part of a user’s Virtual Earth solution to incorporate internal and third-party data—making information more discoverable, more visual, and better to take action upon.

Land planning, site selection, crime analysis, road network analysis, and delivery network management are just few examples of how ArcGIS desktop users, including ArcGIS Explorer users, can leverage ArcGIS Online Virtual Earth map services. ArcGIS Server users will be able to connect to ArcGIS Online Virtual Earth Map Services at a later date, through a service pack.

Users can preview Virtual Earth street maps, imagery, and hybrid map layers at http://resources.esri.com/arcgisonlineservices. To learn more about ArcGIS Online, visit www.esri.com/arcgisonline.

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 ESRI

Since 1969, ESRI has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS, ESRI software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. ESRI applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world's mapping and spatial analysis. ESRI is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit us at www.esri.com.