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Today, Microsoft and the European Environment Agency (EEA) launched “Eye on Earth” a pioneering online environmental observatory with the first of its resources: Water Watch. Water Watch is a web application that will provide the public with instant online access to information about the quality of bathing water, as well as allow users to provide their own input on water quality for more than 21,000 measurement points in Europe. The observatory will be accessible via the EEA website and cross-linked on MSN; and present recent water quality ratings for bathing sites in 27 countries, and for some beaches, historical ratings for up to the past 18 years. Countries including Greece, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Portugal and Slovakia will also display the latest 2008 data, with more countries expected to update information in the near future.
The launch of Eye on Earth and its resource Water Watch is the first concrete step towards delivering environmental information to more than 500 million citizens across Europe. Using Microsoft’s Virtual Earth mapping technology, Eye on Earth provides a bird’s-eye view of the beach users plan to visit, while Microsoft SQL Server 2008’s data management and geospatial capabilities provide information that help them to understand the cleanliness of the water they or their families plan to swim in. Gadgets in Windows Vista ensure that this information is always quickly and easily available from any internet-enabled PC. Microsoft is also making Eye on Earth available to over 100 million users of the MSN online media network through specially localised channels in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and the UK.
Water Watch is accessible from http://www.eyeonearth.eu, from http://www.eea.europa.eu and from MSN
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