Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Microsoft Virtual Earth China and MultiMap UK

Microsoft has made announcement about its recent acquisition of MultiMap and launch of Live Maps in China.

This acquisition will bring MultiMaps customer base under Microsoft’s portfolio. According Brady Forrest on Oreilly radar, "Multimap seems to be more about gaining API traffic than a technology or consumer traffic acquisition. Justin Osmer, a Microsoft spokesperson, told me "Multimap is a mapping leader in the UK and now combined with us Virtual Earth and Live Search Maps is the number one online mapping platform worldwide.

Also VE also announced their launch in China According to a post on Virtual Earth blog "The application was built in China with a focus on getting the features most relevant to our Chinese customers out first. Business search, Collections, and public transit features were emphasized, covering over 100 cities with 7 million business listings. Later today I'll get some more information posted from the team that did the coding."

In an interview given to Brady by Dr.Vincent Tao, Senior Director, Microsoft Virtual Earth (VE) – Tao said "The China release demonstrates our success in deploying our first VE data center remotely. We now have an in-country data center offering the

better system performance and greater user experiences. This distributed mapping architecture allows us to grow the international markets in a scalable way."

Speaking on the data part of the Chinese VE version, Dr.Tao said "Our road map data is coming from AutoNavi, a Chinese leading data provider for on-line and navigation maps. We have distributed system architecture but our mapping data is served from our MSN JV Company."

Answering on the data restrictions and Mapping Policy in China, he said "The map data is not allowed to leave the border. Some other countries also have the same regulations (Korea for example). In China, maps can only be provided by the licensed map data providers. Also the on-line publishing maps need to go through an ‘encryption’ process whereby map coordinates are transformed to an unknown coordinate system (not in Lat/Long). This is mainly for the national security reason as far as I know.

In general, mapping is a highly regulated area in China and so on-line mapping services. Given the incredible opportunity in China commercial mapping market and the coming Olympic event, the China mapping agency is actively developing and examining their data policy and regulations."

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