OnStar (a part of General Motors) today announced their new application to integrate Microsoft Virtual Earth into their emergency response system as a data visualization function to better serve their customers. And, do you blame them? What a huge value add this will be for helping them sell their service! With our super, high resolution photography and high fidelity road network information, wouldn’t you feel better knowing that in the case of an emergency the customer service representative can actually see a high resolution photo of where you, that’s relatively recently taken with up to date road data to help you get on your way? And, OnStar could tie into our local search listings to find the nearest (or preferred) tow trucks, auto mechanics or even hotels. Maybe you want a little Starbucks to ease the pain – that’s in their too! Okay, that would be just me. They could also provide directions using our routing algorithms to provide users with directions based on slowest, fastest, multi-point, traffic-based and in some cases – walking. Let’s hope not in this situation! What’s even better is OnStar is using Virtual Earth 3D to give them a truly immersive view of where users are and the area surrounding them. The solution is an excellent example of how Virtual Earth’s entire platform - high resolution photos, expansive data sets, up to date road maps, 3D experience and routing algorithms can help in an emergency situation such as those that OnStar provides assistance for.
For those of you who want it, here’s the full press release.