"I applaud this effort as it furthers our strategy to make government more accessible to our citizens, and I am proud that Virginia is once again leading the way."
Virginia Secretary of Technology Aneesh P. Chopra today announced a partnership between the Commonwealth of Virginia and Microsoft Corp. that will make it easier for educational campus officials to communicate important public safety information with parents, students, faculty and area residents through Microsoft's Virtual Earth platform for geospatial mapping. This partnership developed as Microsoft and Virginia officials recognized the public's increasing reliance on Web-based mapping services to locate critical information during crisis scenarios, yet a significant amount of campus safety information was still not readily available.
Today's announcement was made during Governor Timothy M. Kaine's Campus Security Conference, held in Richmond at VCU's Siegel Center.
"The governor convened today's campus safety conference in part to share ideas and tools to assist all of Virginia's colleges and universities this semester," said Chopra. "Our partnership with Microsoft will provide campus leaders with free training and development tools to map relevant safety information."
"I applaud this effort as it furthers our strategy to make government more accessible to our citizens, and I am proud that Virginia is once again leading the way," said Kaine.
The Microsoft Virtual Earth platform is an integrated set of technologies that combines unique bird's eye, aerial, and 3D imaging with best-of-breed mapping, location and search functionality. Through its Virtual Earth Interactive Software Developer Kit, Microsoft will make available a number of development tools free-of-charge to campus safety leaders in Virginia so they are able to present critical information on Web-based maps. For example, campus safety officials might choose to share a map of criminal incidents color-coded by severity or share real-time GPS-tracking for campus security cars and transportation assets to assist with incident response or evacuation.
"This partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia reinforces Microsoft's ongoing commitment to public sector and educational institutions, helping them to more effectively achieve their objective," said Linda Zecher, vice president of the U.S. Public Sector at Microsoft. "Technology has the power to strengthen the bonds between state governments and their citizens, positively impacting communities across the U.S."
At no cost, Microsoft will also offer campus safety leaders, Web-based training, with an end goal of simplifying and expediting data exchange, through leveraging the Web-based Virtual Earth maps platform.
Looking for the latest gov tech news as it happens? Subscribe to GT newsletters.