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Microsoft Launches Green ‘Eye On Earth’ Cloud

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Microsoft, Esri and the EEA’s Eye on Earth service will enable Europeans to share climate data in the cloud

Microsoft, along with Geographic Information System (GIS) technology company Esri, and the European Environment Agency (EEA) today launched the Eye on Earth network.

The platform was first announced in 2008 and uses Esri’s ArcGIS Online cloud services and Microsoft Azure to host and manage environmental data from various sources.

Collect and share

According to a statement by Microsoft, Eye on Earth is a community-based cloud platform which provides organisations with a security-enhanced central location for managing their geospatial environmental content.

“With the launch of the new Eye on Earth network, citizens, governments and scientists now have an easy-to-use, scalable platform for collecting, sharing and visualising the world’s critical environmental data,” said Rob Bernard, chief environmental strategist at Microsoft.

Eye on Earth takes raw, complex scientific data, collected using  the recently launched WaterWatch, AirWatch and NoiseWatch services, and translates it into interactive and visual web services so that users can  create and share maps within their organisations or  make the content publicly available as web-accessible services.

“WaterWatch uses the EEA’s environmental data to monitor and display water quality ratings across Europe’s public swimming sites,” read the statement. “Also built from the EEA’s data, AirWatch illustrates air quality ratings in Europe. NoiseWatch combines the EEA’s data with input from citizens.”

“Noise Metre, a new mobile application for noise level readings available on mobile operating systems Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7.5, allows users to take noise level readings from their mobile devices and instantly upload them into NoiseWatch’s database,” it continued.

Climate change data in your hands

Esri president Jack Dangermond added that Eye on Earth allows for extensive collaboration among European agencies and communities, putting environmental information into the hands of many. “It equips people with tools and information to engage in conversation, analysis, reporting and policy making. In addition, this platform, developed for Europe, can be implemented in other countries and regions of the world,” he said.

“The launch of the Eye on Earth network is a great leap forward in helping organisations provide the public with authoritative data on the environment and in helping citizens around the world better understand some of the most pressing environmental challenges in their local area,” said Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of EEA.

In 2009, Microsoft also launched its Environmental Atlas of Europe project, which facilitates the sharing of climate change related stories online.