Microsoft TerraServer: World’s Largest Web Database Logs Half Billion Queries in First Two Months

Redmond, Wash., August 26, 1998 — On June 24, Microsoft gave Web users the world. Now, the world is taking notice.

Microsoft TerraServer ( ), the world’s largest database on the Web, has become one of the world’s most popular online destinations in its first two months – recording more than a half billion queries and 700 million hits. The site is also a success with net experts, who have awarded it more than six major honors in the past eight weeks.

What has caught everyone’s attention is the world’s largest and most detailed atlas. TerraServer contains more than a trillion bytes of compressed aerial and satellite photographs of the Earth that make up nearly six terabytes of uncompressed data.

A geographer and space-industry consultant wrote,
“I think the work you have done on TerraServer is one of the most impressive things I have ever seen. You have cracked something that the space industry has struggled with for years – easily accessible image databases. Great!”

When Microsoft first launched TerraServer, the site received up to 30 million hits per day. The unprecedented demand created bottlenecks for some users trying to access it. Microsoft solved those problems by adding Web server capacity, and the site has run successfully around the clock ever since.

That performance demonstrates the reliability and scalability of both Microsoft SQL Server version 7.0 Enterprise Edition and Microsoft Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition, which can support more than 10,000 users simultaneously. It also demonstrates Microsoft SQL Server’s superb support for data access on the Web.

Key awards and honors for TerraServer include the following:

  • The Tech 10 – TerraServer called one of the 10 best technology sites of the month by the Tech Museum of Innovation in Silicon Valley

  • Digital’s Site of the Month – Top honors to TerraServer from the Digital Web Gallery

  • Best of the Net – Top honors to TerraServer from The Mining Company

  • Scout Report Selection – Chosen by the Internet Scout Project

  • S.P.A.C.E. Site of the Week from the National Space Society

  • Exploratorium Ten Cool Sites Award

Microsoft created TerraServer in partnership with Compaq Computer Corp., the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Aerial Images Inc., the provider of SPIN-2 high-resolution satellite and digital imagery. SPIN-2 data is imagery acquired from SOVINFORMSPUTNIK, a branch of the Russian Space Agency. Additional partners include Legato Systems Inc., Kodak and Storage Technology Corp.

Since June, Microsoft has added another 50GB of data, including the Great Pyramids of Egypt and cities including Berlin and New Orleans . You can immediately view some of the greatest wonders of the world by going to or find the site of your choice by starting at the TerraServer home page at .

Selected comments from TerraServer users:

  • Just wanted to take a quick second and say what a fabulous site! Great idea and wonderful execution.

  • Truly, stunningly cool. Thanks for the hard work.

  • What a great job you have done. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m looking forward to many, many hours of real education. Every geography class should have access to this.

  • I finally got to your site today and am extremely impressed. This is one of the coolest and most useful sites I have used. It’s great for visualizing and mapping areas for possible development. Keep up the good work.

  • Great Job! This is the coolest web site I have ever seen. You guys did a great job

  • I put [the TerraServer site] in my favorites, I can use this info for work, I love the Internet! Keep adding more maps, this lets you look at the world from above!

  • Congratulations on a great website. Terrific teaching aid for children.

  • That has got to be the best use of the Web I have seen yet.

  • I just have to say that your TerraServer is just amazing! You should get every Web design award out there for TerraServer.

  • An extraordinarily commendable and technological website. Top-notch, top-notch.

  • What an impressive site. One of the coolest sites on the net. I must have shown 20 people the site today and everyone was impressed.

  • HOLY COW! This site is something else, and I’ll bookmark it!

  • Thank you for having this priceless Internet resource available to the public! Great site.

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