BANGALORE, India — Jan. 12, 2006 — During its annual research symposium, TechVista 2006, Microsoft Research India today demonstrated the first prototype of a multilingual interactive digital map of India. Kapil Sibal, Honorable Minister of Science and Technology of India, unveiled the research prototype. Microsoft Research India and the Department of Science and Technology began collaboration on this research project in 2005.
Microsoft collaborated with the Survey of India, part of the Department of Science and Technology, on development of this first-of-its-kind prototype, which also includes an online map of Bangalore in several Indian languages. A special feature enables users to add information relevant to their own communities tagged to specific locations on the map. This is the first public demonstration of an ongoing Microsoft Research India project that explores innovative ways to create and disseminate geo-spatial data.
“Microsoft Research is a pioneer in the area of digital maps. Its TerraServer system has provided millions of users with online access to geographically indexed map and image data since 1998,” said Rick Rashid, senior vice president of Microsoft Research. “Microsoft® Virtual Earth™ leverages this technology and has opened the door for greater achievements in this area of research. We are pleased that Microsoft Research India has utilized Virtual Earth technology to work with the Indian government in developing the first-ever multilingual, interactive digital map prototype for India. Microsoft Research is committed to continuing its collaboration with the Indian government to create relevant technologies and solutions.”
The Web-based interactive digital maps use Microsoft’s Virtual Earth technology, which also powers the Windows Live™ Local mapping service (http://www.local.live.com), so users do not need to download and install any software to use the maps. Geographic data from the Survey of India were used to create the Indiawide map as well as the detailed street-level digital map of Bangalore in several languages. Microsoft Research India also plans to add greater detail and more languages to the maps.
The research prototype announced today enables the addition of information such as the location of polling booths and other data that empowers citizens to create and maintain maps that are uniquely relevant to their communities. Microsoft Research India and the Department of Science and Technology plan to leverage experiences from this prototype to develop effective countrywide mechanisms for spatial data creation, collection and dissemination that can be useful in a number of ways, such as for disaster management. More information about this project can be found on Microsoft Research India’s Web site at http://research.microsoft.com/india.
Microsoft Research India also announced plans this week to expand its operations over the next 18 months. Plans include expansion of teams in existing research areas as well as the creation of a new research group for cryptography and security. In addition, it will conduct a four-week cryptography summer school, featuring lectures by leading experts in the fields of cryptography, algorithms and security. The program is aimed at senior undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty members.
“Microsoft Research India continues to identify research areas that are relevant to the region, and to conduct research in areas that are germane to the available talent. As a world-class lab, Microsoft Research India’s goal is to attract the best talent from both within and outside the country,” said P. Anandan, managing director of Microsoft Research India. “We intend to support and help boost India’s technology initiatives, as well as to train great, local scientific minds to excel and advance the progress of basic research in India. Government, industry and academia continue to be important partners of Microsoft Research India as part of this initiative.”
The newly announced Microsoft Research India research group focuses on cryptography, security, algorithms and multimedia security. Ramarathnam Venkatesan, a leading cryptographer at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Wash., in the U.S., will head the new group. The unit will collaborate with premier Indian educational institutions, educational institutions in other countries, and Microsoft research and product groups around the globe.
About Microsoft Research India
Microsoft Research India, formally inaugurated Jan. 12, 2005, is Microsoft Corp.’s third basic research facility established outside the United States. The Bangalore lab joins Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash.; San Francisco; Silicon Valley, Calif.; Cambridge, England; and Beijing labs in bringing together great minds to build a world-class global research organization, with more than 700 scientists on staff. The mission of Microsoft Research India spans several objectives: to conduct long-term research in both basic and applied areas; collaborate with Indian research institutions and universities as part of Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to accelerating innovation in computer science and software engineering; and engage with partners in industry, academia and government to open new opportunities for economic growth and consumer choice. Microsoft Research India also seeks to attract the most talented researchers in the field of computing and become one of the best computer science laboratories in the world. More information can be found at http://research.microsoft.com/india.
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