5/6/09—At the ESRI Developer Summit, ESRI announced that it would be migrating its hosted ArcGIS Online map services to the Microsoft Virtual Earth/Google Maps tiling scheme with the next major update in 2009. This change is in response to feedback from many ArcGIS users who have requested that ESRI use a common map tiling scheme matching other popular online map providers. The new services will particularly enable ArcGIS web developers to more easily combine popular web map services with ArcGIS Online map services including those from Microsoft Virtual Earth, Google Maps, and other providers that use the same web map tiling scheme.
ESRI will introduce the updated services with the next major update of ArcGIS Online map services planned for Q3 of this year. A few new map services will be released in advance of the full service migration, which will allow a preview of ArcGIS Online map services in this new tiling scheme. ESRI will continue to host the existing ArcGIS Online map services (e.g., World Street Map, World Imagery, etc.) in their existing ArcGIS Online tiling scheme through Q1 of 2010 in order to give users ample time to migrate their maps and applications to the new services.