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Not to be confused with Ezri. For the Irish think tank, see Economic and Social Research Institute.
Founded 1969 (1969) in Redlands, California
Founder Jack Dangermond
Headquarters Redlands, California, United States
Coordinates 34°3′25.35″N 117°11′44.44″W / 34.0570417°N 117.1956778°W / 34.0570417; -117.1956778
Products ArcGIS, ArcView, ArcGIS Server, ArcIMS, ArcSDE, ArcGIS Mobile, ArcPad
Revenue $912 Million (2013 statistics) [1]
Number of employees
2,700 (US)+ (2009 statistics) [2]

Esri (/ˈɛzr/, aka Environmental Systems Research Institute) is an international supplier of Geographic Information System (GIS) software, web GIS and geodatabase management applications. The company is headquartered in Redlands, California.

The company was founded as Environmental Systems Research Institute in 1969 as a land-use consulting firm. Esri products (particularly ArcGIS Desktop) have 40.7% of the global market share.[3] In 2002, Esri had approximately a 30 percent share of the GIS software market worldwide, more than any other vendor.[4]

The company has 10 regional offices in the U.S. and a network of 80 international distributors, with about a million users in 200 countries. The firm has 3,000 employees in the U.S., and is still privately held by the founders. In 2006, revenues were about $660 million.[5] In a 2009 Investor's Business Daily article, Esri's annual revenues were indicated to be $1.2 billion, from 300,000 customers ($4000/customer/year).[6]

The company hosts an annual International User's Conference, which was first held on the Redlands campus in 1981 with 16 attendees. The User's Conference has been held in San Diego at the San Diego Convention Center since 1997. An estimated 15,000 users from 131 countries attended in 2012.[7]


Jack and Laura Dangermond founded Esri in 1969. Jack Dangermond is the current president.[8]

Pronunciation of company name[edit]

According to the company, Esri is pronounced as a word, 'ez-ree'.[9]

Some distributors outside of the USA such as Esri Canada and Esri Australia market themselves with the 'ess-ree' pronunciation followed by the country name.


Main article: ArcGIS

Esri uses the name ArcGIS to refer to its suite of GIS software products, which operate on desktop, server, and mobile platforms. ArcGIS also includes developer products and web services. In a general sense, the term GIS describes any information system that integrates, stores, edits, analyzes, shares and displays geographic information for informing decision making. The term GIS-Centric, however, has been specifically defined as the use of the Esri ArcGIS geodatabase as the asset and feature data repository central to computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) as a part of enterprise asset management and analytical software systems. GIS-centric certification criteria have been specifically defined by NAGCS, the National Association of GIS-Centric Solutions.

Desktop GIS[edit]

As of December 2014, the company's desktop GIS suite is ArcGIS for Desktop version 10.3. The suite's components, ArcMap, ArcCatalog and ArcToolbox, allow users to author, analyze, map, manage, share, and publish geographic information. The product suite is available in three levels of licensing:[10] Basic (formerly called ArcView), Standard (formerly called ArcEditor) and Advanced (formerly called ArcInfo). Basic (ArcView) provides a basic set of GIS capabilities suitable for many GIS applications. Standard (ArcEditor), at added cost, allows more extensive data editing and manipulation, including server geodatabase editing. Advanced (ArcInfo), at the high end, provides full, advanced analysis and data management capabilities, including geostatistical and topological analysis tools.

ArcGIS Explorer, ArcReader, and ArcExplorer are basic freeware applications for viewing GIS data.

ArcGIS for Desktop Extensions are available, including Spatial Analyst for raster analysis, and 3D Analyst for terrain mapping and analysis. Other more specialized extensions are available from Esri and third parties.

Esri's original product, ARC/INFO, was a command line GIS product available initially on minicomputers, then on UNIX workstations. In 1992, a GUI GIS, ArcView GIS, was introduced. Over time, both products were offered in Windows versions, and ArcView also as a Macintosh product. The names ArcView and ArcInfo are now used to name different levels of licensing in ArcGIS for Desktop, and less often refer to these original software products. The Windows version of ArcGIS is now the only ArcGIS for Desktop platform that is undergoing new development for future product releases.

Server GIS[edit]

Server GIS products provide GIS functionality and data deployed from a central environment. ArcGIS for Server is an Internet application service, used to extend the functionality of ArcGIS for Desktop software to a browser based environment.It is available on Solaris and Linux as well as Windows. ArcSDE (Spatial Database Engine) is used as an Relational database management system connector for other Esri software to store and retrieve GIS data within a commercially available database: currently, it can be used with Oracle, PostgreSQL, DB2, Informix and Microsoft SQL Server databases. It supports its native SDE binary data format, Oracle Spatial, and ST_geometry. ArcIMS (Internet Mapping Server) provides browser-based access to GIS. As of ArcGIS 10.1, ArcIMS has been depreciated in favour of ArcGIS for Server, but there are still many instances of ArcIMS (10.0 and older) in production environments. Other server-based products include Geoportal Extension, ArcGIS Image Server and Tracking Server as well as several others.

Mobile GIS[edit]

Mobile GIS conflates GIS, GPS, location-based services, hand-held computing, and the growing availability of geographic data. ArcGIS technology can be deployed on a range of mobile systems from lightweight devices to PDAs, laptops, and Tablet PCs. The firm's products for this use are ArcPad, ArcGIS for Mobile, ArcGIS for Server (Server-oriented APIs), ArcWeb Services (Web-oriented APIs), hosted geographic databases, ArcGIS mobile.[11]

ArcGIS for mobile ADF is an application programming interface (API) for developing solutions on various Windows Mobile and Windows Embedded platforms ( pocketpc, smartphone, ultra-mobile devices, etc.

Developer GIS[edit]

Developer GIS products enable building custom desktop or server GIS applications or embed GIS functionality in existing applications. These focused solutions can then be deployed throughout an organization. The firm's products for this are Esri Developer Network or EDN, ArcEngine (Desktop-oriented APIs), ArcGIS for Server (Server-oriented APIs and a web development ADF which is part of ArcGIS for Server), ArcWeb Services (Web-oriented APIs).

Online GIS (ArcGIS Online)[12][edit]

ArcGIS includes Internet capabilities in all Esri software products. The services, provided through ArcGIS Online at, include web APIs, hosted map and geoprocessing services, and a user sharing program. A variety of basemaps is a signature feature of ArcGIS Online. The Esri Community Maps program compiles detailed user basemap information into a common cartographic format called Topographic Basemap.

Data formats[edit]


  • Shapefile – Esri's somewhat open, hybrid vector data format using SHP, SHX and DBF files.
  • Enterprise Geodatabase – Esri's geodatabase format for use in an RDBMS.
  • File Geodatabase – Esri's file-based geodatabase format, stored as folders in a file system.
  • Personal Geodatabase – Esri's closed, integrated vector data storage strategy using Microsoft's Access MDB format.
  • Coverage – Esri's closed, hybrid vector data storage strategy. Legacy ArcGIS Workstation / ArcInfo format with reduced support in ArcGIS Desktop lineup.


  • Esri grid – proprietary binary and metadataless ASCII raster formats.

Esri Technical Certification[edit]

The Esri Technical Certification program was launched in January 2011.[13] The program provides an exam based certification for Esri software. The core groups for the certification include Desktop, Developer, and Enterprise. Each subcategory under these groups have two certification levels, Associate and Professional.[14]

Esri Conservation Program[edit]

In 1989, the Esri Conservation Program was started to help change the way nonprofit organizations carried out missions of nature conservation and social change. This program provides GIS software, data, and training, as well as helping to coordinate multiorganizational efforts (e.g. The Society for Conservation GIS).

Federal investigation[edit]

On June 28, 2006, an Esri official said that the company had received a federal subpoena as part of the ongoing investigation into the ties between Jerry Lewis and Copeland Lowery. "We have no concerns," Esri spokesman Don Berry said. "We retain a lobbyist and it is not an issue for us." On September 5, 2006, the Associated Press reported that federal investigators were looking into a donation of 41 acres (170,000 m2) of land to the city of Redlands by the owners of Esri in 2001, land adjacent to the home of Lewis.

Between 2001 and 2006, Lewis earmarked more than $90 million for Esri projects that included defense intelligence systems such as database mapping to assist in rebuilding Iraq. Other projects included using GIS methodologies to assess the fire danger of the San Bernardino Mountains, to help move troops in the Iraq war, and to assist in reconstruction after Hurricane Katrina. From 1998 to 2003, the company also received another $60 million in defense contracts outside of those earmarks.

Esri has paid Lowery's firm $320,000 since 1998. Jack and Laura Dangermond have consistently been among the top individual contributors to Lewis' campaign fund, giving a combined $13,900 between 2000 and 2005. The couple has donated a combined $32,900 to the campaign fund and Lewis' PAC since the 2000 election cycle.[15]

In late November 2010, the US Department of Justice notified Lewis's attorneys that the case had been concluded and closed without charges.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "How We Hit $912 Million in Sales". Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Esri – Company's history
  3. ^ "Update: Esri has 40+% of GIS Marketshare". Directions Magazine. Retrieved 2011-11-21. 
  4. ^ "COTS GIS: The Value of a Commercial Geographic Information System" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  5. ^ "GIS in Our World". Esri Website: Company Facts. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  6. ^ Howell, Donna (2009-08-14). "Jack Dangermond’s Digital Mapping Lays It All Out". Investor's Business Daily. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  7. ^ Gina Dvorak (2012-07-23). "Esri International User Conference". Esri kicks off its 2012 User Conference. Storify. Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  8. ^ "Jack Dangermon on Forbes". Forbes. 2014-05-29. Retrieved 2014-05-29. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Mobile GIS App Development". WebMapSolutions. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  12. ^ "Free Mobile app for ArcGIS Online". WebMapSolutions. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "Earn the New Esri Technical Certification". Esri. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  14. ^ "Technical Certification". Esri. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  15. ^ Guy McCarthy; George Watson (2006-06-30). "Esri verifies company targeted by subpoena". The San Bernardino Sun. Retrieved May 25, 2009. 
  16. ^ Ben Goad (2010-12-03). "Justice Department closes long-running case involving Rep. Lewis". The Press-Enterprise. Retrieved December 7, 2010. 

External links[edit]