Section 508 and Esri's Commitment to Accessibility
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act reinforces Esri's goal of providing software and technology that everyone can access and use.
Esri is committed to providing the information you need to evaluate the impact of Section 508 on your Geographic Information Systems (GIS) environment. Esri reports the current accessibility status of Esri products through Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPATs), which you can view and download here. Industry and government personnel developed the VPAT as an informational tool to assist federal information technology professionals with the market research requirements of Section 508.
What Is Section 508?
Section 508 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. In 1998, Congress passed the Workforce Investment Act, which amended Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. The new Section 508 creates binding and enforceable standards for all federally funded programs and services. For example, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires that electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities unless providing such access poses an undue burden.
The enforcement provisions of Section 508 became effective on June 25, 2001 and apply only to electronic and information technology procured on or after the effective date.
(For more information on Section 508, visit the United States Access Board website.)
Esri and Section 508
Esri understands the need to provide GIS access to people regardless of their abilities. Our goal to design and implement accessible GIS products and technologies aligns with the objectives of Section 508. The Section 508 requirements arise whenever electronic and information technology companies such as Esri provide software or services to federal agencies. Esri's commitment to accessibility includes supporting the accessibility tools provided by standard operating systems (e.g., Microsoft Windows, UNIX) as well as building accessibility capabilities into GIS functions across our product line.
Our accessibility strategy is to
Develop products, technologies, and services that are accessible and usable by all people.
Leverage enabling accessibility technologies available in operating systems, Web servers, and database management systems (DBMSs) when and where appropriate.
Develop GIS-specific accessibility technologies to enable all people to use and apply GIS.
Empower customers to make informed choices about the Esri products they use by disclosing the products' accessibility capabilities.