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As physical scientists seek to understand how the earth works, social scientists help us to understand how it looks or how we as humans change its appearance and function. It is also in social science that we perfect our ability to form partnerships that effectively work across disciplines, geographies, and organizations. Here, we often use GIS to interactively and iteratively create and evaluate alternative (geo)designs to make better decisions, for example, with land cover for land-use planning, green infrastructure planning, urban planning, and sustainability science.

All In for Sustainable Development


Open data, maps, and an application program interface (API) support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).    

Sustainable Development Goals


In 2016, all member states of the United Nations adopted 17 Global Goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Women and Sustainable Development
This story map showcases how the geospatial perspective can enrich the analysis of gender indicators to follow-up and review progress toward achieving the 2030 Agenda.
See the story map
Global gender gap index
The Global Gender Gap Index, produced by the World Economic Forum (WEF), examines the gap between men and women across four fundamental categories.
See the story map
Celebrating Women's Rights
Women and girls are more deeply impacted than men and boys by poverty, violence, discrimination, and economic crises. See how the SDGs can help.
See the story map
More on the SDGs
These 17 goals set out to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.
Learn about sustainability

New insights into global population


Based on years of population geography R&D at Esri, we released a World Population Estimate (WPE) in 2014, which we continue to improve. The WPE is a raster surface and is much more amenable than previous point data to web mapping and use in analysis models. WPE is based on Earl Nordstrand's clever texture-detecting model to find areas in land cover that are most likely to have people, rather than solely relying on census counts or estimates of economic activity. Esri is also working with Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), as part of the POPGRID Open Data Collaborative. 

Modernizing the US Census


See how this agency has used GIS to modernize its enumeration, route optimization, change detection, and dissemination processes. It is also testing raster analytics on remote-sensing data in support of international surveys, as well as a suite of supplemental, nonofficial products to assist with the 2020 Census.

Maps for data-driven public policy

Policy maps clearly show where there are opportunities to inform policy makers and concerned citizens. The new Esri Maps for Public Policy site is dedicated to raising the level of spatial and data literacy used in public policy. We invite you to explore curated content, training, best practices, and datasets that can provide a baseline for your research, analysis, and policy recommendations. 

Tackling homelessness

Homelessness is a complex issue. To properly address the root causes, organizations need to better understand the impacted communities, as well as the extent of the problem. Many organizations are using the ArcGIS platform to identify at-risk communities, count the homeless population, establish strategic partnerships, share resources, and conduct targeted intervention and outreach.

Compiling and sharing accurate housing data

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) collaborates with communities across the United States to establish job-generating economic development projects. To meet high demand for information about these projects and make its data easily accessible, HUD works with Esri partner VSolvit to develop and maintain an enterprise GIS. 

Health information privacy

MapMasq is an ArcGIS Pro extension for analysts, epidemiologists, scientists, and researchers needing to perform geomasking and/or aggregation procedures that comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. MapMasq helps health organizations to deidentify their protected health information so that they can display or share data safely.

Special product licenses for scientific organizations

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