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Section 508 and Esri's Commitment to Accessibility

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (simply called Section 508) 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 using the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template® (VPAT®). 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. The new Section 508 creates standards for all federally funded programs and services. For example, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires the federal government to develop, procure, maintain, and use electronic and information technology that is 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 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 apply when the U.S. government procures Information and Communication Technology (ICT), such as Esri's software and services. Esri's commitment to accessibility includes supporting the accessibility tools provided by standard operating systems (e.g., Microsoft Windows) 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 as many people as possible.
  • Leverage 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.

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View VPATs

Go here to view, download, or print VPATs.