ArcNews Online

Summer 2009
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Oregon Moves Ahead with Enterprise Technology

The State of Oregon recently became the sixth state in the United States to secure an enterprise license agreement (ELA) with Esri. The agreement provides unlimited access to Esri ArcGIS software statewide, cuts procurement costs, and encourages widespread GIS application development for more efficient operations. Oregon joins Alabama, Maine, North Carolina, Delaware, and Montana in realizing the value of an Esri ELA.

Oregon's data and Web mapping applications are available via Oregon Explorer (

"Our goal is to meet the business needs of all our staff, from novice GIS users to experts," says Cy Smith, statewide GIS coordinator, Department of Administrative Services/Geospatial Enterprise Office. "Ongoing access to the software means agencies can expand application development. Agencies that have not yet started using it can do so. Now, a lot more people will create geospatial data to improve their specific business processes and government services that require interagency coordination."

Oregon also recently passed legislation making Esri technology the standard for GIS in all state agencies. The administrative rule is Oregon's first statewide IT standard. Operating from this common foundation with wide access to ArcGIS software will ease GIS software administration and improve collaboration, data sharing, and communication across agencies.

The ELA provides full access to Esri products, including ArcGIS Server, ArcGIS Desktop, and ArcGIS Mobile. Importantly, this access to ArcGIS software combined with the state's GIS standard will encourage rapid growth of navigatOR, Oregon's initiative to cost-effectively develop and manage statewide geospatial data in coordination with local, state, tribal, and federal government. The state's data and Web mapping applications are available via Oregon Explorer (go to and choose the Maps link).

To offer an example of how GIS improves business processes in the state, Smith turns to emergency response. Like many government activities, he notes, delivering excellent emergency services requires all levels of government to work together and have a shared database (navigatOR) that facilitates their work.

"With a good GIS, you can get an ambulance to a heart attack victim a minute faster and save a life or get firefighters from the city of Portland to a wildfire in a rural area three counties away who know from the data exactly where homes are within the fire perimeter," explains Smith. "With city firefighters focusing on homes, federal and state firefighters who are experts on fighting forest fires can focus on those areas."

Smith has seen real-world examples of how good data and GIS-supported coordination can save lives and property. "We've had a couple of fires in the state during the past few years," he remembers. "Where we had all of the right data easily shareable, every home and life was saved. Where base data was unavailable, homes and lives were lost. Having access to the same GIS software and having more people build data that everyone shares make a huge difference."

Oregon continues to expand GIS application development to enhance its operations and service to citizens. One example is the GIS-based recovery tracking site the state launched in March 2009. The Web mapping application allows the public to track state and local government spending of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"This tracking tool is a national model for transparency and accountability in how the stimulus dollars are spent," says Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski. "It will not only empower taxpayers but eventually serve as a tool for the state in our efforts to put Oregonians back to work."

More Information

For more information, contact Cy Smith, statewide GIS coordinator, Department of Administrative Services/Geospatial Enterprise Office (e-mail: To learn more about Esri ELAs for government, visit or call 800-447-9778.

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