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Winter 2004/2005
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2004—Esri's Year in Review

2004 was another successful year for Esri, which continues to champion a wide range of activities in support of both its customers and the expanded use of GIS in the many disciplines that are dependent upon geospatial work flows.

 "If we hope to understand human language and the psychological capacities on which it rests, we must first ask what it is, not how or for what purposes it is used."

—From Language and Mind by Noam Chomsky, Professor of Linguistics,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

While Noam Chomsky—once described in the New York Times Book Review as "arguably the most important intellectual alive today"—ponders the greater philosophical meaning of language, for many the fundamental understanding can be found in its basic function as a primary means of communication, which promotes interaction within a social setting or environment. Within the context of geography and GIS, Jack Dangermond, says, "Languages help us define what's possible. Empowering geography with a language—GIS—will help us create a better future. GIS is becoming intelligent and collaborative. As a language it integrates our work, organizations, and disciplines and is a crosscutting tool to help us make decisions. Connecting GIS into the societal infrastructure of the Web will lead to widespread collaboration and better understanding. GIS professionals will be the people who apply this language, creating that better future."

Esri remains very healthy, with continuing growth, significant product development, strong sales, and a leadership role in a variety of traditional industries (e.g., government, utilities, natural resources, emergency, logistics). GIS is also growing in effect, as well as substance, in education, humanitarian relief, conservation, and disaster management programs. According to Daratech, Inc., a leading provider of information technology market research, Esri continues to be the dominant market leader in both the GIS and geospatial fields.

Major Product Releases and Software Sales Updates

While a large number of new and updated GIS software products were released during 2004, ArcGIS 9 set the new industry standard. ArcGIS 9 is an integrated framework of GIS software products that includes both desktop and server software products. This release extends the current platform with major new capabilities in the areas of geoprocessing, 3D visualization, and developer options. In addition, there are other major developments in the areas of usability, reliability, and interoperability.

Other new releases included BusinessMAP 3.5, ArcGIS Business Analyst, ArcGIS Schematics 2.3, Job Tracking for ArcGIS 2.1, ArcExplorer—Java Edition, and the PLTS for ArcGIS—Aeronautical Solution.

Technology Leadership and Strategic Sales

Esri's software sales continue to be strong, both internationally and domestically. Esri's software continues to be the technology leader for GIS and enterprise/geospatial enabling as evidenced by the fact that its products are nearly always selected when there is open competitive testing (technical benchmarks). Most of the following sales involved careful competitive evaluation.

Major foreign competitions included Azerbaijan Cadastral, Brasil Telecom SA, Chilean National Geology and Mineral Services, Colombian Cadastral, De Beers Group (South Africa), Grupo Guaraniana S/A (Brazil), Gujarat Gas Company Limited (India), the New Zealand Post, Österreichische Mineralölverwaltung Aktiengesellschaft (Austria), Reliance Energy (India), Shell (see cover article), Shanghai Municipal Electric Company (China), Soil Science and Conservation Research Institute (Slovakia), Statnett (Norway), T3 Netservice A/S (Denmark), Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. (Poland), Topografische Dienst Kadaster (the Netherlands), and the City of Toronto (Canada).

Domestically, major sales included American Suzuki Motor Corporation; CarMax; the City of Cleveland, Ohio; CSX Transportation; Detroit Water and Wastewater; DTE Energy; El Paso and San Antonio Electric; Federal Emergency Management Agency Map Modernization; the Imperial Irrigation District Power Division; Jameson Inns, Inc.; Jeppesen; Kissimmee Utility; Lakeland Electric; LouisianaMAP; Questar Regulated Services; City of San Diego, California; Simpson Timber; Southern Company; Unitil Corporation; and Virginia Beach Public Utility. These include several major enterprise licenses.

Professional Services

The Professional Services organization at Esri includes more than 400 technical, consulting, and management staff members that support activities for a broad range of GIS user organizations and business partners throughout the world. This team offers a wide range of high-quality services supporting end-to-end GIS implementations, including consulting and application design, database design and development, data acquisition and integration, application programming, and implementation services. In 2004, the Professional Services team helped hundreds of users and partners design, develop, and maintain GIS systems to support many unique requirements.

The Esri Professional Services team has been successful in 2004 by serving as a center of innovation and excellence in providing our clients and Business Partners with high-quality database, application development, and mapping services. In 2004, the Database Services Group took an important step to ensure that we deliver the highest quality products and services to our customers by becoming ISO 9001:2000 certified.

Clients of the Professional Services team included the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Census Bureau, Defense Intelligence Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. Armed Forces, and the United States Geological Survey. Also, many local government and state agencies, utility and telecommunication industries, environmental and health organizations, private businesses, education and research groups, and various international government and business establishments used the Professional Services team.

Business Partner Program

Sixteen years ago Esri embarked on building a community of worldwide Business Partners focused on serving the needs of Esri software users. Starting with only a small group of authorized dealers for PC ARC/INFO, the program has grown into a family of more than 2,100 organizations providing valuable GIS expertise in application development, consulting, software resales, training, and data. In 2004 the success of the Business Partner program was significant.

ArcGIS is an ideal platform to allow Business Partners to "GIS enable" products, productivity tools, and enterprise information technology (IT) architectures. Recognizing the value of partners at all levels, Esri is expanding support in the coming year with resources for building on the ArcGIS platform.

With approximately 100,000 unique visits a month, this Web site continues to be the dominant destination of GIS users.

Changes during 2004 included a new look and new software pages that coincided with the launch of ArcGIS 9; the redesign of the product gateway, software, industry, events, and partner sections to allow visitors to easily find the information they need; three new Getting Started sections for business, government, and education to support current users and help people new to GIS learn about the technology (; and the addition of ArcWeb Services map applications to help users locate Esri regional offices, training centers, events, and activities.


The Esri Store ( is constantly updated with new products and features. Significant changes have been made to support both U.S. and international sales of Esri products and services delivered electronically.


In addition to more than 80 Web demos of ArcGIS 9 products and extensions, the multimedia team updated or developed dozens of CDs, interactive kiosks, and video demos in 2004. Among the most interesting examples of new work are the Community Tapestry CD detailing the Esri Business Information Solutions (Esri BIS) market segmentation system and a video overview of the features and benefits of ArcGIS Engine.

Corporate Alliances

Esri continues to build and enhance relationships with its corporate alliance partners who are accelerating Esri's software adoption within IT-centric applications and organizations. They also assist Esri in successfully creating GIS for the enterprise and GIS for developers, as well as other strategic initiatives.

GIS Data and Business Applications

During the past year, Esri BIS released its 2004/2009 demographic data updates and integrated them into ArcGIS Business Analyst and related data products; launched the new Tapestry demographic segmentation system; and enhanced the Business Analyst Online Web site.

Business Analyst was released for ArcGIS 8.3 and 9 with many strategic business customers acquiring this technology platform, including Allstate Insurance, Corinthian Colleges, H&R Block, J. Walter Thompson, KB Homes, Mindshare, Modern Postcard, and Walgreens.

The Esri Web Services team continues to add reports, maps, and interactive features to the Business Analyst Online Web site. Aerial photography and satellite imagery from Pixxures, Inc., and GlobeXplorer are recent additions available to guests and subscribers.

The Esri data development staff released integrated updates of Community Sourcebook of ZIP Code Demographics and Community Sourcebook of County Demographics, both independently as well as parallel with ArcGIS Business Analyst and Business Analyst Online.

Other data updated in 2004 included the Consumer Expenditure database; the Retail MarketPlace database; and the business, shopping center, purchase potential, and traffic data sets.

Community Tapestry segmentation was introduced to the marketplace. Organizations, including America Online and the North American Mission Board, are now using Tapestry segmentation for marketing applications. To enhance the geocoding capabilities in Community Coder, Tapestry was refined down to the ZIP+4 level.

Awards and Distinctions

Esri garnered various awards during the year, including the Best GIS in Intelligent Enterprise magazine's Readers' Choice Awards and Corporate Entity of the Year by the American Association of Code Enforcement.

Esri sponsored the ISO Technical Committee 287 (TC 287), organized by the European Committee for Standardization. TC 287 is responsible for coordinating working group discussions about European geographic information standards.

During its U.S. presidential election coverage, CBS News and many newspapers across the country used Esri software to integrate county-level election result information with demographic data to present 3D digital maps (see cover article). Only a few weeks earlier, Esri provided support to government agencies and private organizations for hurricane preparation, response, and recovery efforts during the recent devastating storms.

Esri President Jack Dangermond was appointed Fellow of the International Institute for GeoInformation Science and Earth Observation in the Netherlands and was granted the title of Doctor Honoris Causa by the senate of the University of West Hungary. He was also unanimously chosen to receive the 2004 Geospatial Information & Technology Association Lifetime Achievement Award.

Events and Seminars

Esri continues to support hundreds of trade shows, seminars, and user meetings throughout the world. Last year, Esri conferences included the Business GeoInfo Summit, Education User Conference, Electric and Gas User Group, Federal User Conference, Health GIS Conference, Petroleum User Group, Survey Summit, Location-Based Services Summit, Telecommunications, and Worldwide Business Partner Conference.

The Twenty-fourth Annual Esri International User Conference attracted approximately 13,000 attendees from 124 countries. Fourteen percent of the participants were attending the conference for the first time. Prior to the conference, 35 preconference seminars were conducted.

The Third Annual Esri Education User Conference had more than 750 educators in attendance from 37 countries and all 50 states in the United States, including approximately 50 people from the Tribal Colleges and Universities network. More than 150 papers were presented at the conference.

Esri's distributor in Denmark, Informi GIS A/S, hosted a European Education User Conference in Copenhagen, bringing together educators from both schools and universities to discuss the issues in GIS education for Europe.

The sixth annual international GIS Day was even larger than previous years as it was celebrated in more than 70 countries where thousands of events were staged.

The Latin American User Conference was held in Panama and the Middle East Conference (800+ participants) was held in Dubai, UAE.

GIS Training

Instructor-Led Training—Esri's instructor-led courses continue to be the first choice of training among GIS professionals with more than 30,000 people worldwide being trained. 2004 also saw the introduction of several important new courses to the Esri training curriculum, including Working with ArcGIS for Geospatial Intelligence, Cartography with ArcGIS, and Creating and Editing Parcels with ArcGIS. These courses continue Esri's tradition of responding quickly to users' educational needs. Visit for a complete listing of instructor-led training options.

Esri Virtual Campus—With more than 260,000 members representing 190 countries, Esri Virtual Campus continued to be a leader in GIS education and training on the Web in 2004. More than 100 Web-based training options, including courses, training seminars, and Web workshops, are now available for those seeking training on Esri software products, industry solutions, and GIS theory. To support the release of ArcGIS 9, Esri Virtual Campus debuted 32 training options, ranging from a variety of focused training seminars to comprehensive courses, such as Learning ArcGIS 9, Geoprocessing with ArcGIS 9 (for ArcInfo), and Learning ArcGIS 9 Spatial Analyst. All training seminars are archived and available for free at the Virtual Campus. To see a list of all Web-based ArcGIS 9 training solutions, visit Esri Training and Education.

Learning Pathways Program—In addition to new courses, Esri Educational Services also unveiled the Learning Pathways Program. Learning pathways are logical collections of courses designed to help Esri users make informed training decisions. Learning pathways provide high-quality, relevant training through both Esri instructor-led classes and Esri Virtual Campus Web-based training. Those completing a learning pathway will acquire knowledge and skills that can be applied directly to their jobs, as well as receive a certificate of completion for the entire pathway.

Academic Competition—Esri is currently sponsoring an Academic Competition for ModelBuilder Users. Participants will be able to submit models until April 15, 2005. Winners will be announced on June 20, 2005, with a special presentation at the 2005 Esri International User Conference. Models must be created using ModelBuilder and should include an overview and the objectives, the model, any scripts/algorithms used, and data used in examples, along with permissions for use and suggestions for using the model. Dr. David J. Cowen, chair, Department of Geography, University of South Carolina, will lead the judging. Cash prizes totaling $10,000 will be awarded.

Esri Press

Esri Press broadened its publishing scope and expanded distribution channels worldwide. Some highlights include Cartographica Extraordinaire: The Historical Map Transformed, a groundbreaking book that was critically acclaimed in the publishing industry. Booklist called it "the most beautiful book of 2004, probably of the decade," while the American Library Association described it as a "high-quality volume sure to wow map fans." Mapping the Future of America's National Parks: Stewardship Through Geographic Information Systems is both an ode to the rich mapping legacy of the National Park Service and an abundant collection of cutting-edge GIS applications. Other important new titles that pushed the envelope include Unlocking the Census with GIS, Measuring Up: The Business Case for GIS, GIS and Land Records: The ArcGIS Parcel Data Model, Designing Geodatabases, and ArcGIS and the Digital City. New distributors in Europe and Asia now make it easier to obtain Esri Press books internationally.

GIS in Society Programs

Global Map/GSDI Grant Program—For the past decade, a network of national, regional, and international organizations and individuals around the world, both public and private, have discussed a vision of constructing a Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI) that could involve the development and open sharing of local to global data through a network of clearinghouses. Similarly, the International Steering Committee for Global Mapping has been working to develop Global Map—a group of global geographic data sets at a scale of 1:1,000,000 and of known and verified quality with consistent specifications, which is open to the public. Both organizations have joined forces to develop a grant program to support national mapping agencies. To date, Esri has awarded 106 grants of software and training to support this vision.

UN–HABITAT's 1,000 Cities GIS Programme—The Global Urban Observatory of the United Nations–HABITAT (UN–HABITAT) is committed to improving the capacity of cities and countries at large to manage data sources with the aim of using it for policy design and monitoring, specifically the UN–HABITAT agenda and lately the Millennium Development Goals. Experience has shown that most cities within developing countries lack accurate and up-to-date spatial data. Early in 2002, UN-HABITAT and Esri signed a Memorandum of Understanding to distribute 1,000 software copies to applicants from cities in developing countries. To date, more than 140 applications have been received.

Global Forest Watch—Global Forest Watch identifies and promotes successful forest management practices, enables governments to better manage their forests, and provides local groups with the information they will need to participate in the management of their forests. Esri continues its $1 million grant in GIS software and training to Global Forest Watch and its partners.

My Community, Our Earth: Geographic Learning for Sustainable Development—Esri is providing continued support to My Community, Our Earth (MyCOE). In March 2004, Esri jointly participated in the White Water to Blue Water (WW2BW) Conference in Miami, Florida, where MyCOE had a booth, and made presentations with other MyCOE partners, including the Association of American Geographers (AAG) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

GIS and Sustainable Water Management—Esri also provided a seminar on GIS and Sustainable Water Management through the Smithsonian Institution's Institute@WW2BW with AAG and the World Resources Institute. In September 2004, Esri participated in the Inter-American Development Bank's Environment Week.

Humanitarian Affairs

UNOCHA Iraq—In support of humanitarian operations during the conflict in Iraq, GIS software was donated to the information centers managed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA). In addition, Esri sent trainers to Jordan where Iraqi government staff members were trained in GIS technologies.

World Monuments Fund Jordan/Iraq—Esri donated software to the World Monuments Fund to support the mapping and dissemination of information about cultural and historic resources in Jordan and Iraq.

IMSMA NG—Esri agreed to continue to donate its technology to the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA). IMSMA is used around the world as the UN-endorsed information system to support the clearance of land mines and management of national mine action programs. IMSMA is entering its next generation of development, utilizing ArcGIS 9 Engine technology (see article beginning on page 10).

UNESCO—Esri donated software to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to support the dissemination of information about global cultural and historic resources.

University of Rwanda—Esri in collaboration with Oakar Services, Ltd., Esri's international distributor in Nairobi, Kenya, offered an educational grant to the National University of Rwanda to provide software to support its GIS program.

UNEP_WCMC Proteus Project—Esri has joined a group of major international corporations supporting the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP_WCMC) Proteus Project, which is expanding the distribution, use, and accuracy of biodiversity data.

Comments Esri President Jack Dangermond, "During this past year, I was surprised and encouraged by the number and breadth of GIS and related applications that I viewed throughout my travels. Our users are making inroads into almost every aspect of mainstream society around the world (the language of geography). In addition to growth in the traditional GIS community, the new generation of standards-based engine, mobile, and server GIS technology is supporting expansion of GIS concepts and technologies into the full enterprise computing environment. This will no doubt cause our users and Esri to expand in new, exciting and challenging directions. This trend will further reinforce GIS as a new and exciting language—understanding and managing our earth."

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