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Jack Dangermond of Esri Pledges $1B of Mapping Software to Schools

June 3, 2014  - By 0 Comments

Jack Dangermond, founder and president of Esri, has announced that Esri will make its advanced mapping software ArcGIS available for free to K-12 schools across the country, reports FORBES. Through the program, students will have access to the same cloud-based GIS technology used by governments and businesses to map and analyze data. The program is set to benefit more than 100,000 schools, with each ArcGIS online account worth about $10,000, adding up to a total potential value exceeding $1 billion, according to Esri.

“This is not a new endeavor by us. We have been supporting GIS in schools for more than 25 years,” Dangermond told FORBES. “Bringing GIS into schools gets the kids very excited and indirectly teaches them different components of STEM education. That’s been illustrated at school after school.”

The idea began when Dangermond met with President Obama a few months ago to discuss how Esri can contribute to the ConnectED Initiative, a program by the White House to help strengthen STEM education for K-12 students. “I asked myself: ‘What’s the biggest idea that we can go for?’” Dangermond recalled. As soon as he proposed that Esri would offer its software for free for every K-12 school in America, the president was immediately on board. “We thought this is a way to scale it up and bring GIS education to schools in the whole country,” Dangermond said.

Esri previously experimented with the initiative on a smaller scale in different states. In Detroit, students used the company’s software to identify environmental issues and come up with plans to fix them. Students also have used ArcGIS to map health issues in Los Angeles and use demographic data to get Walmart products delivered to returning veterans.

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Tracy Cozzens

About the Author:

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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