Esri (/ˈɛzr/; Environmental Systems Research Institute) is an international supplier of geographic information system (GIS) software, web GIS and geodatabase management applications. The company is headquartered in Redlands, California.

Founded1969 (1969) in Redlands, California
United States
ProductsArcGIS, ArcGIS Desktop, ArcGIS Enterprise, ArcGIS Online
Revenue$1.1 Billion (2016 statistics) [1]
OwnerJack Dangermond 
Number of employees
3,800 + (2016 statistics) [2]

The company was founded as the Environmental Systems Research Institute in 1969 as a land-use consulting firm. Esri products (particularly ArcGIS Desktop) have 40.7% of the global market share.[3] In 2014, Esri had approximately a 43 percent share of the GIS software market worldwide, more than any other vendor.[4]

The company has 10 regional offices in the U.S. and a network of more than 80 international distributors,[5] with about a million users in 200 countries. The firm has 3,800 employees globally, and is privately held by its founders. In 2006, revenues were about $660 million.[6] In a 2016 Investor's Business Daily article, Esri's annual revenues were indicated to be $1.1 Billion, from 300,000 customers ($4000/customer/year).[7]

The company hosts an annual International User's Conference, which was first held on the Redlands campus in 1981 with 16 attendees. The User's Conference has been held in San Diego at the San Diego Convention Center since 1997. An estimated 18,000 users from 136 countries attended in 2017.[8]


Jack and Laura Dangermond founded Esri in 1969. Jack Dangermond is the current president.[9]

Esri is a privately held company, debt free, and committed to sustainable growth.[10]

Pronunciation of company name

According to the company, Esri is pronounced as a word, 'ez-ree'.[11]

Some distributors outside of the USA such as Esri Canada market themselves with the 'ess-ree' pronunciation followed by the country name.

The company previously referred to itself as E-S-R-I (each letter pronounced just as in FBI, CIA, NSA).[12]


Esri uses the name ArcGIS to refer to its suite of GIS software products, which operate on desktop, server, and mobile platforms. ArcGIS also includes developer products and web services. In a general sense, the term GIS describes any information system that integrates, stores, edits, analyzes, shares and displays geographic information for informing decision making. The term GIS-Centric, however, has been specifically defined as the use of the Esri ArcGIS geodatabase as the asset and feature data repository central to computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) as a part of enterprise asset management and analytical software systems. GIS-centric certification criteria have been specifically defined by NAGCS, the National Association of GIS-Centric Solutions.

Desktop GIS

As of July 2019, the company's desktop GIS suite is ArcGIS Desktop version 10.7.1 and ArcGIS Pro 2.4. ArcGIS Desktop consists of several integrated applications, including ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcToolbox, ArcScene, ArcGlobe, and ArcGIS Pro. The suite's main application today is ArcGIS Pro which is slowly replacing the former main components, ArcMap, ArcCatalog and ArcToolbox. Collectively these applications allow users to author, analyze, map, manage, share, and publish geographic information. ArcGIS Pro was introduced in early 2015 as a modern and fully 64-bit application with integrated 2D and 3D functionality.[13] The product suite is available in three levels of licensing:[14] Basic (formerly called ArcView), Standard (formerly called ArcEditor) and Advanced (formerly called ArcInfo). Basic provides a basic set of GIS capabilities suitable for many GIS applications. Standard, at added cost, allows more extensive data editing and manipulation, including server geodatabase editing. Advanced, at the high end, provides full, advanced analysis and data management capabilities, including geostatistical and topological analysis tools. Additionally, ArcGIS is compatible with following OGC standards: WFS, WCS, GFS and various others.

ArcGIS Explorer, ArcReader, and ArcExplorer are basic freeware applications for viewing GIS data.

ArcGIS Desktop extensions are available, including Spatial Analyst for raster analysis, and 3D Analyst for terrain mapping and analysis. Other more specialized extensions are available from Esri and third parties.

Esri's original product, ARC/INFO, was a command line GIS product available initially on minicomputers, then on UNIX workstations. In 1992, a GUI GIS, ArcView GIS, was introduced. Over time, both products were offered in Windows versions, and ArcView also as a Macintosh product. The names ArcView and ArcInfo were used for a while to name different levels of licensing in ArcGIS Desktop, and less often refer to these original software products. The Windows version of ArcGIS is now the only ArcGIS Desktop platform that is undergoing new development for future product releases.

Server GIS

Server GIS products provide GIS functionality and data deployed from a central environment. ArcGIS Server is an Internet application service, used to extend the functionality of ArcGIS Desktop software to a browser based environment. It is available on Solaris and Linux as well as Windows. ArcSDE (Spatial Database Engine) is used as a Relational database management system connector for other Esri software to store and retrieve GIS data within a commercially available database: currently, it can be used with Oracle, PostgreSQL, DB2, Informix and Microsoft SQL Server databases. It supports its native SDE binary data format, Oracle Spatial, and ST_geometry. ArcIMS (Internet Mapping Server) provides browser-based access to GIS. As of ArcGIS 10.1, ArcIMS has been deprecated in favor of ArcGIS Server, but there are still many instances of ArcIMS (10.0 and older) in production environments. Other server-based products include Geoportal Server, ArcGIS Image Server and Tracking Server as well as several others.

Mobile GIS

Mobile GIS conflates GIS, GPS, location-based services, hand-held computing, and the growing availability of geographic data. ArcGIS technology can be deployed on a range of mobile systems from lightweight devices to PDAs, laptops, and Tablet PCs. The firm's products for this use include Collector for ArcGIS, Survey123 for ArcGIS, ArcGIS QuickCapture and more. Former products and applications in this category included ArcPad and ArcGIS for Mobile.[15]

Online GIS (ArcGIS Online)

ArcGIS includes Internet capabilities in all Esri software products. The services, provided through ArcGIS Online at, include web APIs, hosted map and geoprocessing services, and a user sharing program. A variety of basemaps is a signature feature of ArcGIS Online. The Esri Community Maps program compiles detailed user basemap information into a common cartographic format called Topographic Basemap.[16]

Data formats


  • Shapefile – Esri's somewhat open, hybrid vector data format using SHP, SHX and DBF files. Originally invented in the early 1990s, it is still commonly used as a widely supported interchange format.
  • Enterprise Geodatabase – Esri's geodatabase format for use in an relational database system.
  • File Geodatabase – Esri's file-based geodatabase format, stored as folders in a file system.
  • Personal Geodatabase – Esri's closed, integrated vector data storage strategy using Microsoft's Access MDB format is a legacy format generally replaced by the file geodatabase in most contemporary use.
  • Coverage – Esri's closed, hybrid vector data storage strategy. Legacy ArcGIS Workstation / ArcInfo format with reduced support in modern application.


Esri Technical Certification

The Esri Technical Certification program was launched in January 2011.[17] The program provides an exam based certification for Esri software. The core groups for the certification include Desktop, Developer, and Enterprise. Each subcategory under these groups have two certification levels, Associate and Professional.[18]

Esri Conservation Program

In 1989, the Esri Conservation Program was started to help change the way nonprofit organizations carried out missions of nature conservation and social change. This program provides GIS software, data, and training, as well as helping to coordinate multiorganizational efforts.

Federal investigation

On June 28, 2006, an Esri official said that the company had received a federal subpoena as part of the ongoing investigation into the ties between Jerry Lewis and Copeland Lowery. "We have no concerns," Esri spokesman Don Berry said. "We retain a lobbyist and it is not an issue for us." On September 5, 2006, the Associated Press reported that federal investigators were looking into a donation of 41 acres (170,000 m2) of land to the city of Redlands by the owners of Esri in 2001, land adjacent to the home of Lewis. In late November 2010, the US Department of Justice notified Lewis's attorneys that the case had been concluded and closed without charges.[19]

See also


  1. Heltt, Miguel. "The Godfather of Digital Maps". Forbes/Tech. Forbes Magazine. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  3. "Update: Esri has 40+% of GIS Marketshare". Directions Magazine. Archived from the original on 2013-01-03. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
  4. "Geographic Information Systems ARC Advisory Group". Archived from the original on 2016-07-18. Retrieved 2016-07-25.
  5. "Contact Esri". Esri Office Worldwide. Esri. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  6. "GIS in Our World". Esri Website: Company Facts. Archived from the original on 1998-12-05. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  7. Howell, Donna (2009-08-14). "Jack Dangermond's Digital Mapping Lays It All Out". Investor's Business Daily. Archived from the original on 2010-05-10. Retrieved 2009-08-21.
  8. "2017 ESRIUC by the Numbers – facts, stats, and numbers of interest". 2017 ESRIUC by the Numbers – facts, stats, and numbers of interest. GEO Jobe. 2017-07-17. Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  9. "Jack Dangermon on Forbes". Forbes. 2014-05-29. Retrieved 2014-05-29.
  10. "Esri Fact Sheet | Media Relations Press Information". Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  11. Schutzberg, Adena (2010-03-23). "ESRI "Transitioning" Pronunciation of its Name". Archived from the original on 2016-08-28. Retrieved 2016-07-25.
  12. Dempsey, Caitlin (2010-06-26). "ESRI Changes Its Pronunciation". Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  13. "ArcGIS Pro – Reinventing Desktop GIS". Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  14. "Buy ArcGIS for Desktop". Retrieved 2016-07-25.
  15. "Mobile GIS App Development". WebMapSolutions. Archived from the original on 24 April 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  16. "Free Mobile app for ArcGIS Online". WebMapSolutions. Archived from the original on 9 February 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  17. "Earn the New Esri Technical Certification". Esri. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  18. "Technical Certification". Esri. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  19. Goad, Ben (2010-12-03). "Justice Department closes long-running case involving Rep. Lewis". The Press-Enterprise. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
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