For Environmental Systems Research Institute, success stems from thinking globally and mapping locally. Known as ESRI, the company develops geographic information systems (GIS) software used to create and label digital maps, publish maps on the Internet, and build related databases. ESRI has customers in fields such as government, forestry, oil and gas, and transportation. Its ArcGIS product line includes applications used for tracking oil spills, planning land use, monitoring rainforest depletion, and routing emergency vehicles, among many other uses. ESRI was founded in 1969 by Jack and Laura Dangermond, who still own the company.
While ESRI's GIS technology underlies the mapping services of other companies, it is mostly concerned with supporting institutional, enterprise, and civil customers. Companies such as Garmin and TomTom, a partner, are more focused on the consumer mobile mapping market, while ESRI's clients have included AECOM, American Transmission, National Geographic Society, and Carrefour. Still, mapping technology for the Web and mobile phones is a burgeoning market, and ESRI's ArcGIS supports all wireless platforms for mobile devices.
The company's ESRI Press unit publishes books on the GIS field, including atlases, software manuals, and textbooks. ESRI also provides professional services, such as project management and technology implementation, as well as support and disaster response consulting.
ESRI operates from 10 offices in the US and relies on a network of more than 80 distributors around the world to serve international customers.
Mergers and Acquisitions
ESRI uses periodic acquisitions to augment its own product development efforts and expand its client base. The company acquired interactive map specialist SpotOn Systems in 2011 to extend the functionality of its Business Analyst product, a tool that combines demographic and business data with maps and spatial analysis information. Also that year ESRI bought Procedural, a developer of software (CityEngine) used to generate 3D renderings of urban environments from 2D data sources. ESRI integrated the CityEngine technology into its core ArcGIS suite.