History of GIS

A brief history of GIS technology

For more than 40 years, Esri has been unmatched in its development of, and commitment to, the science of GIS.

Under the extraordinary vision of founder, president and father of modern-day GIS, Jack Dangermond, Esri developed the world’s first, and leading, GIS technology – now used in every industry around the world.

During the 1970s, Esri created a set of tools that could be applied in a computer environment to create a Geographic Information System (GIS).

The company then launched the world’s first commercial GIS software – known as ARC/INFO – in 1982.

Esri reengineered ARC/INFO in the late 1990s to develop a modular and scalable GIS platform designed to work on both a desktop and across an enterprise. This was the beginning of ArcGIS.

Today, the ArcGIS platform continues to grow and evolve – setting new world-standards for GIS deployment – and is now also available in both mobile and web environments.

Esri has delivered further innovation through ArcGIS Online, which leverages the cloud to make GIS capabilities available to every household, student, community group and business throughout the world.

To learn more, take a look at GIS in action, or visit our blog and news site for a range of GIS articles and user stories.