For more than a decade ESRI has sought to make its geographic information system (GIS) software products accessible and affordable to educational institutions, instructors, and students. Today, in a time of rapidly shrinking budgets, ESRI has chosen to lessen the financial pinch on cash-strapped institutions by lowering the cost of many of its educational software licenses.

"It is now even more possible for schools, colleges, and universities to make continued and broader use of ESRI technology," said Dr. Michael Phoenix, ESRI education programs coordinator. "Organizations that have been interested in setting up ArcInfo labs, or getting various ArcGIS extensions such as Spatial Analyst, will find it easier to do so. Equally important, ArcView and its extensions are less expensive for students."

Price reductions also extend to public libraries, museums, kindergarten through 12th grade schools and administrative offices-where GIS is used in boundary planning, facilities management, student transportation, and other administrative tasks. "Besides being a beneficial addition to inquiry-based learning in the classroom, GIS helps educational institutions manage existing resources and plan for future needs more efficiently," said George Dailey, ESRI K-12 education manager. "This includes tasks such as fine-tuning bus routes and walk zones to minimize transportation costs, tackling school safety and emergency preparedness issues, and looking at population growth to understand where the next school or public library should be built."

As part of ESRI's ongoing commitment to education, users will find many curriculum and support opportunities available at the company's Web sites including higher education (, K-12 education (, libraries/museums (, the Virtual Campus (, and ESRI Press (