The United Nations will honor Esri founder Jack Dangermond as one of the 2013 Champions of the Earth.

Dangermond will receive the award, the highest environmental accolade given by the U.N., at a ceremony at the Museum of Natural History in New York on Sept. 18

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Esri co-founder Jack Dangermond will receive the United Nations Champions of the Earth Award. (Photo credit: Esri)

at 5 p.m.

According to a press release issued by the U.N., Dangermond “pioneered the use of Geographic Information System (GIS), which enables people to collect, visualize, model and manage geographic data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared--thus enhancing conservation efforts and natural resources management.”

The United Nations recognized Esri for its charitable work and said that the company has donated technology and expertise to more than 5,000 institutions worldwide.

In addition, Esri has used GIS to protect snow leopards in high mountain areas; protect marine environment; and develop wildlife corridors in North America.

“We have been privileged to work for nearly 30 years supporting various UN initiatives from environment, conservation and agriculture to humanitarian and statistical missions,” Dangermond said in a statement. “In all of this, the use of GIS has changed how people understand our world and create practical solutions. We are very appreciative of this acknowledgement. It illustrates the increasing recognition of the role geoscience is playing in our global evolution.”

Dangermond founded Esri with his wife Laura in 1969.

Other 2013 Champions of the Earth Award winners were Izabella Teixeira (policy leadership); Janez Potocnik (policy leadership); Google Earth (entrepreneurial vision); Veerabhadran Ramanathan (science and innovation); Carlo Petrini (inspiration and action); and Martha Isabel Ruiz Corzo (inspiration and action).