Education & Jobs

Education Partnership Award Winner 2019: Esri Ireland

Esri Ireland is a technology company that specialises in the application of geographic information systems (GIS), helping customers record where things happen and analyse why, with the aim of providing insight and helping them to make better decisions.

Background

Esri is a global leader in GIS and digital mapping with nearly 10,000 employees worldwide. Esri Ireland employs approx. 75 people across its Belfast and Dublin offices. Recognised as one of the Best Workplaces in Ireland, Esri Ireland has, since 2002, partnered with both the public and private sector to help them understand the impact of geography on their business.

What ESRI Ireland did

Esri Ireland has partnered with many stakeholders in the Northern Ireland education sector to successfully launch its innovative ‘ArcGIS for Schools’ programme – making over £100 million worth of digital mapping software freely available to every Northern Ireland primary and post-primary school. More than 300,000 pupils in up to 1,146 schools have been granted free access to Esri’s digital mapping platform through the not-for-profit initiative.

The platform allows students to explore subjects in new ways by collecting, analysing and visualising data on a wide range of topics. For example, students can use GIS to plot geological points of interest, study climate change, predict future scenarios, explore history visually, conduct field-based surveys, and perform many other cross-disciplinary activities.

ArcGIS for Schools supports STEM learning – developing critical thinking skills and enabling students to do exactly what STEM professionals do in thousands of career fields daily. The not-for-profit initiative also allows teachers to teach a range of subjects in new ways, enhancing the learning experience for students who are increasingly adept and engaged with technology.

The technology was piloted in six schools located across Northern Ireland including primary, grammar and secondary schools.

Esri Ireland also provides: lesson plans aligned to primary and post-primary teaching; a GeoMentor programme, designed to connect mapping experts with local teachers; and continually updated mapping data, including local data from Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland (OSNI) – allowing students to explore their local area in detail.

The programme is in alignment with EANI’s strategic priority to provide excellent education support services – leveraging technology and promoting digital education for young people throughout Northern Ireland.

Exposure to GIS helps students to think critically, to better understand our planet and to become better problem solvers and evidence-based decision makers. Esri is a firm supporter of closing the digital skills gap by encouraging young people to consider careers in STEM subjects. By enabling new skills in young people through technology, Esri hopes to help empower tomorrow’s leaders to safeguard our planet for future generations.

Impacts and Outcomes

  • £100 million worth of digital mapping software freely available to every Northern Ireland primary and post-primary school.
  • More than 300,000 pupils in up to 1,146 schools have been granted free access to Esri’s digital mapping platform through the not-for-profit initiative.
  • Strengthened relationship with many key education and government stakeholders in Northern Ireland.
  • Excellent employee engagement with the programme as they are keen to engage in the GeoMentor programme – signing up to share their GIS expertise with teachers across the country
  • Developed cross-community initiatives through this project
  • STEM learning supported through integrative, project-based experiences, enabling students to hone their digital skills and perform actions and tasks that STEM professionals do in thousands of careers daily.

For more information, please email jmclaughlin@esri-ireland.ie