ESRI Conservation Program Charter
Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc.
January 2, 1996
The overall goal of the ECP is to support conservation groups
in acquiring, learning and using GIS tools and methods. ECP has a particular
focus on appropriate levels of technology for locally-sustainable programs.
It's goal is not to throw out one-off donations into a vacuum with no forethought,
but to build permanent, locally-based support structures that provide ongoing
evolutionary growth in GIS skills.
Humans are still the key
ECP will be human-based rather than tool-based in its approach to supporting
conservation programs. Rather than inventing technical solutions and trying
to flog them, the ECP will instead identify individual persons who are
actively working on conservation programs at the local level, who have
a strong dedication to that area and who are making a clear difference
because of their work. Once identified, the ECP will seek to support those
persons on GIS and resources database problems in whatever way required,
recognizing that the most important component of any database is the person
running it. In this way, ECP activities are driven by the stated needs
of its user community in a human-based manner. The present ECP concept
is in fact based on just such feedback from the current network of conservationists
interested in GIS.
Top-Down Training plus Bottom-Up Application
As humans begin the process of adopting and learning GIS tools and methods,
ECP will provide specialist support in the complex problems of database
design and management, recognizing that much of the top GIS design expertise
in the world resides at ESRI. ECP will also make available whatever resources
are needed to get new projects over the initial learning curve so that
they can begin to produce useful output as quickly as possible. This assistance
will be provided solely on a user-demand basis: whatever users need, ECP
will attempt to provide. There is no ECP-centered development program for
standard products or services thought to be of use to the community but
developed separately at ECP. ECP is committed to providing what is required
for successful GIS projects and no more.
Specific Functions of the ECP:
To put GIS training, support and tools into the hands of locally-based
conservation groups worldwide.
To form partnerships with international and globally- based conservation
organizations for GIS technical assistance, global database design, development
To help create locally-sustainable GIS programs by developing cooperative
agreements between local conservation groups to exchange technical support.
To help create global networks of support by organizing an annual conservation
GIS users conference, the first of which was held at the 1991 ESRI users
conference. To arrange for support and scholarships to help developing
country participants attend.
To develop direct sponsorship of local groups from larger institutions
in the developed world, such as an adopt-a -user program where large GIS
users agree to provide technical support and training to smaller users
in developing countries. ECP has also arranged for conservation groups
to have access to advanced equipment such as vectorization scanners and
electrostatic plotters when needed.
To encourage and facilitate the exchange of databases and applications.
To help provide data conversion services and volunteer programming services
where needed. The ECP is working closely with ESRI on the Arcdata program,
which helps distribute the many GIS datasets already held at ESRI. The
ECP is also organizing a "Country Starter Kit" program based
on the Digital Chart of the World Project. The DCW a multi-year, 10 million
dollar ESRI project to produce the first 1:1,000,000- scale multilayer
digital basemap of the world, contracted by an international consortium
of government cartographic agencies headed by the U.S. Defense Mapping
Agency. The DCW includes public-domain display software and source code
developed in the C language, and the database will contain topologically
based vector data digitized from DMA's Operational Navigation Charts. The
DCW project is also mandated to develop new international standards for
the storage and interchange of digital map data. This Vector Product Format
standard will serve as the standard for future digital products.
To develop specific conservation GIS support programs within other companies
such as a conservation vacation program where employees may spend their
vacations volunteering for an approved international conservation program,
or leave without pay will be granted automatically for extended service
to approved conservation programs without loss of benefits.
To represent the GIS needs of the international conservation community
to other donors, including suppliers of hardware, software and imagery,
and foundations and aid organizations.
To assist conservation groups in securing donations for GIS programs
and to assist donors in evaluating the usefulness and long-term local sustainability
of GIS donation requests received.
To provide specialist advice to foundations and aid organizations in
the potential for GIS and its appropriate application and management in
developing country environments.
To establish a quarterly newsletter to report on conservation GIS activities,
notify donors of worthy projects, follow up on project progress for prior
donations, report on availability of volunteers and services, report on
advances in conservation theory as it applies to GIS and new applications.
For further information, contact Charles Convis at ESRI, 380 New York
St., Redlands, CA, 92373. email@example.com, tel (909) 793-2853, fax (909)