ArcGIS Online ( is a state-of–the-art, Cloud-based package, which allows the visualisation and analysis of geospatial data. It is an expert tool used by many tens of thousands of employers across Europe, as well as for educational and scientific activities. In its pledge Esri will establish a “GIS School Program” offering free access to and use of the ArcGIS Online platform, especially for STEM education, initially to 300 primary and secondary schools and vocational institutions in 10 EU member states by the end of 2017. By giving students access to ArcGIS Online, they will be able to acquire not only digital skills but also competences in spatial thinking that will help them in their careers. Spatial thinking is a distinct form of thinking, which helps people to visualise and interpret relationships between and among spatial phenomena, recognised as one of the fundamental forms of intelligence needed to function in modern society.


ArcGIS applies The Science of Where to connect everyone, everywhere through a common visual language. It combines mapping and analytics to reveal deeper insight into data.

Last update: 05/01/2018
Update this pledge

Pledge Category

Digital skills in education

Pledge's geographical scope

Time period

Start date: 03/03/2017
End date: 31/12/2019

Other Pledge details

Public Funding: NO


ESRI is the global market leader in GIS and have helped customers improve results since 1969.

Qualitative Impact

The initiative Esri “GIS School Program” is designed to enrich school education for every student who participates across Europe. This fits the ambitions of the Europe2020 Strategy as it not only empowers teachers and students, creating opportunities for individualised learning and developing rich, digital content, but it also offers opportunities to develop core digital competences, soft skills and work with curriculum content relevant for meaningful contributions to a smart, data-rich, sustainable society and the workplace.
By giving students access to the ArcGIS Online portal they will be able to acquire not only digital skills (like managing and analysing large sets of data, maps, and satellite images; dealing with software and data in the Cloud; working with and creating mobile apps; producing story maps to disseminate their findings) but also develop skills in spatial thinking which will help them in their later careers. Request of such skills comes, among others, from the public sector, utilities, natural resources, transportation, defence and commercial retail companies.
To be successful, building a nationally-based support system across Europe for the Esri “GIS School Program” will be critical, with contact points able to offer advice and guidance in the local language. We envision establishing a support system similar to the GeoMentor Program ( operating with the encouragement of European associations, professional bodies, public and private sector organisations and others who can contribute to help educators to become familiar with and use the technology. The scheme will engage GIS professionals, researchers and academics around Europe to support education developments related to GIS and spatial thinking in education, illustrating how real-world problems could be solved and making a difference in the community. This in turn brings the world of work closer to schools and the classroom.

Quantitative Impact

Indicator Description Target Status
Other (countries) Countries where the “GIS School Program” will be operational 10 7

Pledge progress

Evidence about progress

Jan. 5 '18: Romania joined the Esri European GIS School Program! Please see their education pages:

Aug. 30 '17: Esri UK now has over 1050 (!) schools signed up! More on and see the story map on This means we easily passed our target of 300 schools in 2017, However it is in one of now total six of the participating countries....

Aug. 30 '17: Progress also in the three Baltic states where we now have about 50 schools using the system and localised lessons.

May 10 20 '17 : Esri UK started their program per April 20, since then over 250 schools have signed up. More on


Milestone name Completion date Status
Preparation of the programme: Launch event; Scheme established and operating in 10 leading countries; GeoMentoring scheme initiated in Europe; Supporting resources and materials available online 31/12/2017 On Track
Review of the progres and renewal of the pledge 31/01/2018 N/A
Five additional countries become involved 31/12/2018 N/A
Five additional countries become involved 31/12/2019 N/A