ESRI (UK) boosts Education support with acquisition of Digital Worlds

9 April 2009, Aylesbury: ESRI (UK), the market leader in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) solutions, has acquired Digital Worlds International (DWI) Ltd, a leader in the development and delivery of GIS as a teaching tool for UK schools.

The deal will enable ESRI (UK) to increase its existing work within the education sector and further support the teaching of Geography and other school subjects using its GIS technology. DWI will benefit from the depth of ESRI (UK)’s resources to develop and support products and applications for schools.

As the first company to introduce a comprehensive solution of high quality software, data and teaching resources for schools in the UK, DWI has been a pioneer of GIS in education. During its five-year partnership with ESRI (UK), DWI has brought their entry level GIS product into the classroom of thousands of students. Last year, the two organisations collaborated to launch ‘Digital Worlds GIS2’, an ArcEngine-based solution that gives teachers access to a wealth of information to support their lessons without having to deal with the complexity of sourcing geographic data. The software also enables pupils to participate in activities such as comparing historical and modern maps and plotting shoreline erosion.

Richard Pole, Managing Director, DWI said: "Joining forces with ESRI (UK) is the logical next step in the development of GIS teaching in schools. As GIS is now written into the National Curriculum as a mandatory requirement, there is a real opportunity to help more schools than ever before get started with GIS. We are very pleased to have the commitment and backing of the UK’s GIS market leader.”

Richard Waite, Managing Director, ESRI (UK) said: “We have worked closely with DWI since 2004, and are delighted that they have become part of ESRI (UK), as we can now achieve so much more together. DWI’s visionary thinking complements and strengthens our existing offering within the education sector, helping teachers and pupils to benefit from geographic intelligence.

“Geography is central to understanding world issues such as climate change. Using software and computers is second nature to the current generation of school pupils. Bringing software and Geography teaching together helps to increase pupils’ understanding of real world developments, prepares them for the world of work and provides them with many GIS skills.”

As part of the deal, DWI’s founders Richard Pole and Jason Sawle are joining ESRI (UK), bringing their wealth of knowledge and expertise to the newly established ESRI (UK) Schools Team, which is focused on building a GIS community within schools across the UK.

About ESRI (UK)

ESRI (UK) is part of the global ESRI network. With the single, largest pool of GIS expertise in the UK, the company is the technical authority on GIS. ESRI (UK) provides solutions, technology and services including off the shelf applications built on the ArcGIS software suite and an extensive range of consulting and training services.

Its offerings meet a range of business needs in different markets including Business, Local & Central Government, Defence, Public Safety, Utilities and Telecommunications, as well as catering for system integrators and application developers through the ESRI Developer Network.

ESRI (UK)’s customers include both public sector clients such as Leeds City Council, Metropolitan Police, DCLG, The Environment Agency and businesses including Thames Water, RSA Group and The AA.

ESRI (UK) helps businesses become more profitable and public service more efficient through the better use of geographic information. The ability to understand customers' needs and harness the power of GIS for the long-term benefit of organisations is what we call Visionary Thinking.

ESRI (UK) has previously delivered successful services to the Home Office, Strathclyde Police, the MOD Police Service alongside other government intelligence agencies.

About Digital Worlds International Ltd
Established in 2000, Digital Worlds International (DWI) focused on removing the barriers to schools for using GIS. DWI created and ran the Dakini projects which provided a GIS to every school in Kent and East Sussex and schools in France

In 2004, DWI launched the first version of the Digital Worlds GIS to schools in the UK, providing a customized GIS; a range of data (including OS maps, aerial photographs, satellite imagery, historic maps and census data); lesson plans; support; and training which helped to remove many of the obstacles that stop GIS being used in the classroom.

Prior to the acquisition, DWI was a business partner of ESRI (UK) and launched Digital Worlds GIS 2 based on ESRI (UK)’s technology.

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