Jack Dangermond is the co-founder and president of Esri. A geographer with deep roots in landscape architecture, Jack productised GIS after a decade of research and development as a regional planning consultant in his hometown of Redlands, California. Today, Esri dominates the geospatial technology industry and is the 4th largest privately held software company in the world.
The son of Dutch immigrants, Jack received an early education in botany and business at his parents’ landscape supply store, Dangermond’s Nursery. He credits his experience there for igniting his passion for business and landscape architecture.
After graduating from Harvard in 1969, Jack and his wife Laura used $1,100 in savings to enter the urban planning business. A consulting group called Environmental Systems Research Institute (later shortened to “Esri”), the Dangermonds’ first business endeavor assisted regional planning projects in the US and Japan using digital mapping and spatial analysis methods that were part of Jack’s formal training at Harvard.
In developing GIS technology and its applications, Mr. Dangermond combined an early interest in computers with studies in environmental science at California Polytechnic College, urban planning at the University of Minnesota and landscape architecture at Harvard University. In 1969, he and his wife founded ESRI in his hometown of Redlands, California and ever since has been an outspoken proponent of GIS as one of man’s most promising decision-making tools for urban, regional, environmental, and global problems.
In 1981, Jack directed the design of the world’s first commercially available GIS software product, ARC/INFO, the precursor to Esri’s industry-standard geospatial platform ArcGIS. By 1999, Jack had guided Esri from a small research group of a dozen people to a global organisation of 3,500 employees. Today, Esri has more than 350,000 customers with 1 million users in 200 countries.
Jack has authored hundreds of papers on GIS relating to cartography, photogrammetry, computer science, and environmental science. In 2015, Jack and Laura received the Audubon Medal from the National Audubon Society in recognition of their conservation innovation and support for research institutions, schools, and non-profit organisations.