Esri Appoints Dawn J. Wright as Chief Scientist

REDLANDS, Calif., June 16, 2011 — (PRNewswire) — Ocean scientist, geographer, and geographic information system (GIS) author Dawn J. Wright will join Esri as its chief scientist on October 3, 2011. She will help formulate and advance the intellectual agenda for the environmental, conservation, climate, and ocean sciences aspect of Esri's work while also representing Esri to the national/international scientific community.


"As a scientist, Wright brings a background of rigor that will strengthen our alignment with the requirements of the scientific community," said Jack Dangermond, Esri president. "In her capacity as chief scientist, she will interface with government, business, industry, and the public and collaborate with them to understand and find solutions for our planet."  

A notable authority in geographic information science, Wright has for the past 16 years teamed with scientists worldwide who use GIS to map and analyze terrains, ecosystems, and habitat.  She combines her expertise as a geographer and GIS user to map the seafloor; design geospatial solutions for coastal mapping and charting; and advise organizations on oceanography and fisheries, including her current service on the National Academy of Sciences Ocean Studies Board. She has worked with the GIS community to develop data models and create solutions for analyzing the ocean.

"I am honored and excited to serve with Esri in this capacity, and I look forward to helping advance Esri's science vision and scientific strategy as well as new initiatives to strengthen ocean GIS," said Wright.

Wright is currently professor of geography and oceanography at Oregon State University and will continue to be affiliated with the university. In 2007, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education named her US Professor of the Year for the State of Oregon. She is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a new fellow of Stanford University's Aldo Leopold Leadership Program in science communication. Her research interests include geographic information science; ocean informatics and cyberinfrastructure; benthic terrain and habitat characterization; and the processing and interpretation of high-resolution bathymetry, video, and underwater photographic images. Wright received a PhD in physical geography and marine geology from the University of California, Santa Barbara; an MS in oceanography from Texas A&M; and a BS with honors from Wheaton College in Illinois. She is also certified by the GIS Certification Institute as a GIS professional (GISP).

About Esri

Since 1969, Esri has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS technology, Esri software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. Esri applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world's mapping and spatial analysis. Esri is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit us at

Esri, the Esri globe logo, GIS by Esri,, and are trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks of Esri in the United States, the European Community, or certain other jurisdictions. Other companies and products mentioned herein may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective trademark owners.


Barbara Shields of Esri
Phone: +1-909-793-2853, ext. 1-2641
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