Like almost every other GIS (geographic information system) provider in the world, NKAPC’s electronic mapping and online website run on ESRI software—more specifically ArcGIS 9.2. Unlike most other providers, Area Planning’s mapping staff will assist the software giant in testing version 9.3 of the software before its public release.
“ESRI will use approximately 500 beta test sites worldwide for release of the upgraded version,” reports Trisha Brush, GISP, deputy director for GIS administration. “This is a first for us.”
Mark Dann, account manager for ESRI in Columbus, Ohio, explains that NKAPC was asked to be a test site and to provide feedback on how it might pursue beta testing responsibilities. Based on its response to the invitation, NKAPC was accepted into the program.
“Staff will be given a list of scenarios to go through to test in their environment to make sure the software works properly,” said Dann. “They will then give us feedback on how they used it, how the new version works, and what if any problems they experienced using it.”
Brush and her team are looking forward to the challenge.
“We’re very excited,” she said. “We work closely with ESRI and are honored to have been chosen. We look forward to trying the new version and reporting our findings.”
The testing time for 9.3 will depend on how much feedback is received.
“Right now it’s hard to tell when the commercial release of the software will be,” said Dann. “Every release is different. We will keep the program open until we are comfortable with the finished product.”
ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute) is the world leader in GIS software, often compared to Microsoft in the more general world of computing.