The Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) is offering two programs designed to help launch or expand a GIS program.

Similar to the company's online community for water utility managers, the public works resource center provides a basic overview of GIS as well as downloadable templates for such ArcGIS applications as an operations dashboard and a tool that allows residents to submit service requests through an operation's Web site.

Designed to give communities with less than 100,000 residents unlimited use of ArcGIS software products, the enterprise licensing agreement program is being supported by such ESRI partner companies as Azteca Systems Inc., Navteq, The Sidwell Co., Tele Atlas, GBA Master Series Inc., InterMap Technologies, Edgetech America Inc. (MapSpeller), and CarteGraph Systems Inc.

In the year since the program's introduction, less than 3% of the nation's 22,000 cities and counties have taken advantage of the opportunity.