Fostering Innovation

Esri Canada, the leading provider of geographic information system (GIS) solutions, launched its Centres of Excellence initiative in 2014. Through this program, Esri Canada aims to encourage innovation in GIS research and promote teaching excellence in spatial data management and analysis in higher education institutions across Canada.

App Challenge

Each year, a nationwide competition is held to engage teams of students from ECCE schools in the development of new and innovative apps using GIS technology and Open Data. Visit the App Challenge web page for full details.


Keep up to date with what members of the ECCE are doing in their studies and research by reading articles published in the ECCE blog and following the @EsriCanada_CE Twitter feed.


Esri GIS Platform

To promote the use of the Esri GIS platform as an environment for advanced spatial analysis and modelling

Body of Knowledge

To promote the creation of a body of knowledge surrounding custom software application development, especially on the Web and on mobile computing platforms


To promote communication about GIS education and course options, student availability, and employment opportunities within and beyond the network membership


To increase collaboration among participating campuses in departments such as geography, applied sciences, geomatics and other branches of engineering, information technology, and social sciences

Area of Expertise

To ensure that students, scientists, and faculty affiliated with the ECCE have the ability to apply their area of expertise in customizing the Esri platform

Research Funding

To foster collaborative research grant funding opportunities between participating campuses and Esri Canada


There are Centres of Excellence at participating universities and colleges across Canada. Each institution nominates their most exceptional students to represent their school as Student Associates in the ECCE program. Student Associates gain access to technical expertise, resources, and software provided by Esri Canada, as well as free admission to Esri Canada user conferences. Each Centre of Excellence also nominates students from their programs to participate in teams for the annual App Challenge, a one-week coding competition that seeks to promote innovation and creativity using GIS technologies at each Centre.