If you look closely at the maps of the coronavirus situation published by WHO

or Johns Hopkins University

you’ll see the name Esri at the bottom right in the credits. Esri is the market leader in location intelligence. It creates the digital maps that these and other organizations use to visualize the current worldwide outbreak status of coronavirus based on real-time data. We spoke with Holger Ziehm, Esri Germany’s Business Development Manager Safety and Security, Germany and Switzerland. Ziehm also volunteers at the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), where he serves as an expert adviser, a member of the Rapid Deployment Unit Water Supply Abroad (SEEWA) and a member of the Virtual Operation Support Team (VOST)

Is the coronavirus response the biggest Esri has been involved in so far?

As software providers, we see it as an example from our users that shows the immense value that geographic information systems can deliver across borders. Esri software has been supporting major emergency, disaster and public safety responses worldwide for almost 50 years. As recent examples I’d name the forest and bush fires in the USA and Australia this year ( see link here ) and the G20 Summit in Germany in 2017. see Link here

Before we get into too much more detail, can you please tell us what Esri does?

Esri is the provider of ArcGIS , the world’s leading mapping and analytics software for desktop, software-as-a-service and enterprise applications. ArcGIS is the cornerstone of the Esri geospatial infrastructure. By providing location intelligence, ArcGIS products make a major contribution to successful digitalization strategies for SMEs, large corporations, government and emergency services.

What is the software used for?

Our geospatial infrastructure is used for mapping, monitoring and managing geographically distributed processes, for spatial analysis and data science, for processing image data and remote sensing data, for real-time visualization and analytics, and for 3D visualization and analytics.

Who are your customers?

Our customer base includes many of the world’s most successful public and private-sector organizations and NGOs. Our customers are dealing with the biggest challenges of our time – challenges ranging from climate change and food production to making our cities more livable. By providing geographic context, analytics functionality and visualization, our technology gives people at all organizational levels the information they need in order to make well-founded decisions.

What relevance does your offering have for safety and security architectures?

Geo-information is integral to internal and external safety and security. For example, it would be potentially disastrous if a command center were to base its deployment decisions on different map systems than those used in the emergency vehicles’ GPS systems. That is why the importance of geo-information systems is enshrined in the service regulations governing the emergency services – because those services are all about getting the right resources to the right place at the right time.

What can your digital maps do that other maps can’t do?

Many systems today rely on the use of geo-information. In many cases, the capture and visualization of geo-information is a fundamental function that cuts across multiple domains. The products in the ArcGIS platform enable users to extract valuable information from their geo-data. With ArcGIS, you can identify key interrelationships and dependencies, gain deeper insights and make the right decisions.

So, your maps can yield many different kinds of information?

Yes indeed. Maps can be used to make decisions, reduce costs, increase efficiency and even save lives. With ArcGIS, you can leverage up-to-the-minute information to create maps, undertake wide-ranging analyses and share the results with others.

Esri is the market leader. Why is that?

There are many software and management consulting firms out there that specialize in spatial analysis, mapping or data science. But Esri is the only one that integrates everything in a single solution. For nearly 50 years we’ve been developing and refining our technology in order to give people the best tools for solving some of the world’s biggest problems. We put all kinds of data from all kinds of sources in the right – i.e. geographic – context, we enable our customers to benefit from digitalization and digital innovations, and we optimize information flows across entire organizations and provide a sound information basis for decision-making.

Which sorts of users benefit from this, specifically?

First-responders benefit from our solutions by being able to rapidly gain an overview of disaster situations and share information with the public. Municipal decision-makers benefit by being able to marshal the sound, evidence-based arguments they need in order open the way for smart urban development. And businesses benefit by being able to visualize their assets and workflows at a glance and optimize them. So, basically we’re the partner of choice when it comes to identifying new business potential through data-driven analysis or gaining deeper insights from data.

What sectors does Esri operate in?

Almost all areas of endeavor have some spatial dimension or other, which is why ArcGIS is used in an extremely wide range of application scenarios. Whether it’s GIS experts, field workforces, BI analysts or top-level executives, ArcGIS connects entire organizations (examples: Smart City).

Where will you be located at INTERSCHUTZ 2020, and what will you be presenting?

We will be in Hall 16, where we and our partners will be running the " Smart Public Safety Hub ", a group display where different exhibitors will jointly present a range of integrated, interdisciplinary application scenarios. By demonstrating seamless interdisciplinary data.

exchange and integrated systems, we will highlight key future opportunities for collaboration.

In line with the “Connected” aspect of the lead theme, we will showcase innovative solutions for emergency-services applications. And, using the UEFA Euro 2024 scenario as a basis, we and our partners will highlight all aspects of connection and collaboration among different stakeholder organizations. Exciting stuff!

Mini geo-information glossary

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

A geographic information system (GIS) is a framework for gathering, integrating and managing data and visualizing it in the form of maps, 3D models and apps.

Hundreds of thousands of organizations in virtually every field use GIS to create high-quality multi-layered digital maps.


Maps present data in a way that can be understood intuitively. They illuminate essential issues and reveal relationships and patterns. With smart mapping tools, analysts, developers and executives can create intuitive and interactive maps in mere minutes and share them with people within and outside their organizations.

Location Intelligence

Thanks to ongoing digitalization, organizations now have access to vast amounts of data. Location intelligence makes this data usable by putting it in a specific geographic and time context. In this way, location intelligence provides the basis for robust, data-driven decision making. Executives and managers worldwide use location intelligence as an integral component of their data science initiates and strategic planning.

About Esri:

Esri is the world’s leading provider of geographic information systems, location intelligence software and digital map-based solutions. With over 100 offices in 67 countries worldwide, Esri helps private and public-sector organizations to convert big data and real-time geo-data into usable, productive information. Esri provides geographic applications and data to facilitate the achievement of global sustainability goals. Location Intelligence provided by Esri supports global sustainability goals, enabling them to be implemented and achieved more rapidly. Esri is a corporate member of INTERSCHUTZ partner the German Fire Protection Association (GFPA).

More about the Lead Theme