Esri Innovation Program (EIP)

Penn State’s online geospatial program is one of a small number of academic units around the world recognized as a participant in the Esri Innovation Program (EIP, formerly the Esri Development Center program).  The EIP seeks to promote GIS software and application development by providing students special access to Esri software and opportunities to be recognized for their accomplishments.

Students in the Earth and Mineral Sciences (including online geospatial programs, and the Department of Geography) can acquire, at no charge, any of Esri's current software packages. Please contact the Penn State EIP coordinator, Jim Detwiler, for more information about this possibility at

Esri training for faculty/staff

A benefit of EIP membership is 2 complimentary Esri training classes per calendar year for faculty/staff interested in software/application development using Esri technology.  If you are a faculty or staff member of the College of Earth & Mineral Sciences who would like to complete an Esri training class ( in support of your teaching or research, please contact the EIP coordinator, Jim Detwiler, at

Tech support

Recognizing that developers often encounter technical problems that must be escalated to staff with deeper expertise, another of our EIP benefits is the ability to obtain developer-level tech support.  If you are a College of EMS faculty/staff/student who would like to open this kind of support ticket, contact the EIP coordinator, Jim Detwiler, at

Penn State courses for GIS developers

Student of the Year Award

Each year, a Penn State student is recognized for his/her accomplishments in the area of GIS development.  This student earns a cash award and is considered along with other EIP winners for recognition as Esri’s International EIP Student of the Year.

Past Penn State EIP winners:

  • 2020 - Gene Trantham
  • 2019 - Roman Gibbons
  • 2018 - Curran McBride
  • 2017 – Tim Naegeli
  • 2016 – Ruthann Ligon
  • 2015 – Heather Widlund
  • 2014 – Meredith Moore

If you’re a student and think your development accomplishments are worthy of this award, please contact the EIP coordinator, Jim Detwiler, at