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IDRISI is an integrated geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing software developed by Clark Labs at Clark University for the analysis and display of digital geospatial information. IDRISI is a PC grid-based system that offers tools for researchers and scientists engaged in analyzing earth system dynamics for effective and responsible decision making for environmental management, sustainable resource development and equitable resource allocation.

History and Background

IDRISI was first conceived in 1987 by Prof. J. Ronald Eastman of Clark University, Department of Geography, as an accessible yet robust PC-based GIS. Dr. Eastman continues to be the prime developer and chief architect of the software. In January 2009 Clark Labs released IDRISI Version 16 (known as IDRISI Taiga). Besides its primary research and scientific purposes, IDRISI is popular as an academic tool for teaching the principle theories behind GIS at colleges and universities.

Since 1987, IDRISI has been used by professionals in a wide range of industries in more than 180 countries worldwide. Environmental managers and researchers benefit from the unsurpassed range of geospatial tools—nearly 300 modules for the analysis and display of digital spatial information.

Based within the world-renowned Graduate School of Geography at Clark University, Clark Labs IDRISI is known for pioneering advancements in areas such as decision support, uncertainty management, classifier development, change and time series analysis, and dynamic modeling. Partnering with such organizations as The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation,, USDA, the United Nations and Conservation International, Clark Labs leverages its academic base to develop innovative and customized research tools, provide software solutions to organizations in need, and apply geospatial expertise to a range of real-world problems.

What's in a Name

A Muslim scholar of international reputation in the Mediterranean world of his day, Abu Abd Allah Muhammad al-Idrisi (1100-1166 A.D.) was born in a town on the North African coast.

Educated in Cordoba, and widely traveled in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, al-Idrisi was a cartographer and geographer of major significance during the medieval period.

Commissioned by the Norman King Roger of Sicily to prepare a geographical survey of the world, al-Idrisi led a fifteen-year collaborative effort by scholars and technicians based at the Norman Court at Palermo. Based on direct field studies as well as archival sources, the maps and texts that resulted from that collaborative effort served as primary reference material for over 500 years.

It is to this spirit of collaboration in geographic inquiry that the IDRISI software system is dedicated.

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