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Esri and the District of Columbia Partner to Launch DC’s AI-Powered ‘Compass’

Tuesday, March 19, 2024
Leveraging generative AI from the global leader in GIS to power maps, dashboards, and analysis using open data

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) and Esri, the global leader in geographic information system (GIS) technology, location intelligence, and mapping, launched a public beta version of the ‘DC Compass’ which uses generative artificial intelligence to answer data-oriented civic questions and create maps from thousands of open data sets.

The launch follows a 6-month private beta which allowed DC to work with Esri to improve the software to provide intuitive answers to requests. DC Compass is powered by Esri’s cloud-based mapping and analysis platform ArcGIS Online.

“We are excited to be chosen as the first jurisdiction to use this groundbreaking technology and make our nearly 2,000 open data sets accessible to users with a simple AI-driven chatbot,” said Interim CTO Stephen Miller. “You no longer need to be a data scientist or a spreadsheet wizard to analyze DC’s vast open data catalog.”

The new Compass AI Assistant can be tested at OCTO and Esri indicated they want more users to put the new software to the test and want feedback to continue to improve the speed, accuracy, and usefulness of DC Compass’ responses. You can access the Compass Online using an existing account or by creating a free community account.

“Esri is excited to collaborate on DC’s new open data resource,” said Richard Cooke, Esri’s Director of Global Business Development. “We are proud to work with the city in bringing innovations with generative artificial intelligence and GIS to a whole new audience.”

In February, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a Mayor’s Order outlining actions that DC Government is taking to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) in government services and how DC Government and the community can benefit from this new technology. The Mayor also announced DC’s Artificial Intelligence Values Statement and Strategic Plan, which will ensure that the District’s use of generative AI aligns with DC values.

The Bowser Administration and the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) are committed to using AI to improve city services, increase efficiency, better manage and analyze data, and create a more effective and inclusive government. You can read the plan at

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