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ADA and Section 508 Accessibility for GIS

North Dakota recognizes the importance and value of GIS. The inherent nature of GIS and the volumes of data that it represents make it difficult to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 of Title IV of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. At present, the accessibility of GIS in compliance with ADA and Section 508 is quite limited. North Dakota however, continues to monitor the issues of GIS and ADA compliancy and the activity of the GIS vendors to meet the state and federal accessibility.

The North Dakota GIS Hub uses software written by ESRI. This software currently does not meet the ADA and Section 508 accessibility requirements the company however, is committed to addressing the accessibility issues. ESRI has stated its commitment to meet the requirements and goals of Section 508. On their web site, ESRI has stated its policy and continues to test its products for compliancy.

All state agencies developing or maintaining GIS applications to be hosted by the GIS Hub must make every effort possible to make their GIS applications and related web sites ADA compliant. Most GIS applications have two primary components: the map itself and the navigational tools for the map. Each of these components are generally created by or managed by the ESRI software and thus are only as compliant as the software itself is. A web page that contains the map and the navigation tools must be as compliant as possible. A web site that leads a user to the GIS application must be compliant.

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