Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How can I skip all this reading and learn how to access the service?

    Go to the "Sign Up for Service" section below. Note: AGOL = ArcGIS Online. If you have any questions, however, please read the entire document before contacting us through email at

  2. What is ArcGIS Online?

    ArcGIS Online is an online, collaborative web GIS that allows you to use, create, and share maps, scenes, apps, layers, analytics, and data. You get access to ready-to-use maps, apps, and ESRI’s secure cloud, where you can add items and publish web layers. Because ArcGIS Online is an integral part of the ArcGIS system, you can use it to extend the capabilities of ArcGIS for Desktop, ArcGIS for Server, ArcGIS Web APIs, and ArcGIS Runtime SDKs. (from ArcGIS Online Help)

  3. What can you do with ArcGIS Online?

    ArcGIS Online is the place to explore data, create maps, and share stories. With ArcGIS Online, you can use and create maps and scenes, access ready-to-use maps, layers and analytics, publish data as web layers, collaborate and share, access maps from any device, make maps with your business data, customize the ArcGIS Online website, and view status reports. (from ArcGIS Online Help)

  4. Who makes ArcGIS Online?

    A company called Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) founded in 1969 as a consulting firm. ESRI is a leading developer for geographical information systems software and has about 40% of the global market.

  5. What is an abbreviated form of the term ArcGIS Online?

    AGO or AGOL is one commonly seen in ESRI’s forums so let’s go with AGOL in this document.

  6. What are geographical information systems (GIS)?

    There are many definitions but a long-standing definition is as follows: A GIS is a system of hardware, software and procedures to facilitate the management, manipulation, analysis, modelling, representation and display of georeferenced data to solve complex problems regarding planning and management of resources. (NCGIA, 1990)

  7. How did access to this web-based service happen?

    OSU has an educational site license for ESRI software and we were granted “unlimited” credits for using AGOL. Services on the site consume credits however we are given virtually unlimited credits for students, staff and faculty. 

  8. Were there technological issues with creating access for potentially 60,000+ users (students, staff and faculty)?

    Yes… however, employees in the Office of the Chief Information Officer, ASC Tech, and the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis (CURA) have mitigated most of these issues.

  9. I have my own company or work for someone else, can I use the AGOL logon to make money?

    No, access to AGOL is for education, university projects, research and other activities that are not designed to generate profit.  If you use your access improperly (based on the terms of use: then your account will be removed and all services will be deleted.