Esri is a leader in the geospatial science industry and the developer of state of the art Geographic Information System (GIS) software including ArcGIS. Through the Esri Educational Site License Program, OSU is able to offer many Esri products to OSU students, faculty, and staff for educational use and limited research and administrative use. Some of the most popular Esri products available through the site license include:
- ArcGIS Online (a simple yet powerful web-based GIS)
- ArcGIS Pro (an advanced next-generation desktop GIS for Windows that integrates closely with ArcGIS Online)
- ArcGIS Desktop (a mature and full-featured desktop GIS for Windows)
The remainder of this page provides instructions to get started with the aforementioned applications. Click on the links above or scroll down for more information about each application. Other Esri products are also available throught the site license. If you have an academic or business need for an Esri product that is not listed here, or if you have any other questions about Esri products or their use at OSU, please email OSU Esri Support.
Best for: Casual or novice GIS users, collaborative mapping projects, sharing maps on the web
ArcGIS Online is web based GIS application that you can access using a web browser or mobile device. It is not necessary to install any software. With ArcGIS Online, you can make and share web maps using your own data or a wide assortment of ready-to-use datasets. Ohio State affiliates are eligible for an "organizational account", which provides additional featured privileges compared to a "public" account. Organizational users may:
- Collaborate and share content with specific groups of organizational users
- Publish hosted map layers and data layers that can be reused in multiple maps (owned by you or others)
- Make use of advanced analysis functions, including those which consume service credits (see below)
Examples of advanced functions include geocoding, network analysis (vehicle routing, service areas, etc), spatial analysis, data enrichment including demographic and business variables), and infographic and report generation. Some advanced features consume service credits. Each organizational user will receive an initial allocation of service credits from the finite pool of credits available to the university community. Additional service credits may be awarded for legitimate academic or business uses at the discretion of the OSU Esri support team. To request additional credits, please email OSU Esri Support. If you need to perform a large number of geocoding or network analysis operations, please contact OSU Esri Support prior to doing so. The team may be able to suggest alternative solutions that do not consume credits.
The site license includes limited access to the following ArcGIS Online apps:
- ArcGIS Business Analyst (Web and Mobile)
- ArcGIS Community Analyst
- Geoplanner for ArcGIS
- Insights for ArcGIS
Only a small number of licenses are available for these apps, and acceptable uses are limited by the terms of the site license. If you have a need for one of these apps, please email OSU Esri Support and provide a detailed description of your use case, the specific products and the number of licenses you need for each, and how long you expect the project to take. The team will work with you to provide the access you need while ensuring equitable access to these limited resources.
Best for: Advanced GIS users or students wishing to gain advanced skills, geospatial scientists, users wanting to create mixed-media maps (print and web)
ArcGIS Pro is Esri's next-generation desktop GIS application. ArcGIS Pro provides all of the advanced mapping and spatial analysis features that were traditionally available in traditional Esri desktop products such as ArcMap, but it offers many new features including:
- Close integration with ArcGIS Online, which allows for easy publishing of maps and data and simpler collaboration for project teams
- New ribbon-based user interface
- Integrated 3D visualization capabilities
- Two powerful Python scripting environments (the traditional arcpy environment and the newer ArcGIS API for Python)
ArcGIS Pro is available to Ohio State affiliates for installation on Windows computers.
Best for: Advanced GIS users whose needs are not satisfied by ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Pro.
ArcGIS Desktop (also known as ArcMap) is Esri's tried-and-true desktop GIS application. It provides the same advanced mapping and spatial analysis features as ArcGIS Pro, but using a traditional interface that may be more familiar to long-time GIS users. 3D visualization is provided via an included standalone product called ArcScene. Python scripting is supported via the arcpy environment. ArcGIS Desktop is recommended for experienced users who will benefit from the familiarity of the software or who need to maintain projects that were originally created using this software. New GIS users should consider investing their time to learn ArcGIS Pro and/or ArcGIS Online instead.
ArcGIS Desktop is available to Ohio State affiliates for installation on Windows computers.
If you are new to Esri products or to GIS in general, consider making use of the many free training resources available to you as an OSU affiliate. These resources come primarily from two sources: ESRI Training and OSU University Libraries.
Esri has extensive training resources, which they make available through their Course Catalog. Resources available at no cost include tutorials, videos, and documentation. Instructor-led training is also available for a fee. You can make use of these resources a-la-carte, or you can work through the Learning Plans that Esri has defined that cater to various user interests.
Note that some resources specify “Requires Maintenance” instead of a price. As an OSU affiliate you may access these at no cost, but you must have a My Esri account. To request a My Esri account, please send an email to email@example.com and indicate that you are seeking access to Esri training resources.
OSU University Libraries
University Libraries provides support to Ohio State students and faculty interested in learning and using GIS or maps for course assignments, research projects, and more. They can provide you with assistance for finding geospatial datasets, organizing and cleaning geospatial data, and choosing the right software or tool for your project. To learn more about resources available from University Libraries, check out their Maps and Geospatial Data pages. Also, consider joining the Research Commons mailing list or following @OSUrescommons on Twitter to get news about upcoming GIS workshops.