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GIS (Geographic Information Systems)

Start here for general GIS questions.


The guide will direct you toward data (on the web and on our servers) as well as connect you with other relevant resources. As you conduct your research, please use these pages to keep up to date on GIS events on campus, new data acquisitions, and library resources for GIS

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are tools to explore spatial questions.

The acronym GIS most commonly refers to Geographic Information Systems, the interconnected hardware, software, users, data, and procedures that together form a system for geospatial analysis.  GIS can be used to study, analyze, and visualize any phenomenon that has a spatial component.  If location plays a role in your research, GIS offers a way to include these spatial features in your analysis.


Aaron Addison

Director, Collaborative Research & Data/GIS

Bill Winston

GIS Analyst 

Jennifer Moore

GIS & Data Projects Manager; Anthropology Librarian 

Mollie Webb

GIS Programmer 



ArcGIS License Manager Error "Not_Set"

You've just downloaded and installed ArcGIS and now when you try to open the program you see this error...

ArcGIS License Manager Not Set

Could not connect to an ArcGIS license manager running on host "Not_Set"

This error will occur if ArcGIS Desktop is not able to connect to a valid authentication server.  If you are installing the ArcGIS Student Evaluation Edition, you may have selected the wrong product during setup.  Open the ArcGIS Administrator program (Start > ArcGIS > ArcGIS Administrator), the window below will appear...

ArcGIS Administrator

In the ArcGIS Administrator tool, follow these steps:

  • Click on "Desktop" in the left pane.
  • Click the Advanced (ArcInfo) Single Use radio button
  • Click "Authorize Now"
  • Fill in the required information
  • When prompted, enter the EVA code you received
  • Complete the process and do not specify any other products for evaluation, you will have access to the extensions.
  • Once this is complete, the software should function properly.

ArcGIS Extension Error "Tool Not Licensed" / Enabling ArcGIS Extensions

You are attempting to use a tool that requires an extension such as 3D Analyst, Spatial Analyst or Network Analyst.  The window below appears:

Tool Not Licensed

Tool Not Licensed

If you have the ArcGIS Student Evaluation Edition, you have access to all of the extension, but they must be enabled.  To enable extensions in ArcMap, click the Customize > Extensions option in the main menu bar:

Check the checkbox next to the extension you wish to enable:

Unknown Spatial Reference

You add a shapefile or feature class to ArcMap and the following message appears:

Unknown Spatial Reference

This message indicates that the file you are attempting to add does not have any associated spatial information and thus, ArcMap may not be able to place it in the correct place.  Spatial reference information can be applied to a shapefile or feature class using the Define Projection tool from the Data Management toolbox.

Activate the Search window from the Standard toolbar and type "Define Projection" in the search field.

Click Define Project to open the Define Projection tool.

Click the folder icon next to Input Dataset or Feature Class and navigate to your shapefile or feature class.

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Click the pointer icon next to Coordinate System and navigate to the desired coordinate system.

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For more information on selecting an appropriate coordinate system, see the following links:

Choosing the Right Map Projection -