Skip to Main Content

GIS Software and Tutorials

This guide provides GIS software download instruction and usage tutorials.

Read Me First!

In accordance with the WashU Libraries technology policy; Washington University in St. Louis's information security policy, computer use policies, and all other relevant technology and security policies; and the Esri Site License Agreement, Data Services can only provide licenses to Esri software for current students, faculty, staff, and other authorized affiliates of the Washington University community through authorized WUSTL Key accounts.

 You must be a current student, faculty, or staff member of Washington University and have valid WUSTL Key credentials in order to access the install files and license most applications. 

Selected GIS and other data-related applications are available in the Research Studio on Level A of Olin Library.  See the Research Studio guide for more information.

ArcGIS Pro

Current WashU students, faculty and staff may obtain a fully functional copy of the ArcGIS Pro software.  This application enables map creation, spatial data creation and management, and spatial analysis.

Check the ArcGIS Pro system requirements page to see if your computer meets the minimum system requirements to run the application. 

Users with active WUSTL Key credentials can follow the steps below to download and install the software:

1.  Access the Data Services Software Request form to enter your personal information.  Upon completion, the form will provide a link to our software distribution folder on Box; you will need to login using your WUSTL Key to gain access to the software distribution folder.  

2.  In the software distribution folder, navigate to the ArcGIS Pro folder and save the ".exe" file to your local system.

3.  On your local system, browse to the downloaded file(s), right click the 'exe' file, and choose "Run as Administrator"


4.  Most of the subsequent windows will include the appropriate default setting...verify that your screens match those shown below and then click Next to proceed...once the files are extracted, click Done.



5.  The Setup Program should launch automatically. Close any running programs and click through.



6.  The next several screens will be self-explanatory...verify they any settings and click Next.


The installation will begin. Click Finish when complete.


7.  ArcGIS Pro is licensed using a 'Named User' model and you will need to join the WashU ArcGIS Online Organization to become a named user.

  • To activate the software, "Sign In" to the WUSTL ArcGIS Online Organization using the link at the top right.
  • Sign in using the Enterprise Login prompt as follows:
      Enter "wustl" as your Organization's URL.

    Click on Washington University and...

    ...enter your WUSTL Key credentials

8.  Now you will see your login name in the upper right corner and you may begin using the software.

Contact Olin Data Services if you have any problems.

ArcGIS Online (AGOL)

To set up your account

1.  Open a browser window to

2.  At the Enterprise Login prompt, click on Washington University
 WUSTL AGOL Sign In screen 
 If you are prompted for the URL, enter "wustl" and click Continue  


3.  Enter your WUSTL Key Credentials in the familiar prompt
                                        WUSTL Key Login


4.  You now have an account in the WashU ArcGIS AGOL Organization and should now see the AGOL Home screen (see below).  Please take a moment to open your profile (click the 'person' icon at the upper right) and fill in:

  • First Name

  • Last Name

  • Please use the "Bio" section to add:

    • Your Status: Student, Faculty, Staff, other

    • WU department or affiliation

    • WU Course number (if you are creating this account as part of a formal class)


To get started with ArcGIS Online

See this page for tutorials and links to online training content.  To work with Storymaps, use the App Launcher icon (grid pattern of squares in the upper right of the AGOL window) to access that application or visit and "Sign In" with your WUSTL Key if prompted.

Installation Troubleshooting

Some common errors encountered during installation include:

ArcGIS Pro requires Microsoft .NET Desktop Runtime (x64)

Arcgis pro error .NET message


You must install the Microsoft .NET Desktop Runtime.  See this Esri Technical Support post for more information.

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


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


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:




ArcGIS for WashU Networked Computers and Labs

GIS software can be installed at no cost in WashU computing labs and on any other university computers.

The ArcGIS Pro installation steps are identical between WashU networked computers and personal computers. Please see instructions above.

GIS on Apple

ArcGIS software is not released in a version compatible with the MacOS.  However, many users successfully run ArcGIS on their Macs using either BootCamp or a virtual machine environment such as the open source application Virtual Box, or commercial VM systems such as Parallels, or VMware. In all of these cases, the user will need to obtain a copy of Windows 7 (or higher) to install on their Mac.  These pages include more details on this issue:

(Support Ending) ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap)

Please not that ArcGIS Desktops will no longer be available after August 2024.  GIS users should switch to ArcGIS Pro.  

Current WashU students, faculty and staff may obtain a fully functional copy of the ArcGIS Desktop software. This application is a popular Geographic Information System that enables map creation, spatial data creation and management, and spatial analysis. Most of the GIS courses taught at WashU currently use the ArcGIS Desktop platform...if you are installing this application to use for a specific class; check with your instructor to make sure you install the correct version. Check this page to see if your computer meets the minimum system requirements to run ArcGIS Desktop.  Users with active WUSTL Key credentials can follow the steps below to download and install the software:

1.  To install or renew your copy of ArcGIS Desktop, access the Data Services Software Request form to enter your personal information.  Upon completion, the form will provide a link to our software distribution folder on Box; you will need to login using your WUSTL Key to gain access.  

  • If you are installing the software for the first time:
    • Open the ArcGIS Desktop folder and save all files to your local system.
  • If you are renewing an existing license:
    • Open the software folder and download the file with the (.prvc) extension
    • Right click the PRVC file and "Open with Software Administrator"
    • Proceed to Step 8 below to complete the authorization process.

2.  On your local system, browse to the downloaded files, right click the 'exe' file, and choose "Run as Administrator"

3.  The installation application will prompt you to accept the location to extract Next to accept. The installation files will extract to the target directory...when the process completes, ensure that 'Launch the setup program' is checked and click Close.



4.  The installation will begin, click Next...accept the Master Agreement by clicking the radio button, then click Next to continue.



5.  Click Next and accept the default installation location.

...set the Python Destination folder, click Next...check (or not) the ESRI User Experience Program, then click Install.


6.  The software will install...a progress bar indicates the system is Finish when the process completes.


7.  Now the Authorization wizard will open and you will authorize the software as follows...
  Click on Advanced (ArcInfo) Single Use, then click the Authorize Now button


8.  Click on "I have received an authorization file..." then browse to the folder where you stored the ".prvc" file, click Next.
Select "Authorize with ESRI now using the Internet", click Next.


9.  Add your contact information, complete all required fields


10.  Use the dropdown menus to answer the questions as shown next. 
Do not change the ArcGIS Desktop Advanced software code in the window and click next to continue.


11.  Do not authorize any additional extensions, they will be activated by next.
Do not make changes to the evaluation Next.


12.  Click Finish to authorize and you will see:


13.  The installation is complete and the ArcGIS Administrator will open.  Verify the software is installed and authorized by clicking the "Availability" window.
Cancel this window and open ArcMap to test the installation.  Contact Data Services if you experience any problems.

The license will expire on the same schedule as our WU ESRI Site License.  You will receive warning notices when you open ArcMap (or other ArcGIS application) beginning several weeks prior to the expiration date. Return to this page for renewal instructions.