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GIS Software and Tutorials

This guide provides GIS software download instruction and usage tutorials.


ArcGIS is a powerful tool for working with spatial data and it is the industry standard for researchers and professionals working with GIS. Washington University in St. Louis currently has a campus wide site license for the ESRI ArcGIS Software suite, making it available to all students, faculty, and staff for research and teaching purposes.  See the ArcGIS Installation Guide or QGIS Installation Guide for licensing and installation instructions. You can also access ArcGIS desktop in several computer labs on campus (see the ArcGIS on Campus tab), as well as in the Research Studio at Olin Library.

ArcGIS on Campus

For remote access to Esri software, see the Research Studio Guide.

Below is a list of locations that have computers with ArcGIS Desktop software installed.  Please note that some of these locations may be unavailable at certain times due to classes or operating hours.  Access to some locations may also be limited to students, faculty and staff within certain departments and schools.  To request revisions to this list, please email Data Services.


Open Source GIS

ESRI ArcGIS is the industry standard, quite powerful, and quite expensive.

Free, open source GIS applications can perform most of the same functions with more time and effort.

ArcGIS Online (AGOL)

ArcGIS Online is ESRI's cloud-based GIS platform. Anyone can make an personal account for non-commercial purposes to have limited access to map viewing, sharing, and creation. Members of WashU have an organizational account associated with Washu.

You can learn more about AGOL here.