GIS (Geographic Information System) software allows you to visualize, query and analyze the geographic aspects of a body of data. KU offers various GIS software products, including ArcGIS Desktop (or ArcMap, older) and ArcGIS Pro (newer, currently being developed) from Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI). These desktop applications provide rigorous and extensive capabilities for data creation, manipulation, analysis and presentation. ArcGIS Online is a simpler, cloud-based mapping platform. Use it to publish web-maps; analyze, share, and collaborate with data or as part of a story map.

Software and Data (partial list)

Allowed Use

ArcGIS Desktop

administrative, research, teaching

ArcGIS Online 

administrative, teaching, research

ArcGIS Pro

administrative, research, teaching

ArcGIS Enterprise (Server)

administrative, research, teaching

ESRI demographic data (census, consumer spending, American Community Survey)

administrative, research, teaching

Business Analyst Desktop and data

teaching, research

Full listing of software and allowed use (PDF) 


ArcGIS Desktop licenses are available free of charge thanks to the following consortium of KU units: School of Architecture, Biodiversity Institute, Campus Operations, Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering, Department of Geology, Department of Geology, Kansas Geological Survey, Information Technology.



KU Faculty, staff and students can access ArcGIS online using their KU Online ID & password.

Computer Labs

ArcGIS software is available for use in various departmental computer labs and a few public computer labs on the Lawrence campus, including the KU Libraries GIS & Data Lab. ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Pro are available via KU Virtual Desktop


Faculty, staff and students can obtain a single-machine home-use license and download ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Pro free of charge through KU’s Web Store.


Technical support requests and bug reports for ESRI software must be submitted to ESRI through one of the KU Authorized Callers. Contact the KU IT Customer Service Center at or 785-864-8080 for assistance.

You can find patch and service pack downloads at ESRI's website.

Training and Tutorials

All faculty, staff and students have access to Esri’s Unlimited E-Learning web courses, which cover ArcGIS Online, Desktop, Pro, story maps and more.



Analysis and Modeling