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Stanford Geospatial Center resources for education & research: GIS software & licensing

This guide serves as the main information portal for the Stanford Geospatial Center's Support, Services and Collections

Licensed & Supported GIS Applications

ArcGIS Online is Esri's Cloud-based Geographic Information System, providing web-based mapping and location-based application development services, tightly integrated with ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Pro. Use Enterprise Login at with your SUNetID for access. 

At Stanford, we use Single Sign-On to provide users with a familiar login experience, and remove "gatekeepers" from our student's access to ArcGIS Online. Anyone with a valid SUNetID can use it to log into ArcGIS Online and get started working with spatial data and analysis.


Logging into

To log into ArcGIS Online, using your Stanford credentials:

  1. Go to and click on the "Sign In" link at the top right.

  2. Click on the "Enterprise Login" button.

  3. Follow the familiar Stanford Dual Authentication procedure to login.

Once you are logged into Stanford's account, you will see the default Stanford Gallery page. You can begin adding your spatial data for use in by going to the CONTENT page, or you can get started creating a map, immediately, by clicking on the MAP link at the top of the page.

For a great set of "Getting Started" tutorials, see the Esri Learning website.


ArcGIS Pro

ArcGIS Pro is now available for download and licensing to any Stanford student, staff, faculty, or sponsored affiliate (with a valid SUnet ID), and we are simplifying the process of installing and authorizing the software. You can now find the latest installers for ArcGIS Pro, by using your SUNetID to login to, then go to the Settings>Licenses in your Profile.

For detailed instructions on downloading ArcGIS Pro from, see the Esri Support Article, below:

Licensing ArcGIS Pro

We have recently implemented "Named User" licensing on ArcGIS Pro, which will allow you to use your Stanford SUNetID and Password to license ArcGIS Pro. Follow these steps:

  1. Start ArcGIS Pro from you Windows Menu
  2. You should be prompted for your institutional URL, if not, click on the ArcGIS Login at the upper-right part of ArcGIS Pro and use as the organizational URL.
  3. Click on the BLUE Stanford University Login button and login using Stanford SSO, as usual.

ArcGIS Desktop

The Stanford Geospatial Center maintains an Installation Batch File that can be used to automate the process of installing and authorizing ArcGIS Desktop. You can download the installer by using the button, below, using your Stanford credentials.

Licensing ArcGIS Desktop

Licensing ArcGIS Desktop can be accomplished in one of two ways:

  1. If you are primarily using ArcGIS Desktop on Stanford Network, or while connected through VPN, you can use the following procedure to connect to Stanford's ArcGIS License Server:
    1. Install the software, using the installer available, above.
    2. Launch ArcGIS Administrator from the ArcGIS Program Group
    3. Select the Desktop folder, in the panel on the left
    4. Set the Product to Advanced (ArcInfo) Concurrent Use
    5. Click on the Change button and use the server address:
    6. Click OK until ArcGIS Administrator has been closed
    7. You should now be able to run ArcGIS Desktop, when connected to the Stanford network.

2. If you require the ability to use ArcGIS Desktop offline, you can request a Single-Use license from 

A Note About ArcGIS Desktop Continuing Support

ArcGIS 10.8.1 is the current release of ArcMap and will continue to be supported until March 01, 2026, as established in the  ArcGIS Desktop Product Life Cycle.  Esri does not have plans to release an ArcMap 10.9 with the ArcGIS releases in 2021. By viewing the  ArcMap Continued Support  page, you will be able to find the answers to most, if not all, of your questions regarding continued support of ArcMap as well as resources to help you transition your work moving forward into several Esri products such as ArcGIS Pro.

Other Esri Software

In addition to ArcGIS Desktop & ArcGIS Pro, we license most of Esri's software offerings for Education & Research use, at Stanford, including:

  • ArcGIS Enterprise
  • ArcGIS Insights
  • ArcPAD
  • ArcGIS Business Analyst
  • ArcGIS CityEngine
  • Collector for ArcGIS (Free downloads from iOS and Android app stores)
  • FieldMaps for ArcGIS (Free downloads from iOS and Android app stores)
  • and most  software applications found here...

Download a current Single-Use  License from Google Drive (Stanford authentication required)

ArcGIS Desktop & ArcGIS Pro are licensed for use by Stanford faculty, staff and students on personal and Stanford machines.




A Free and Open Source Geographic Information System. Create, edit, visualize, analyze and publish geospatial information. QGIS has matured into a full-featured desktop GIS platform over the past few years and is a perfect alternative to ArcGIS for those not using Windows, or interested in using Free & Open Source software. You can download the latest version of QGIS from

The SGC promotes & supports QGIS Desktop for these reasons:

  1. QGIS is Free & Open Source Software for Geospatial ( FOSS4G ).
  2. QGIS is comparable in analysis capabilities to ArcGIS Desktop, or Pro.
  3. QGIS is performant on a wide range of hardware.
  4. It is possible to install QGIS on Windows, Mac, Linux and there are even some experimental Android versions.

QGIS' flexibility and accessibility make it a great choice for for most desktop spatial data carpentry. The SGC suggests installing the Preview Release (PR) version

The QGIS Windows installation is straightforward. I've documented the Mac setup, here, since there are some security settings that have to be updated for QGIS to run.