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Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

This Subject Guide provides you with many GIS resources which can enable you to successfully use GIS for your research and coursework.


The Kelvin Smith Library purchases an annual Educational Site License for university wide usage of ESRI ArcGIS software for teaching and research purposes. This software may be installed from the CWRU Software Center onto campus-owned Windows computers only.  Additional ESRI products are also available through this Site License and can be downloaded from the Ohio Supercomputing Center.

ArcGIS is also available on computers located in the Freedman Center (FC) at the Kelvin Smith Library.  The advantage to working on your project on FC computers is that you will have direct access to geospatial data stored on the library's data server which can be used in your GIS project.

Students who wish to use the software on their personal computing device must request a 12 month license of ArcGIS Desktop.

Remote License Setup

To use the ArcGIS software on a campus computer, you must set up a remote license or the software will not work.  To do this, you will go to “Start”, “All Programs”, “ArcGIS”, “ArcGIS Administrator”.  In the new window that opens, select the “Desktop” folder on the left.  Make sure the button next to ArcInfo (Concurrent Use) is selected on the right.   The license number will need to be entered into the box below “License Manager (for Concurrent Use software products)”.  Click “Change”. In the pop-up window that appears, type:  Now,click ”OK”, and “OK”.  You should now be able to successfully launch the ArcGIS software.

Need Help?

Contact Ann Holstein if you need any GIS help or advice such as:

  • Starting your GIS project
  • Installing ESRI's ArcGIS software
  • FInding and processing data 
  • Troubleshooting errors
  • Scheduling or registering for a training session

You may send questions via email or make an appointment for a consultation.