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Geographical Information System (GIS)

A guide to GIS software, resources, and tutorials.


ArcMap is being retired, and NU will no longer support ArcMap licenses. Please begin using ArcGIS Pro.
ArcMap Retirement Notice

Esri has announced that ArcMap will be retired and removed from the Education Institution Agreement and Education Department License by March 2024. This means that ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) will no longer be available through the Esri Education Program.

We understand that this may be a challenging transition, and we would be happy to help you obtain ArcGIS Pro licenses and assist you with the transition. We have a wealth of resources available to help you make the transition to ArcGIS Pro, including online training, in-person training, and consultation sessions. Please do not hesitate to contact Bahare if you have any questions or concerns.

Get Access

ArcGIS Online

To obtain your AGOL NU Organization account, please fill out the ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Pro Access Request Form. You will receive an invitation to join the organization within 2 business days, during working hours (Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm).

ArcGIS Pro

Sign-in to your ArcGIS Online, click on your profile avatar > My Settings>Licenses> Scroll to ArcGIS Pro. Find step by step instructions at Download ArcGIS Pro

ArcGIS Pro only runs on Windows Operating Systems. If you are a Mac user, you may need to run a parallel Windows on your system or sign-in to your Northeastern University Virtual Desktop (Azure).  If you need more time for your Azure lab, contact IT via Knowledge Base system or call 617.373.4357


Free open-source GIS software. The program can be downloaded on both Windows and Mac systems. Download the program from the Download QGIS page.


Still not sure?

Download ArcGIS Pro

To download ArcGIS Pro, follow these steps:
  1. Ensure you have a Northeastern University ArcGIS Online Organization account. If not, sign up via the ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Pro Access Request Form.
  2. Sign in to your NU ArcGIS Online Organization account.
  3. Click on your Profile image in the upper right corner.
  4. Select "My Settings" and click on "Licenses."
  5. Scroll down to find ArcGIS Pro (located near the bottom of the list of licenses). You will see a download link on the right.
  6. Click the download link, and an .exe file will be downloaded to your computer.
  7. For optimal storage, execute the .exe file on your C:/ drive rather than OneDrive.
  8. Double click on the downloaded .exe file to initiate the installation process.
  9. Once the program is installed, sign in to ArcGIS Pro using your AGOL credentials.

By following these steps, you'll successfully download and install ArcGIS Pro on your computer.

My Settings contains licenses tab with ArcGIS Pro download section

Getting Microsoft.NET error? refer to the attached document (Please note to download the version of the .NET Desktop Runtime which is requested by the program after installing in a form of a prompt): Download ArcGIS Pro and address the .NET error 

GIS Open Sources

      ArcGIS is just one of many GIS tools available. Here are some additional resources for exploring and using GIS:

Teach GISA site devoted to finding resources for teachers (and learners!) of GIS.

GRASSOriginally developed by a branch of the US Army Corps of Engineers, GRASS is a free GIS software available for a variety of OS platforms, including the Windows, MacIntosh, and Linux environments.

Quantum GIS – QGIS is another good open-source GIS software, offering an array of functionalities across multiple platforms.

OpenLayersOpenLayers is an open-source means of integrating data with, and constructing an interface for, Internet-based mapping using JavaScript commands.

OpenStreetMap – OpenStreetMap is a handy open-licence basemap for Internet-based map displays.

BatchGeoBatchGeo is a GIS interface for working with and displaying tabular geospatial data.

Python – Python is an open-source scripting language that can be used to customise and automate geoprocessing operations within ArcMap. See also:

   Computer Science Circles Python tutorial

   Python Geospatial Development (available for online perusal through myneu)

Open Source GIS – This is a very thorough guide to an impressive array of open-source GIS softwares and tools.


       This list is by no means all-inclusive. If you have a site to suggest please let us know!

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