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Can you help me figure out what data I need for my project?

If you're just starting out with a GIS project use the Digital Geographic Data Needs Assessment to help you clarify your data needs. Staff in the Map Collection, Suzzallo Library can assist you with collecting and formating data for project use. Or email us at

How do I backup my GIS project?

There are a range of options for backing files associated with a GIS or other school projects when using computers within the Suzzallo GIS lab. Below are some of the different options:

  1. Use the shortcut on the desktop to access the U Drive which has 5GB of storage space provided by the UW-IT.
  2. Use a USB/thumb/jump drive which can be purchased at various locations across campus.
  3. Use a portable USB hard drive.
  4. Burn files to a CD or DVD using the burning software on the lab computers.

Where can I get/use GIS software?

The UW has a site license with ESRI, the producer of ArcGIS and many other products. The site license requires that software be installed on University-owned computers AND be used only for educational purposes or non-profit reseach. This site provides information about how to get the software, how to install it, and how to connect with the GIS users at the UW.

Alternatives for current UW Students:

  1. ESRI offers a free, one-year license to students enrolled in GIS courses at the UW. Software must be requested by the faculty member of the course and can be installed on student-owned computers.
  2. Computer Labs at UW
  3. Students may purchase ArcView and many of its extensions at an educational discount price (without the one-year time-out license) by calling ESRI TeleBusiness at 1-800-447-9778.
  4. For basic GIS work you can download ESRI's free GIS viewer, ArcExplorer.

UW Campus ESRI Site License Info

For information on the site license click here.

The current list of site licensed software is available here.

Site licensed software can be installed on UW-owned equipment only.

If you are a student, you can obtain a 1-year timeout version of ArcGIS from your GIS instructor. No other ESRI software is available for installation on student-owned computers under the site license (though you can purchase student versions from ESRI).

ESRI Software and Tutorials

Use the Acquiring GIS Software page to participate in the University's ESRI ArcGIS license (for any UW campus).

Use the Virtual Campus Courses to participate in the free online tutorials for special topics using the ArcGIS software (for any UW campus).