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Research Guides

GIS Services at the UW Libraries

GIS Services the UW Libraries Provide:

Access to GIS software, platforms, and data. See the next column for more information.

Help with determining your data needs and assistance with locating data.

Help with incorporating data into your GIS projects.

Find list of compatible data formats here.

If You Need GIS Help:

Contact the Libraries GIS staff at or stop by the Government Publications, Microforms & Newspapers, and Maps reference desk located on the ground floor of Suzzallo.

We can provide in-person help either through an appointment with the UW Libraries' GIS staff or during the Suzzallo Library GIS Lab hours.

Data Related Library Units:

Government Publications

Map Collection

Data Services 

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 used only for educational purposes or non-profit research. 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.


Other ways to access ESRI software 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. If your personal device has difficulties running ESRI software, Student Technology Loan Program is free for students and offers various loan periods on equipment that can successfully run ArcGIS software.

ESRI Software, Online Platform, and Tutorials

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

Sign in to ArcGIS Online using your UW NetID to access the University's online platform (for any UW campus).

Use ESRI e-Learning to access free, self-paced online courses and training materials for using the ArcGIS software (for any UW campus).

UW Campus ESRI Site License Info

For information on the site license go to the ArcGIS Software at UW page.

The current list of site licensed software is available to view here (PDF).

If you are a student, staff, or faculty member, you can download and use ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Pro on your personally-owned hardware. See ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro for details.



How can I subscribe to the campus GIS mailing list?

UW-GIS-L is an open, unmoderated e-mail list for discussion of issues relating to Geographic Information Systems. Any issues related to GIS can be discussed, such as "How do I ...;" "Where can I find ...;" "What do I need to do ...;" "I would like to share ...." Topics may include discussion of hardware, software, data, etc. To subscribe to the campus GIS mailing list follow the instructions on the UW-GIS-L info page.  For general information about mailing lists at the University of Washington visit the Mailman List website.

Suzzallo Library GIS Lab

The GIS Lab is provided by the University Libraries to support the use of GIS for coursework and research by UW students, faculty, and staff.

For more information regarding the lab, including hours, GIS assistance, and policies, see the GIS Lab information page.

GIS Software Remote Access Options

The UW has many options that enable off-campus access of GIS software by virtually booting onto on-campus PC's or servers. This service is also useful for those whose personal computers have difficulty running GIS software. Note: the department/college-specific options can only be accessed if the user is within that college or program.