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GIS: Geographic Information System: Home

Northwestern University Library's GIS guide.

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GIS Services

GIS Service Location

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GIS at Northwestern University Library

A Geographic Information System (GIS) "integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information. (ESRI)" What is GIS used for? There are many applications, spanning a wide variety of disciplines. Some examples include:

NU-affiliated faculty, staff and students can install ArcGIS Desktop on their personal computers and access desktop, mobile, server and web-based mapping applications. Use the Access GIS tab of this guide for more information.‚Äč

  • ArcGIS Desktop software available from NUIT
    • NU NetID required
    • Faculty and staff may install on university-owned computers for teaching, research and administrative uses.  Installation on personal computers is allowed but only for academic, non-commercial uses.
    • Students may install on personal computers, but the software must be uninstalled when they leave the University.
    • ArcGIS Desktop will be installed with the necessary software license. Licenses will expire December 31 of each year and the software will cease to function.  Users must download and reinstall the latest version of ArcGIS which will then be licensed through the end of the next license period (1 year maximum).
    • ArcGIS Desktop System Requirements
    • ArcGIS Desktop Installation FAQ
  • ArcGIS Online
    • Use to create and share web-based maps. To request access to Northwestern University’s ArcGIS Online Organizational Account send an email using your Northwestern University email (; etc.) to with “ArcGIS Online Access Request” in the subject heading



If you are in need of assistance with a GIS project, please fill out the GIS Support Request Form. We look forward to working with you!


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