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University Library Makes ArcGIS Mapping Software Available Across All Campuses

Modified: April 7, 2015

Northwestern University Library is proud to offer all members of the Northwestern community universal access to the powerful mapping software ArcGIS from Esri, the leading developer of geographic analysis tools. 

Arc GIS software has been available from the Library for some time, but only onsite in Library buildings. In years past, individual schools at Northwestern have purchased their own licenses for classes or research, but the Library’s new institution-wide license means that access is now available to all faculty and their students, whether their office is in Evanston, Chicago or Qatar.

Demand for mapping software, with its ability to analyze and visualize geospatial data, has grown over the past a decade as researchers and faculty have sought creative ways to harness its utility. It has been used at Northwestern for such projects as: 

  • McCormick civil engineering students who recently analyzed data to propose Divvy bicycle locations in Evanston;
  • Weinberg professors Henry Binford, who is exploring datasets about 19th century Cincinnati businesses, and Shelby Hatch, who is analyzing the presence of heavy metals in soil throughout Chicagoland; and
  • Feinberg masters students using spatial analysis to study population health.

The Library’s license includes desktop, server, mobile and web-based applications to support the complete suite of ArcGIS tools, from mapping and spatial analysis to data visualization and the hosting of web-based interactive maps.

To learn how to make use of mapping software, query gis@northwestern.edu to get started, or read the Library’s ArcGIS guide. Anyone with a NetID who wants to dive in more quickly can visit the NUIT download site to get started with the desktop platform. GIS specialist Kelsey Rydland is available for detailed consultation at 847-467-7189, and the University Library will host a series of GIS workshops this quarter open to all faculty, students and staff.