ArcGIS Desktop, ArcGIS Online, and ArcGIS Pro are popular software and online platforms created by Esri that are used to perform GIS analyses. Registered students and staff at uOttawa have access to these platforms for free and can create accounts by following the steps described below. Click on your platform of choice to get started!
ArcMap or ArcGIS desktop is a GIS software for visualizing, managing, creating, and analyzing geographic data. Using ArcGIS, you can understand the geographic context of your data, allowing you to see relationships and identify patterns in new ways.
This software will no longer be supported by Esri as of 2026 and is therefore no longer recommended for new learners. All ArcGIS Desktop users are therefore recommended to migrate to ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Online as soon as possible.
ArcGIS Online is a Web GIS platform that allows you to use, create, and share maps, scenes, apps, layers, analytics, and data. Users can create a map that can be viewed in a browser, desktop or mobile device and leverages cloud computing. This platform has been growing throughout the years with added functionality and improvements to its interface and Esri now recommends it as the starting point over Pro for new GIS learners.
For a more in-depth look at ArcGIS Online, including how to login using your free institutional Named User account, please see this ArcGIS Online page.
ArcGIS Pro is Esri’s newest flagship software which combines the analytical potential of ArcMap with a newer, more intuitive interface similar to ArcGIS Online. This software is also much easier to work with ArcGIS Online.
*Compatible with Windows 11