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Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

A guide to tools, data resources, and training for GIS at the Library

ArcGIS Pro

ArcGIS Pro is the full-featured Esri product you have access to as student, faculty, or staff of the Claremont Colleges.

The ArcGIS Pro platform includes access to Esri's analytical tools (such as Business Analyst) as well as the tools for doing georeferencing of raster maps.

ArcGIS Pro requires a Windows operating system, and a valid ArcGIS account. Other system requirements are available on the Esri site. We HIGHLY encourage you to confirm that you have the available hard drive space and memory before installing the software.

If you have already created your Claremont ArcGIS Online account you are able to download the latest version of ArcGIS Pro from the ArcGIS Online portal:

1) Once you've logged into ArcGIS online, navigate to "My Settings" under your profile information in the top right corner of the window.

Screenshot of ArcGIS Online profile menu

2) From the "General" settings window, select "Licenses"

Screenshot of settings window with an error marking the license option


3) In the licenses window, you will see a list of the ArcGIS tools you have access to. There is a download link to the right of the ArcGIS Pro license.

Screenshot of the ArcGIS Online licenses window with a red arrow indicating the download link for ArcGIS Pro.

The download will probably take several minutes since the files are large.

Detailed installation instructions for ArcGIS Pro are available on Esri's site.


Google Earth

While not a full GIS, Google Earth is a good way to get started quickly with some impressive spatial visualizations.

The web version of Google Earth can support explorations of satellite imagery, and Google Earth Pro is available for free download onto Windows and Mac machines and offers more advanced import/export features as well as historical data.

For analysis of geospatial information using the Google platform, you may want to try the Google Earth Engine.

Introduction to Google Earth Engine 101 gives you some good information and sample scripts to get started. 


QGIS is a well-established free and open-source GIS platform that works on both Windows and Mac machines. 

ggmap package for R/RStudio

If you're working with R/RStudio and including geospatial data in your quantitative analysis, you can download the ggmap package which includes a collection of functions to visualize spatial data and models on top of static maps from various online sources (e.g. Google Maps). It includes tools common to those tasks, including functions for geolocation and routing.