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Geographic Information Systems at Yale: GIS Software Installation

Geographic Information Systems at Yale University encompasses a range of spatial applications and services. GIS is used by many disciplines at Yale University.

Yale Esri ArcGIS Installation Guides

This guide is intended to help standardize GIS Software installations on managed and faculty/staff/student computers across campus.  If you have questions or would like to see an application added to the suggested GIS software configuration, please send an e-mail to the Marx Library GIS team at

Lab Managers: The software is already deployed to all public and library computers in the Software Center. This video (no audio) shows the steps. If you have any questions, please send your inquiry to

  • ArcGIS Pro: Keep in mind that ArcGIS Pro does not require a license server, Yale users authorize their access with their Yale ArcGIS Online login.
  • ArcGIS Desktop: Lab machines with ArcGIS for Desktop (ArcMap) should connect to the Library license server. Please send your inquiry to in order to obtain the latest license server information.

Yale users with personal computers: 

GIS Software for Mac OS

Yale ITS Virtual Windows Desktop: We highly recommend you to review the information concerning "Remote Access for Esri ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap & Pro."

Installing in your own computer: ArcGIS Desktop is not available for Mac OS. However, Esri has published these recommendationsQGIS is an open-source desktop GIS alternative that runs natively on Mac OS, as well as on Linux.

In order to install ArcGIS in a Mac, you need to establish a windows environment. Yale ITS provides student support. To get a rapid and targeted response, identify your local support contact at or attend a walk-in help session at

Running a complex software package in an emulated Windows environment places heavy demands on your computer's memory.  For reliable ArcGIS processing, we recommend using a computer with at least 8 GB of RAM (preferably with an i5 processor and at least 256 GB storage) and allocating 4GB of that to your virtual windows machine.  ITS can help you to determine if your computer meets these specifications and to configure your virtual machine appropriately.  

Once you have windows installed in your Mac, please follow the installation guides provided above on this guide.

Alternatively, web-based mapping can be performed on a Mac environment using Yale ArcGIS Online

Planning to use the Esri software off the internet grid?

The standard installation of the ArcGIS for Desktop (ArcMap) in portable machines is single-use license and does not require to connect to any Yale license server.

If you plan to use ArcGIS for Desktop (ArcMap) off the internet grid, please test before going to conduct your fieldwork and make sure the software is opening without any issues. 

If you plan to use ArcGIS Pro off the internet grid, please contact to discuss the additional steps you should take and request the travel ArcGIS Pro package. 

If you are already out of the country and are experiencing issues to connect to ArcGIS, please refer to our  Yale GIS FAQs for the latest solution on this issue.

Public Computer Labs with GIS Software

Yale University offers hundreds of public computers that are located throughout campus and are intended for use by members of the Yale community. These computers have a common software image to provide ample access to academic programs and software needed for classes.

Regarding GIS software, this is not a complete list but includes locations where the GIS software has been installed. You may find one or a combination of the Esri ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) and ArcGIS Pro, Google Earth Pro, and/or QGIS:



  • Dunham Laboratory, Room 120 | 10 Hillhouse Avenue | Map
  • 17 Hillhouse, Room 07 and room 111 | Map
  • Rosenkranz, Room 01 | 115 Prospect Street | Map




  • Residential Colleges Citrix Computers


MyApps Yale GIS: Remote Access to GIS Desktop

June 01, 2020
The ITS Public Computing group has worked tirelessly, and now Yale students and faculty can access GIS software, via MyApps Yale GIS, including Esri ArcGIS for Desktop (ArcMap), ArcGIS Pro, QGIS, Google Earth Pro, and GeoDa.

  • MyApps Yale GIS is a comprehensive desktop and app virtualization service that provides access to a Windows-based environment containing Yale licensed software from both personal and Yale-owned devices.
  • Access to MyApps Yale GIS service will use multi-factor authentication (MFA) via DUO. 
  • Starting June 01, 2020, the MyApps at Yale Citrix environment is no longer be available. This change does not apply to MyApps at YNHHS.
  • It offers a full Windows 10 desktop. The desktop includes Yale licensed software that is currently available in the Public Clusters (for students) or software specific to departmental needs. 
  • To access the new environment, please download the remote desktop software and follow the Getting Started Guide
  • Access to the new MyApps Yale GIS environment is also available through the web.
  • Your existing Yale email address and NetID password will provide access to the system.

Note: All students with an active Yale email address are licensed to access the MyApps Yale GIS service via their personal devices.


Will I be able to save personal files on the virtual desktop?
The virtual desktop allows access to software available on the Public Clusters (students), or for specific use by teams or departments at Yale. Personal files should only be saved to a cloud drive, such as OneDrive, or to a network share.

Will I be able to add software to the virtual desktop?
You can customize your view of the virtual desktop, but software downloads/additions are not permitted. If you or your group have a specific need for software on the virtual desktop, please reach out to your professor, proctor, or manager.

Need help?

For additional assistance, please contact the ITS Help Desk at 203-432-9000 or visit our website to view answers to trending questions, search how-to articles, start a chat, or report a problem. You may also contact your local IT support provider.

ANNOUNCEMENT: ArcGIS Desktop License Renewal 2020-2021

E-mail sent to GIS-L mailing list on August 27, 2020

This message is for users who installed ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) on their personal computers.

Dear Yale ArcMap users,

Every year, in August, Yale renews its contract with Esri. If ArcGIS Desktop (aka ArcMap) is installed currently on your personal computer, your license, most likely, is set to expire on Monday, August 31, 2020. Therefore, by Monday August 31, 2020, you must authorize the ArcGIS Desktop Single-Use license, using a new provisioning file available in the Yale Software Library. The software package currently available is ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) 10.8.1. However, recent versions can be re-authorized with the same provisioning file without updating the software version (e.g., from 10.7.1 to 10.8.1).

Since Fall 2019, Esri users no longer need to connect to a Yale license server. Similar to last year, you will authorize a single-use license. Its authorization is done directly with Esri via the internet, using a provisioning file included in the software package that is available to download from the Yale Software Library.

Once you download the software package, please follow the “ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) 10.X Installation Guide” located at If you have any questions or experience any issues, please send your inquiry to

Thank you and good luck with your installation,


  1. Actions – By Monday, August 31, 2020

ACTION 1: Download ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) 10.8.1 at the Yale Software Library

ACTION 2: Install ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) 10.8.1 and authorize the single-use license. The installation guide is available at

  1. FAQs
  1. Will ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) 10.7.1 work with the provisioning file included in the ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) 10.8.1 package?

Yes, the provisioning file included in the ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) 10.8.1 package can be used to authorize ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) 10.7.1.

  1. I have ArcGIS Pro installed. Do I need to authorize its license?
    Most of the Yale users are using ArcGIS Pro Named-user, which requires your NetID login authentication to gain access. Therefore, you do not need to authorize a license.
    If your case is unique because you are using ArcGIS Pro Single-Use, please request a new provisioning file for a single-use license from
  2. I have a Mac. Can I install ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap)?
    Yale ITS is offering Windows Virtual Desktops to students. You may read more here.