Welcome to the University of Kansas ESRI Higher Education Site License home page. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology is an interdisciplinary tool, and at KU ESRI products are used in many academic departments, research units, and museums. A wonderful variety of applications using GIS can be found on campus that serve to illustrate how pervasive geospatial tools have become in our every day activities. This site is dedicated to informing the KU GIS community about the availability and terms of use for ESRI software. You, as a member of that community, have a vested interest in seeing that this site does just that. If you have comments or suggestions about the site's content, please let us know.

About the KU GIS Site License

The purpose of the KU GIS site license is to ensure that geographic information system (GIS) technology is available for research, teaching, and management at the University of Kansas (KU). This is accomplished by providing faculty, staff, and students with cost-effective access to a broad array of GIS technology, including the industry standard ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Server, under a site license with Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI). Details about the GIS for Higher Education program can be found here.

The GIS site license involves a contractual agreement between The University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc. (KUCR) and ESRI, under which KU access to ESRI GIS products is provided in exchange for an annual maintenance fee (see Site License Costs). The annual fee is paid by users of the software, thus broad participation in the site license means lower annual costs for all. The Kansas Applied Remote Sensing (KARS) Program serves the role of coordinating activities under the site license, while administration of the site license, including billing, is handled by KUCR.

Who Can Participate?

Faculty and Staff
Participation in the GIS site license is available either for individuals at KU (e.g, individual faculty or researcher staff) or for KU administrative units (e.g., departments or research programs). Although the site license generally restricts the installation and use of software to university-owned computers, it does permit faculty to install the software on their home computer for curriculum development and other non-commercial use.

Faculty can request free ArcGIS for Desktop and Extensions Student Trial Software One-Year Education Use Only licenses for their students at Requests must come from a KU faculty member with a campus mailing address.

KU units that particpate in the GIS Site license include:

  • Architecture and Urban Planning
  • Civil Engineering
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Information Services
  • Kansas Biological Survey
  • Kansas Geological Survey
  • KU Med Center
  • Museum of Natural History
  • Institute for Policy & Social Research
  • Social Welfare

Site License Costs for the University

The annual fee for the ESRI University Site License at KU is $25,000 and is renewed every June 20th. The annual fee includes:

  • Unlimited software licenses
  • One copy of software media and documentation
  • Free access to many ESRI Virtual Campus courses
  • Technical support through three campus representatives
  • New releases and upgrades
  • Five complimentary registrations for the annual ESRI User's Conference

There are additional administrative costs associated with the site license, such as time and materials required to distribute the software, and part-time salary for a site license administrator. Adminstrative costs are approximately $10,000 annually, thus the total annual cost to run the site license is approximately $35,000. The annual cost is recovered through fees assessed to campus ESRI users.

Site License Fee Schedule

Current users of ArcGIS are e-mailed renewal notices in mid-May for the coming year. Renewal fees are due by mid-June. New users may subscribe at any time during the year and fees will be prorated for that year.

To help decide what level of functionality you need, please see:
Functional capabilities of ArcGIS Desktop
Functional capabilities of ArcGIS Desktop - Analysis and Productivity Extensions

Department-wide Fee Schedule
Unlimited Use includes access to all ESRI authored products available through the site license including: ArcGIS Desktop, Workstation, Analysis and Productivity Extensions, ArcGIS Server, ArcIMS, ArcSDE.

- Academic Departments $3,500/year
- Museum Units $3,500/year
- Research Units $3,500/year

A La Cart Fee Schedule
- ArcGIS Desktop Advanced with no Extensions

- ArcGIS Desktop Advanced with Analysis and Productivity Extensions
(Extensions include 3D Analyst, Spatial Analyst, Geostatistical Analyst, Network Analyst, etc.)

- ArcView 3.3 with ALL AV 3.3 Extensions
(Note: support for ArcView 3.3 ended with Windows XP, updates and fixes are no longer provided)
$100 one-time fee

- ArcGIS Server

- Faculty can request free ArcGIS for Desktop and Extensions Student Trial Software licenses for their students at Requests must come from a KU faculty member with a campus mailing address.

Technical Support and Contact Information

There are three (3) designated GIS Specialists on campus through which requests for technical support may be submitted to ESRI. These individuals are:

Contact Unit Phone E-mail
Ken Nelson Kansas Geology Survey 4-2164
Calvin Schulte Technical Support Center - Math/Earth Science Team 4-0690
Jerry Whistler Applied Remote Sensing 4-1513

To submit a request, please email one of the contacts with a description of the problem. The description should include the following information:

  • Your name and phone number
  • Operating System and Service Pack
  • Software (e.g., ArcGIS - ArcInfo, ArcPad, ArcView 3.x)
  • A detailed description of your problem and the exact wording of any messages

The campus support contact will then submit your request to ESRI Technical Support. You should expect to receive a confirmation of the request soon after your submission. You should expect to receive an answer to your request directly from ESRI Technical Support within 1 or 2 days.

Contact for General Information
Please send inquires regarding the ESRI Site License to the Site License Administrator:

Jerry Whistler
Research Associate
Kansas Applied Remote Sensing
phone: 785/864-1513 fax: 785/864-1534

ESRI Virtual Campus

One of the benefits of KU's ESRI Higher Education Site License program is free access to some ESRI Virtual Campus courses. The ESRI Virtual Campus offers a wide variety of courses covering GIS Science, GIS Technology, and GIS Applications. The Higher Education Site License provides unlimited access to all ESRI authored courses. Check this catalog listing for available courses.

ESRI Virtual Courses

To enroll in one or more of these courses, please contact one of the following Virtual Campus Subscription Representatives:



Geographic Information Systems (GIS) involves a broad array of computer tools for mapping, managing geographically referenced data, and spatial analysis. Applications of GIS are many, and can be found in virtually every academic subject. Visit the website of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA) for more information about GIS.

Teaching and training in GIS at KU have long been conducted with ESRI software. ESRI is recognized as the world leader in GIS technology and its products have become the industry standard. ESRI's flagship product, ArcInfo, is widely recognized as the most powerful and most complete GIS package. ESRI's ArcView product makes many of these capabilities available via an easy-to-learn desktop user interface. Visit the ESRI website for more information about GIS, ESRI, and ESRI products.

ESRI Higher Education Site License Resources

The following ESRI web page provides quick links to Site License Resources. From this page, Faculty and Instructors can request free software for their students, request a complimentary copy of ESRI Press books, communicate with other GIS educators, and exchange ideas, curriculum, data, and more with other educators. You can also find details about the Higher Education Site License program, including what other colleges and universities are using ESRI software.

Site License Resources