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  1. I cannot see my ArcGIS extensions (e.g. Spatial Analyst, 3D Analyst etc...). When I open ArcGIS, those tools are not available. How can I activate extensions?

The extensions are automatically installed with the software. However, to access the associated tools you need to turn on the extension and open the associated toolbar.  To turn on the extensions:

  • In ArcMap go to Tools > Extensions
  • With the cursor, select the box next to each extension that you want to activate (e.g. Spatial Analyst).  Close the window.
  • In ArcMap go to View > Toolbars
  • Select the tool bar associated with the extension of interest (e.g. Spatial Analyst).


2.  How do I get a copy of ArcGIS?

Undergraduate and Graduate Students
A 1-year license for ArcGIS 10.1, including extensions, is available to McGill students. This is the mid-tier 'ArcEditor' level of system in ESRI's suite of ArcGIS products. This license means that students can use GIS on their own computers without being connected to the McGill server. The student version of ArcGIS 10.1 expires 1 year after installation. Students will to get a valid license file; to do so, they will need to contact Ruilan Shi. When in possession of a licence, students can download the software from the ESRI website directly.


There are two ways for faculty/staff to get GIS software on their computers.

A) The easiest way is to download a copy from ELMS, McGill's online repository of institutionally licensed software. You need to log onto this site in order to access the software.
ArcGIS 10.1 software is available through this distribution method. This download comes with a license file, does not expire in one year, and can be installed multiple times, making it perfect for setting up a graduate computer lab with GIS software.

B) The second way to get GIS software is only for the more specialized ESRI products such as ArcGIS ArcInfo, ArcPad, ArcGIS Server, ArcIMS, etc. The only way to get these products is to see Ruilan in room BH525 or email her directly at ruilan.shi@mcgill.ca


  • Do I have access to ESRI Virtual Campus Courses?
    Yes.  As part of the ESRI site licenses agreement, McGill staff, students, and faculty can take on-line courses. For further details contact GICsupport@mcgill.ca.   The courses that are available through the McGill site license are (make a list)


  •  What is the difference between ArcView, ArcEditor and ArcInfo?  Which ESRI product do I need for my research?
    ESRI has useful resources to help you answer this question. (See Which Desktop GIS Software is Right for you?)
  • I need to do GIS work while in the field, what can I do? 
    Faculty or staff who needs to be able to use software in remote field settings should contact GICsupport@mcgill.ca for assistance selecting the appropriate software solution. 
  • How do I ensure that my ArcGIS software is completely up to date?
    ESRI regularly fixes bugs and errors. It is recommended that all ArcGIS customers download and install the latest Service Pack from ESRI  to ensure the highest quality experience when working with ArcGIS.  
  • How do I use Bing Maps? 
      Bing Maps is a web mapping service that is now available for use with ArcGIS at McGill.  This service enables one to display satellite and aerial imagery with your field data in ArcMap.  In some geographic locations, the maximum resolution available in the Bing Map layers is approximately 4.5 pixels per meter. Elsewhere, especially in the most remote areas of the world, top resolution is a few orders of magnitude less.  Bing Maps layers are available on the computers the electronic classroom (BH511). The layer files are:
    Bing_Maps__Aerial.lyr, Bing_Maps__Aerial_with_Labels.lyr, Bing_Maps__Roads.lyr
    • To display the Bing Maps with your data, load the layer files in an ArcMap Data frame.


Remote Sensing


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 [COD1]Is there still correct?

 [COD2]I don’t think we need this