ArcGIS Developer Subscription for Students

Blog Post created by geri_miller-esristaff Employee on Sep 5, 2017

The ArcGIS Developer Subscription is now available and it is a way to provide students (as well as faculty and staff) access to a variety of ArcGIS applications and capabilities, including their own dedicated ArcGIS Enterprise and ArcGIS Online portals, along with other developer tools.  


Of the following ArcGIS Developer Subscription plans, any student can sign up for the Essentials level, without going to a Site License Administrator, but that does not give them many options - it does not provide ArcGIS Enterprise licensing, dedicated ArcGIS Online organization (2,500 credits, 5 users), and more advanced capabilities. As part of a Site License, students, faculty and staff are eligible for the Enterprise level of the ArcGIS Developer subscription.


In this blog, we wanted to document a possible process for obtaining ArcGIS Developer subscriptions (Enterprise level) for students. Why do that? I’d like my students to:


  •       Have ArcGIS Enterprise licensing, including advanced Server roles and capabilities – get experience in setting up and managing ArcGIS Enterprise.
  •       Have their own ArcGIS Online organization (2,500 credits, 5 users).
  •       Experience Administrator role functions, such as setup a portal home page, add users, delete users, experience portal management through scripting, etc. (ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise).
  •       Transfer their content from university portals (ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise) to their own portal (ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise) – they can build and keep a portfolio of all projects they have worked on.
  •       Have access to many other ArcGIS tools and capabilities available with the ArcGIS Developer Subscription.


Steps to request ArcGIS Developer subscription for students are below – note that there could be variations in the assignment and management of ArcGIS Developer subscription codes, depending on the institution preferences. My Esri account access is used for distribution of licensing and executables, as part of the ArcGIS Developer Subscription.


The workflow outlined below could be appropriate for issuing subscriptions to many students (i.e. in a course setting), and assuming that the students will not be accessing the university’s My Esri account. For issuing ArcGIS Developer Subscriptions to faculty or students who have access to My Esri, the majority of these steps could be done by Site License Administrator or faculty/staff who has licensing privileges in My Esri.


Bottom line: The assumption is that students don’t have access to the university My Esri portal, hence they will need to create a new My Esri account, activate their code, and from their My Esri account, download any software executables and licensing.


  1.       Site License Administrator or authorized staff/faculty would email Esri Customer Service to request “X” amount of ArcGIS Developer Subscriptions (Enterprise level), to be used by students in “X” course.


  1.       Esri Customer Service will issue the codes – they will be emailed back in an Excel file, and will appear in My Esri, under “Manage Developer Subscriptions”. Each code will start with “ADS” plus a series of numbers.


  1.       Two options to share with students:


  • In the Excel file, assign your students to a specific code, then share that code assignment with your students. Instruct your students to go to and click on the “Create a new account” link. The ArcGIS Developer Subscription code will be activated in the student’s My Esri account.


  • Site License Administrator or authorized staff/faculty, using the university’s My Esri account, could manually “Send Developer Subscription Codes” to the student’s email (under “Licensing”, then “Manage Developer Subscriptions”). The student would get an email asking them to “Register your ArcGIS Developer Subscription”. They would need to follow the “Register Your Subscription” link, and given that they do not have access to the university’s My Esri account, they will need to “Create a new account”. The ArcGIS Developer Subscription code will be activated in the student’s My Esri account.


Both options will achieve the same – the issued ArcGIS Developer Subscriptions would be tracked under “Manage Developer Subscriptions” in My Esri – date of activation, name and email, to whoever they are issued to, will be visible.


  1.       Students would need to go to their My Esri account and register their code (sent to them in the Excel spreadsheet or emailed to them, depending which method above is used). Under “My Organizations”, they will see “Licensing Forms” section. They would need to click on “Developer Subscription Registration” and register the code.





  1.        Under the “Developer” Menu, they will need to click the “Activate” button to activate their Developer Subscription.


   6.   At this point, they can create their ArcGIS Online organization, which will give them 2,500 credits and (5) named users.


  1.       They will be able to download their install executables (under Downloads), and download licensing available with the ArcGIS Developer Subscription (Create New Provisioning File), depending on the capabilities that would be taught in the class. Alternatively, the executables could be provided by the university or instructor via a distribution method of choice, which is probably recommended.


  1.        Attached is a Word doc with possible instructions for students on how to Download executables and licensing for ArcGIS Enterprise or any tools provided with the ArcGIS Developer Subscription, and setup their own ArcGIS Online organization. Feel free to modify and reuse.


       Further items to consider:


  •      It would make sense that the ArcGIS Developer Subscription is issued per student. What if different instructors at a university decide to request ArcGIS Developer Subscriptions for students in different courses? How would one keep track of which students have been issued codes already?

       A: Regardless of the method used to register the codes, once the students activate their subscriptions, a Site        License Administrator would be able to see the name and email of the student that the license was issued to (Under        Manage Developer Subscription).


  •       ArcGIS Developer Subscription is active for (1) year – what happens after that?

       A: This is a university preference, licenses could be renewed upon request from Site License Administrator. An       option could be that the student purchases a student license and any ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise content       be transferred into that organization.  


  •       If the students have an existing My Esri account, or a My Esri account associated with the university, could this be confusing?

       A: A student could potentially end up with multiple My Esri accounts. 


Please feel free to share any thoughts or experiences with the attached workflow.