Best Practices for Administering ArcGIS in Education

07-17-2018 08:48 AM
Esri Regular Contributor
7 8 2,453

In a recent Ed Summit 2018 workshop on “Best Practices for Administering ArcGIS in Education” we shared a number of recommended workflows applicable to academic setting. Some of the key ideas are below:


  • Web GIS is not just “more and better” GIS, rather a whole new way of doing GIS, which requires new ways of managing GIS.
  • Build bridges with stakeholders within your institution who can facilitate these best practices – collaborate with experts in enterprise systems, identity management, information assurance, etc.
  • Maximize access to ArcGIS and minimize time/cost spent managing ArcGIS - it takes more time to restrict access.
  • Enable enterprise logins, commonly referred to as Single Sign On (SSO), and auto-provision new users for Role (Publisher), Credits, Esri Access, Entitlements, etc. This eliminates manual account creation and management when user status changes (student graduates, faculty retire, staff leave).
  • Enable access for everyone – once SSO is implemented, new users can automatically join and leverage the technology. Consider ArcGIS to be enterprise-level system similar to email, LMS, file servers. 
  • Enable Esri Access for any incoming user as part of auto-provisioning (possible after latest June 2018 ArcGIS Online release) – empowering users to help themselves by getting access to Esri Training, Learn ArcGIS, GeoNet.
  • Enable access to everything – grant entitlements for all common apps (ArcGIS Pro, GeoPlanner, Insights for ArcGIS, Community Analyst, Business Analyst, etc.) for any incoming users (currently done via script). Ensure that any such scripting is enterprise-level – robust, scalable, secure, reliable.
  • Set credit quota – high enough so that users can do their work, low enough to protect them from mistakes.
  • Use a single ArcGIS Online organization, where possible, which avoids impeding collaboration and means reduced combined management workload.
  • Disable offline licensing for ArcGIS Pro via Named User licensing, and instead provide Single-Use licenses for potential offline use cases. 
  • Do nothing as a best practice – no need to delete accounts, delete content, etc. 
    • Rely on official institution sources to track when person’s status changes – students graduate, faculty retire, staff leave – configure SSO to deny access for ineligible users.
    • Do not delete content as there may be dependencies and others may be relying on this content.


We welcome any feedback on the above recommendations!

Peter Knoop (University of Michigan)

Geri Miller (Esri)

New Contributor

Thanks to you both!  These will be useful as I learn Python and how to use it to manage our AGOL instance.

Occasional Contributor

Thank you for this information.  One question:  What is the rationale for disabling offline licensing for ArcGIS Pro via Named User licensing?

New Contributor III

I suspect it's due to what happens if someone takes their license offline and then isn't able to get back on the machine to take it back . We had a few users on VMs who took their licenses offline, then the VMs were blown away and they weren't able to use Pro anywhere else. A ticket with Esri was required to get it sorted.

Occasional Contributor II

It is indeed a case of practicality. When someone took their Named User license offline, it often resulted in unexpected complications because they didn't remember to check it back in from say their laptop, and then wanted to use Pro on their office computer or a classroom computer, while their laptop with the license was elsewhere. 

Or, as in Peter Wiringa's example above, which has happened to our users numerous times as well, they lose access to their license altogether, which means a support request to Esri. It then typically takes several days to get things sorted, meanwhile that use has no access.

Instead, we recommend giving access to everyone to a Single-Use license instead, then they can choose to use it if they think they might be using Pro offline. Then they don't have to remember to check something back in; however, they do have to remember to update their Single-Use license once a year when the site license renews.

New Contributor II

In reference to the bullet point on "Enable access to everything – grant entitlements for all common apps (ArcGIS Pro, GeoPlanner, Insights for ArcGIS, Community Analyst, Business Analyst, etc.)":

Our log files brought to our attention this morning that the license name for Business Analyst recently changed. Instead of "ArcGIS Business Analyst", the name is now "ArcGIS Business Analyst Web and Mobile Apps", so anyone granting entitlements to this license in a script may need to update this name.

Abbey Roelofs (University of Michigan)

Esri Esteemed Contributor
Occasional Contributor

Peter, for users that need to use Pro offline, do you generate one Single-Use license file for all users to download from your institutional file share system?  Or, do you generate a unique Single-Use license file one for each user?

Occasional Contributor II

A single one.