ArcGIS Desktop Retirement in Education Programs - Affects ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro Single/Use Concurrent Use

05-24-2023 04:18 AM
Esri Regular Contributor
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*Updated February, 2024

There has been a change in product direction for ArcGIS Desktop - the date on which ArcGIS Desktop delivery will end for all existing customers, has been changed from March 1 to July 1 2024. The product lifecycle remains unchanged - ArcGIS Desktop enters Mature Support phase on March 1.

Education Colleagues:

For a few years now , we have encouraged the GIS Education Community to teach Modern GIS workflows, adopting a cloud-first approach and moving away from ArcMap in curriculum and research. Modern GIS skills (requirements gathering, application configuration, data as services, automation and scripting, cloud infrastructure and architecture)  are crucial in today’s environment.

We’ve worked hard to provide supporting resources and guidance on transitioning from teaching only ArcMap to teaching the entire ArcGIS system to help the community prepare for the retirement of ArcMap.

In addition, Modern GIS uses named user licensing to provide access across the suite of ArcGIS web, mobile, and desktop apps. We have been recommending ArcGIS Online as a licensing portal, leveraging Single Sign On/SAML logins as the most efficient way to provide access to ArcGIS both in lab environments and on students’ personal devices. Moving forward, ArcGIS named user will be the only method to license ArcGIS Pro and other ArcGIS applications in the future.

We want to share a timeline, along with answers to some frequently asked questions, on what to expect with the retirement of ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro Single Use/Concurrent Use). 


  • In 2022-2023, depending on your customers’ license renewal date, the quantity of ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro Single Use/Concurrent Use) licenses delivered by default with an Education Institution Agreement decreased from 5,000 to 250. Additional licenses may be requested for specific needs.
  • In 2024, ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro Single Use/Concurrent Use) will be removed from the Education Program. ArcGIS Desktop enters the Mature Support phase of the product lifecycle on March 1, 2024. ArcGIS Desktop will no longer be delivered in Education Institution Agreements or Education Department Licenses as of July 1, 2024.


  • Changes to the quantity of ArcGIS Desktop licenses delivered are made at renewal. License quantities will not change in the middle of your license term.     
  • To emphasize, ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro Single Use/Concurrent Use licenses will NOT be included in future terms of your Esri Education Program license for renewals after March 1 2024 July 1, 2024. ArcGIS Pro WILL continue to be included and enabled via named user licensing. 
  • Customers whose licenses renew between March 1 and June 30 2024 will receive 250 license of ArcGIS Desktop for the next term.


There are many resources to help guide you through this journey, between ArcGIS tutorials, Esri Academy courses, and Esri Press books, among others. In addition, we have hosted, and will continue to do, several workshops and discussions to share best practices and address your questions.  Below are links to some of these resources. Please use them as stepping stones and/or supplements for your curriculum and research activities.


  • Q: What about ArcGIS Pro licenses?

A: The quantity of named user licenses (GIS Professional user type) did not change. As before, the recommended method for licensing ArcGIS Pro is via a named user. The quantity of ArcGIS Pro single use/concurrent use licenses delivered did change starting in 2022-2023; it was reduced to 250. If ArcGIS Online (or ArcGIS Enterprise) cannot be used as a licensing portal for GIS Professional user types, additional quantities of ArcGIS Pro single use licenses could be requested, as needed. However, after March 1, depending on your renewal date, 2024 the GIS Professional User Type will be the only method of licensing ArcGIS Pro.

  • Q: How do I license ArcGIS Pro in lab environments?

A: As stated already, we encourage customers to adopt a Modern GIS pattern, which includes ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Online and Apps. By definition, Modern GIS requires named user licensing and we have been recommending ArcGIS Online as a licensing portal, particularly leveraging Single Sign On (SSO) as the most efficient way to provide access. We discourage use of concurrent use licenses in labs, and many institutions successfully use ArcGIS Pro in lab environments using the named user model. This eliminates the need to run  a license server. Please work with your IT/lab managers to enable proper settings for logging out (to alleviate concerns of students continuing to be logged in to ArcGIS Pro for extended period of time).

  • Q: Distributing ArcMap licenses was easy. We serve a large body of students, faculty and staff, how do I manage access for everyone with this newer model?

A: As ArcGIS has grown beyond a single desktop application, the way we manage access and licenses has changed. Please follow these recommendations on Managing ArcGIS, if you do not already. Using SSO and New Member defaults are the most important approaches to minimize time managing access to ArcGIS.  In addition, it is important to have good communication about software distribution and options for using ArcGIS Pro on Apple devices.

  • Q: How do I notify all my stakeholders (students, faculty, staff) of these changes, or any changes?

A: This is an institution-dependent question. We recommend a combination of “push” and “pull” communication such as email (push) and notification on a website (pull).  The blog ArcGIS access website for your institution  describes how to create a website that enables self-service access to ArcGIS software and support. Please ensure your institution has such a website, and the website clearly describes how to access ArcGIS software, support and learning resources at your institution.


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