ArcMap Retirement in Education Programs

a week ago
Esri Regular Contributor
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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  our curricula 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. We want to share a timeline, along with answers to some frequently asked questions, on what to expect with the retirement of ArcMap in March 2026.


  • In 2022-2023, depending on your license renewal date , the quantity of ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) licenses delivered by default with an Education Institution Agreement decreased from 5,000 to 250. Additional ArcMap licenses may be requested for specific needs.
  • In 2024, ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) will be removed from the Education Institution Agreement and Education Department License. ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) will no longer be available through the Esri Education Program.  
  • In 2026, ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) will no longer be available to any Esri customer.


  • Changes to the quantity of ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) licenses delivered are made at renewal. License quantities will not change in the middle of your license term.     
  • To emphasize, ArcMap will NOT be included in future terms of your Esri Education Program license. When ArcGIS Desktop enters the Mature Support phase of the product lifecycle (March 1, 2024), ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Desktop Extensions will no longer be delivered in Education Institution Agreements or Education Department Licenses.


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 can be requested, as needed. However, beginning in 2026, 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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New Contributor III

Is there the possibility of a small number (perhaps 10 or so) of perpetual licenses for ArcMap, contingent on the maintenance of the site license? I do not expect that to support instruction, but I could see the interest in keeping access to the application for legacy purposes.

Esri Regular Contributor

@ChrissyRothgeb that would not be possible (perpetual ArcMap licenses), however, we do understand dependency for 3rd party applications. Please send us a note for the specific situation.