Select to view content in your preferred language

Best way to share ArcGIS executables and license files

08-27-2018 12:42 PM
Esri Regular Contributor
6 22 13.4K

*Updated 2023

We often get asked “I’d like my students, staff or faculty to use ArcGIS Pro, what is the best way to distribute the executable or the license file?” This applies to any other Esri application that needs to be downloaded and installed, such as ArcGIS CityEngine, ArcGIS Enterprise, ArcGIS Drone2Map, etc.

License files:

With Modern GIS, licenses are managed through an ArcGIS named user account linked to an individual rather than through a license file linked to a device. Hence, it is crucial that organizations implement SAML logins for efficient access to all ArcGIS apps, including ArcGIS Pro. There will be no need for sharing ArcGIS Pro license files, as Single Use and Concurrent Use licensing will not be available.

Certain applications, including ArcGIS Enterprise, ArcGIS Business Analyst, and ArcGIS StreetMap Premium, still require a license file. Our recommendation is to use your existing software distribution mechanisms or institutional file share system to distribute those license files (OneDrive, Box, Google Drive, etc.).

Executables (installer files):

We recommended that ArcGIS Pro be downloaded directly from ArcGIS Online. A signed-in user can click on their name in the upper right corner and choose My Settings and then Licenses. The advantage of this method is that the student, faculty or staff do not have to go to an additional application (file share system) to obtain the executable.   

The recommended method for sharing the executables for ArcGIS Drone2Map, ArcGIS City Engine, ArcGIS Enterprise, etc., is to use your institution's existing file share system (OneDrive, Box, Google Drive, etc.). This method is also useful for sharing older versions of ArcGIS Pro. Advantages of this approach are:

  • Access to the executables is managed with the same single-sign-on (SSO) as your ArcGIS Online organization, LMS or other business systems. This makes it easy for students, faculty and staff to login with their known enterprise credentials and download software.
  • One location for accessing the executables is used by everyone in the organization - a familiar workflow for obtaining software.  
  • In addition to sharing the executables, other common instructions could be shared, as well as access to older versions of applications could be provided, as needed.

Note: Typically, the above approach of sharing executables and license files is appropriate for ArcGIS applications for which licenses available to everyone (i.e. ArcGIS Drone2Map Standard). For more advanced technology, such as ArcGIS Enterprise, additional communication about support, requirements to install, etc. should be in place with the executables, to ensure successful experience in using the application.

Commonly asked questions

Can I use My Esri to share license files and executables with everyone?

We do not recommend using My Esri as a method for sharing executables or license files for your campus at large (i.e., providing access to many students, faculty and staff). It may be appropriate to enable IT managers at the college/business-unit level to use My Esri for provisioning licenses, downloading software, and submitting technical support requests. However, we generally discourage using My Esri with transient student users because of the administrative overhead required to manage permissions to the other areas of My Esri.

  • Invitation to My Esri will need to be initiated by the administrator, which means this could result in multiple transactions. Depending on whether the My Esri account is already in the system, there may be additional interaction to Request Permission (for Downloads in this case).
  • There are notification emails that go out to student, staff, faculty who are being given those permissions, such as “your permissions request has been received”, or “your request has been approved” notifications. These could be confusing for new users.
  • This can be burdensome for administrators (to have to manage the requests), for instructors (to have to instruct their students where to go to download), and for students (to have to navigate My Esri to get to downloads)
  • From Administrator standpoint, this does not scale well for increased number of users.

What is the best way to share licenses when working in a disconnected environment, i.e., taking ArcGIS Pro offline?

In the future, Single Use files will not be an available option to license ArcGIS Pro in the field and when disconnected. Therefore, the recommendation for licensing ArcGIS Pro when disconnected is to “Take ArcGIS Pro Offline”, under Organization->Licenses.

We have made a number of improvements, and will continue to do so, to simplify this process. One of the upcoming improvements will be that the license can be taken for a period of time only (X number of days, lower than the organization's expiration date). This will help with offline license recovery, which has been a pain point as it necessitates a transaction with Esri - the offline license will be checked back in upon expiration of the days set for taking it offline - this will be done automatically even if the user does not return the license.  

Feel free to share feedback.