Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in K-12

K-12 Esri – State of Minnesota GIS License Agreement

Welcome to the educational portal for information and resources associated with the Esri statewide Geographic Information Systems (GIS) license for the state of Minnesota! This effort is the result of a partnership of organizations and individuals designed to promote geospatial technology education with Minnesota's K-12 educators and non-formal education providers. Through GIS technology, Minnesota youth are using the tools of high-demand careers in the classroom to examine geographic questions, conduct analysis and explore themes. Students are working with data in ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports and charts—applications that are invaluable to their studies in many subject areas, including science, mathematics, career and technical education, social studies, reading, and language arts.

ArcGIS Software

Follow the steps below to download and start using the Esri ArcGIS software.

If you have an existing account with Esri please do the following.

1. Have your Technology Coordinator or main contact fill out the State of Minnesota GIS License Agreement.
2. Send your existing Esri account information to This would include your Esri customer number and main contact information. You will receive an email when the account has been linked. You will be able to use your existing username and password when you go to the Customer Portal.

If you need to create a new account please do the following.

1. Have your Technology Coordinator or main contact fill out the State of Minnesota GIS License Agreement.

2. Once you have submitted the agreement, have the Coordinator go to the Customer Portal and select the Create Account link

3. The Create Account link will walk you through a few screens:

• On the first screen you will enter Login and Account information. Click on “Create Account” at bottom of screen upon completion.
• On the second screen, under Access Options on the right side of the screen, click on “Request access to your customer account.”
• On the third screen you will see the customer information you entered previously on the left side under About You. On the right side of the screen, under Customer Account Information, enter 99. This is not the actual customer number but you will be linked to the actual account upon submittal. If you choose you may also fill out the job function question. When complete, click on “Send request for Access” at the bottom left of the screen.

4. You will receive an email from Esri acknowledging your account. You are done! You now have access to the Customer Portal. There are links to Download Software, download software authorization file(s), as well as other pertinent information about your account. ArcGIS software requires authorization files. These files are similar to license files but can be used for stand-alone (single instance on PC/laptop/mobile device) or concurrent (multiple entities) software applications.

ArcGIS Online

As of June, 2014, the new ConnectED Initiative provides K-12 Organizational subscriptions to ALL K-12 schools and Districts in the United States. Create interactive maps and apps and be productive right away with ready-to-use content, apps and templates available for the web, smartphone and tablets. For free, but limited access, go to To receive a FREE organizational subscription to the full array of ArcGIS Online information, maps and GIS data, have your Technology Coordinator or main contact go to the ConnectEd website and complete this Subscription form.

Esri Software Training (Virtual Campus)

As part of the license agreement, participants have access to many of Esri’s Virtual Campus standard training courses. These are primarily technology courses that will teach Esri software. To access available classes, including details about each class, go to and browse training classes. The License agreement doesn’t include instructor-led courses but most others are available. Once you have found a course that you, or your students, would like to take, follow the steps below to get access.

1. Have your Technology Coordinator or main contact send an email to with the course name, number of participants taking the course and the software version (10.0, 10.1). If you already have an Esri Customer number, please include that as well as it will help in setting up the course under your school’s name.

2. MDE’s K-12 GIS coordinator will find the requested class and enter it in a registration page and forward onto Esri.

3. Esri will receive this information and assign course access codes for the number of participants requested. These codes along with the course number will be emailed to the Technology Coordinator.

4. Once the Technology Coordinator receives the email from Esri, go to, login with your account username and password and click on My Training on the right-hand side of the page. Enter your course access code in the box titled “Start a New Web Course”. The course title will display in the Courses in Progress list and you can click on the course title to begin.

If you have questions contact the Minnesota Department of Education GIS Coordinator.