Department Student Resources for Technology Access Fall 2020

Aug 24, 2020

View and download technology resources (pdf)


GSS Student Resources for Technology Access, Fall 2020


UI updates and more information can be found here.

Computer access:

Instructional Technology Centers (ITCs): ITCs will re-open this fall with physical-distancing guidelines in place. This means that capacity will be decreased, but they will be available for use of standardized software as well as some specialized GIS software required for GSS courses.

Personal computers and laptops: Many of the specialized software packages required by courses in GSS are available as free downloads, as either free and open-source, or student licenses. Regardless, these can be installed on your personal computer. Faculty will provide further information on which software packages you will need and how to access.

Loaner laptops: If you do not have access to your own computer, computer lab, or do not feel comfortable in an ITC, you can request assistance from the Office of the Dean of Students ( In the email explain your need and they will work to help you get what you need.

Internet access:

For students who do not have access to reliable internet connections ITS has put together a list of vendors who you can contact to receive this service.
If you cannot afford to purchase internet, have problems with your current setup, or have other issues relating to internet access, ITS has made high-speed Wi-Fi available via drive-up in several locations on campus.

Software access:

As noted above, faculty will inform each course as to their specific needs and assist in accessing that software. Some of the more common software is listed below.


Zoom will be the primary platform for any virtual instruction at the university. Prepare for classes by downloading zoom and keeping it up to date.


The Office365 suite is available to all students for work in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. Local installs
available if the web-based versions are not sufficient for your work requirements. Office365 also allows access to Microsoft OneDrive, a data sharing option (similar to google drive) for group work or sharing large datasets with faculty or staff.

ArcGIS Desktop Student Licenses:

ArcGIS, from ESRI, is the primary desktop GIS software used to teach/learn/execute coursework in GSS. Students have access to a year-long, fully featured installation. This is a Windows only application (will work on Mac using Parallels or a dual-boot installation of Windows). ArcGIS can be installed on students’ personal Windows computers with a valid activation code (contact course instructor for a code)

To download and install the software:

  • Navigate to and create a free Esri account
  • After signing in, they will enter the authorization number to activate the code
  • Select the necessary version (latest is 10.7.1) and follow the on-screen instructions to install and license the software.

ArcGIS Online:

Arc Online, from ESRI, is a cloud-based application that can be use free of charge by students. To request access contact Adam Skibbe ( to request an online license for ArcGIS Online.

ArcGIS Pro Licenses:

ArcGIS Pro, from ESRI, can also be used on personal machines via online licensing. To request access, please first access a student code as noted above, then contact Adam Skibbe ( to request an online license for ArcGIS Online/ArcGIS Pro.

ERDAS Student Licenses:

ERDAS can be installed on students’ personal Windows computers with a valid activation code (contact Nick Carino-Marek for more information)

Virtual Desktop:

Virtual Desktop is an online resource based “in the cloud” which will provide you access to some of the specialized software you need for your coursework. Virtual Desktop works but should be considered a fallback option if others do not work. Note: if you have a personal computer and access to the software through your class, that is a better option. Remote Desktop: Remote Desktop allows a user to remotely connect to a physical machine somewhere on campus. In certain special circumstances you may be given permission to do this.

Dual boot Mac:

If you are using an Apple PC or laptop, you may be able to install a dual boot option of Windows to run
Windows-based applications. If you would like to do this and need assistance, the IT Helpdesk provides this service. See below for information on contacting the HelpDesk.

Additional Student Resources for Working Off Campus

UI Libraries access to on-line subscription resources:

  • All users with a HawkID can access the following e-resources: e-books, online articles, streaming videos, and e-images.
  • It may be necessary to follow these instructions for making links work from off campus.  

Keep Learning at Iowa:

  • Be ready to keep learning during sudden or prolonged campus disruptions or building closures  
  • “Request Help” button to easily request support via email

Working Remotely:

  • General list of items to check prior to leaving campus, as well as links to support articles offering details on multiple services

Duo (Two-Step Login):

  • Multiple UI services require two-step authentication (VPN, ICON, Office 365, etc.)  
  • Make sure you are prepared to use Duo with one of the three accepted methods (SMS codes, phone call, or Duo Push)

Cisco VPN Client:

  • A VPN connection is required to access network drives, library resources, etc.
  • Make sure you have this installed on whichever device you plan to use off campus
  • Instructions for downloading, installing, and configuring the VPN client can be found here:

Connecting to Shared Network Drives from Off Campus:

  • A VPN connection is required to connect to shared network drives
  • Relevant Network Drive Paths:
  Windows Mac
Home (H:) smb://
GIS Base Data smb://
GISIL (S:) smb://

Support Contact Info:

ITS Help Desk

Phone: 319-384-HELP (4357)


Online Chat: Help Desk Online Chat

Walk-In: to our second-floor location in Old Capitol Mall – may be by appointment only

Address: 2800 University Capitol Centre

Summer Jessup