Technology FAQs

General Technology Questions

When are the labs open?

The public lab in Rankin Science West 346 has general operating hours of 9 AM to 7 PM on Mondays through Thursdays, 9 AM to 5 PM on Fridays, and 1 - 5 PM on Sundays. These hours vary during holidays and finals. GIS lab hours can be viewed on the Google Calendar.

For additional information, visit the GIS Lab & Drives page.

If the department computer labs are closed, is there a way for me to access my class folder?

Yes! The F: Drive (and most lab software) can be accessed remotely via the "Geography & Planning" lab on uDesk.

I am in a lab and/or classroom and the equipment is not functioning properly. What should I do? 

For all technology issues, please contact ITS via The staff will be there to assist you as soon as they can. Generally, all requests are resolved within one business day. For immediate needs, call 262-TECH.

*Please be detailed when describing problems as this helps the staff resolve them faster!*

What type of computer should I purchase?

To view the recommended computer specifications for Geography and Planning students, please visit the Computer Recommendations page.

ArcGIS Questions

I want ArcGIS and/or ArcGIS Pro on my office or personal computer. Is this possible?

Yes! To install ArcGIS on an office computer, click on the Software Center icon on your desktop. If you run into any issues, submit a support request at

To install ArcGIS on a personal computer, view the Software and Equipment page.

I installed ArcGIS and I can't connect to the SDE. What should I do?

Please view the GIS Labs & Drives page for instructions on connecting to the SDE database using ArcGIS 10.x.

I had ArcGIS installed on my laptop or non-networked computer, but I am getting a message that the license is about to expire. How do I fix this?

When you receive the message, request a license by following these instructions. A new license file will be emailed to you.

*You must have an active university email address to receive an updated license. Licenses expire annually on June 30th.*

I want to learn more about GIS. Are there opportunities for additional training?

Absolutely. View the ESRI Training Webform for information on additional training opportunities.

Lab Software Questions

What software is available on the lab computers?

The computer labs in Rankin Science West 335 and 346 provide the following software for student use:

  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • ArcGIS Desktop
  • ArcGIS Pro
  • ArcHydro
  • Blender
  • ENVI + IDL
  • ERDAS Imagine
  • ESRI CityEngine
  • GitHub Desktop
  • Google Earth Pro
  • Hec-RAS & Geo-RAS
  • Microsoft Office
  • MultiSpec
  • PyCharm
  • QGIS with GRASS
  • R & RStudio
  • SketchUp Pro
  • SPSS Statistics
  • 7-Zip

I would like to download the software that is on the department computers. How do I do this? 

See above for instructions pertaining to ArcGIS. Unfortunately, ENVI is not available for public use due to high licensing costs. For a list of software available to students through Appalachian State, see here.

Many geospatial software packages are available for free online download:

Department Equipment Questions

Who can rent department equipment?

Equipment rentals are for department faculty, staff, graduate students, and majors.

What equipment is available for rental?

Available equipment includes a digital camera, a video camera, a projector, a recorder, a laptop, a tablet, and multiple GPS units (Garmin, Trimble).

When can I rent equipment?

The equipment is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Reservations can be made up to three weeks in advance from the desired check-out date. 

How long can I rent equipment?

The maximum check-out period is three days. Any check-out for a longer period of time must have prior, written approval from the GIS Lab Supervisor.

How do I rent equipment?

For additional information and to reserve equipment, complete the Equipment Rental Webform.

Where do I rent equipment?

See the GIS Lab Supervisor in Rankin Science West 331.