Skip to main content


 Frequently Asked Questions

1.  What is GIS and who is Esri?

Geographic information system (GIS) software is "critical thinking technology" which allows users to explore and analyze geographic data, good for solving problems. Esri (Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc) makes GIS software. Esri technology is used by millions in business, government, and agencies large and small, all over the world, in all walks of life. See and


2. What is an Esri statewide K-12 license?

Agreement between Esri and the state of Missouri partnership organizations providing access to all of Esri's GIS software and online instruction for all K-12 schools, districts, staff, students, and formal youth clubs in the state.


3. Why would a state want this? What is the benefit of a statewide K-12 license?

  •  A group license provides widest/highest access at lowest cost. Includes GIS software for desktop, server, and mobile use. Provides updates to software, technical support, online instruction, and complimentary registrations to annual Esri User Conference.
  • The statewide license covers all instructional uses in all K-12 schools (public and non-public), homeschool students, and formal youth clubs. Examples include standard classroom content, career technical education, individual merit badges, group service projects, and so on.
  • The statewide license also covers all administrative uses in all K-12 schools (public and non-public), all school districts (local and intermediate), and formal youth clubs. Examples include school demographic analysis, on-campus facilities management, safety mapping, pupil transportation, district logistics, and so on.


4. What is the cost of a statewide K-12 license?

  • The price of the software for K-12 educators, K-12 adminstrators, and leaders of youth groups is at no cost.    
  •   There is a required match of the Missouri partner organizations for the K-12 state license which is based roughly on the student FTE, but the total cost is extremely low, in consideration of the available funding for and mission of K-12 education.   More information can be found in in FAQ 9 regarding the match.  
  • The current contract period for this initiative is through  31 July 2014. Extensions are negotiable.


5. What requirements exist for a statewide K-12 license?

The Missouri  partnership organizations must:
  • sign a contract with Esri, the agreement was signed on behalf of  the Missouri Geographic Alliance by the Curators of the University of Missouri
  •  let potential users know that the software is for specific users only (educators, staff, and students), and for specific uses only (instruction and administration of the organization). Commercial use is strictly prohibited.
  • provide access to all interested licensed users in equitable fashion.
  • support instruction in the technology.
  • report on implementation, in a manner deemed mutually agreeable between the state and Esri.

6. How can training happen?

  • Many of the partner organizations of the Missouri K-12 GIS license will be offering a variety of online and face-to-face opportunities for training and professional development.  Check the events calendar for upcoming training opportunities. 
  • The license includes unlimited seats for licensed users in Esri's online instruction ("Virtual Campus" classes), at no cost.
  •  Many states already have educators (and students) from middle school into college with experience using GIS, who can help train others.
  • Many GIS professionals ("geomentors") are interested in helping educators and schools on a voluntary basis. (See
  •  Esri Education Community website ( houses free instructional materials (blog, ArcLessons, webinars, case studies).
  • Many GIS events happen around the country and include instructional opportunities. The Esri Education User Conference ( is a key event.
  •  Many colleges offer formal classes, in person or online (costs vary).
  • Some Esri partners provide customized training, in person, online, or via curricula (costs vary).
  •  Esri Press has numerous instructional materials (costs vary).
  •  Educators and staff can take Esri Instructor-Led Training at an Esri training center for 40% off list price.


7. How will software distribution happen?

  1. A K-12 educator, leader of a recognized youth group or a K-12 administrator must fill out the online software request form.  Which will include a license agreement.  
  2.  Requests will be reviewed and an email will be sent to notify the individual of their approval status.  
  3. Once approved instructions for the software download will be provided.  Files are quite large (multiple gb). If necessary, the installers may be provided  on physical media such as DVD or portable drives at the cost of the requestor for media and mailing) 
  4. The registration codes for software (and Esri Virtual Campus) will be provided via email (or other arrangements can be made if school firewalls will not permit the attachments).

    Please note: All software distribution and licenses are subject to agreement of the conditions of the statewide license agreement and can be revoked for misuse.


8. What states have a statewide license already?

 A clickable map that links to the statewide licenses can be found at:

9. How will the partnership organizations be documenting support for the K-12 GIS license?

We are currently working on an online mechanism to document internal support that can be measured against the value of the state license, accumulated across professional development ("training"), creation of custom curriculum ("lessons"), and cost of implementation ("time and materials"). These are examples of such support, in no special order:


  • Staff costs for a "K12 GIS education specialist" position
  • Cost of materials and time for staff to copy installers
  • Shipping and handling costs and time for distribution of media
  • Guidance and technical support for conducting installation
  • Cost of designing, marketing, conducting, and following up instructional webinars
  •  Donations of instructional time by mentors
  •  Provision of substitutes (by school or district) for teachers attending training during work hours
  • Donation of personal time by teachers attending training after hours or on weekend (includes Virtual Campus hours)
  •  Grants for updating state standards to incorporate GIS
  • Projects for developing custom instructional materials engaging GIS
  • Cost of operating and maintaining a server just for distribution of software or conduct of webinars
  •  GIS books and training materials purchased from various sources
  • Cost of educators or administrative staff attending GIS events (e.g. regional user group meetings or Esri Education User Conference)
  • Cost of GIS Day resources, transportation, and venue rental
  • Cost to conduct statewide competition for students using GIS (transportation, meals, venue, marketing, materials, etc)
  • Donations of materials for clubs to distribute at local fairs in support of GIS license activities
  • Donations of time for meeting with teacher prep programs to incorporate GIS training


EXAMPLE VALUES (simplified for illustrative purposes):

100 teachers each spend 20 hrs @ $20/hr = $40,000

100 staff each spend 10 hrs @ $20/hr = $20,000

100 mentors each donate 5 hrs @ $40/hr = $20,000

100 buses carry students to event @ $500/bus = $50,000

100 disk drives @ $50 (purchase, load, distribute) = $5,000

100 books @ $50  = $5,000

10 adults attend GIS conf (transport, hotel, meals, time) @ $1000/person = $10,000

TOTAL = $150,000

10.  Does it include private schools?   

 Yes, in addition to each of the schools in the 525 school districts of Missouri, the statewide license will be available for the more than 580 private schools,  as well as the 53 charter schools, 30 magnet schools  and the estimated 40,000+ homeschoolers in Missouri.   

(The private, charter and magnet school information is from the National Center for Educational Statistics, the homeschool data is an estimate based on the number of 5-17 year olds in Missouri – see

11.Does it include informal education programs (4-H, scouts, etc)? 

 Yes, in Missouri, all K-12 serving informal and non-formal youth organizations, such as 4-H, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, YMCA’s and Boys and Girls clubs.  Many of these organizations have shown increasing in their interest and use of geospatial technologies.

 A Boy scout troop in Fredricktown Missouri, with the help of a 4-H volunteer, mapped the communities fire hydrants and enabled the town to obtain a reduced rate on their insurance. Just last week a group of 4-H educators in the Kansas City area afterschool program were trained in GPS and GIS.

 There is a long standing history of museum education programs such as those at the Litzsinger Road Ecology Center of the Missouri Botanical Garden that have offered GIS professional development to educators and opportunities for students to use GIS for research and analysis.

12.  Does this license apply to Missouri's Community Colleges or other Institutions of Higer Education?

No. This is specifically an initiative for the K-12 homeschool, public schools, private schools, K-12 Career and Technical Centers and K-12 youth organizations in Missouri.