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Learn how to add layers and conduct simple manipulations in ArcMap (ArcGIS Desktop) and ArcGIS Online


ArcMap is a proprietary desktop software of ESRI. See below for ways you can access ArcMap and learn how to use it.


Access ArcMap on campus


What if I want an ArcMap license on my own computer?

  • Are you taking a course that uses GIS? Ask your instructor to fill this form to request free licenses for students.
  • Not in a course? Purchase a license for your computer.


I don't know how to use ArcMAP or ArcGIS! Is there a way I can get training?

Yes! You can get online training via ESRI's training website - just create a free account. Most of the training is free, but If you need access to advanced courses request access from UNLV OIT


What if I took a course but still have a question about specific functionality of ArcGIS/ArcMAP?

Email me at

Layers vs. Shapefiles

In the ArcGIS Online exercise, we imported layers into ArcGIS Online. In ArcMap, we will work with shapefiles.

The difference between layers and shapefiles is substantial:  shapefiles store the data that's related to the attribute of the geographic feature you are using, while layers merely hold the link to the data. This means that you can't edit the layer data in the same way you can edit the shapefile. 

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