Confluence Retirement

In an effort to consolidate USGS hosted Wikis, myUSGS’ Confluence service is scheduled for retirement on January 27th, 2023. The official USGS Wiki and collaboration space is now SharePoint. Please migrate existing spaces and content to the SharePoint platform and remove it from Confluence at your earliest convenience. If you need any additional information or have any concerns about this change, please contact Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
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Enterprise License Agreement

What does ESRI Enterprise Licensing cost my USGS office?

Beginning in FY 2005, USGS offices will not be assessed ESRI fees since these fees are being centrally paid by the Bureau.

  • All Category A software is available at no additional charge to USGS/DOI centers
  • Category B software is available at 35% off the GSA price.
  • For details on software categories see ESRI GSA Schedule

What does the term "unlimited" licenses mean?

DOI may distribute and license without limit any quantity of ESRI software identified as Category A in the ESRI GSA Schedule. Since there is no limit, licenses for a backup or cluster server may be requested at no additional cost.

At Version 10, what ESRI products are covered under the Enterprise License Agreement?

A List of products licensed for unlimited use ("Category A" in the ELA) is available here.

How do I purchase ESRI software that is not included in the ELA?

DOI receives a 35% discount on all Category B products; discounts vary for Category C. Prices on the Category B/C reference page reflect the discount. Visit the Category B/C reference page, or visit the ESRI GSA schedule for detailed information and pricing.

Who is allowed to use ArcInfo Single-Use licenses?

ArcGIS Desktop Single use is a standard category A product therefore any user under the ELA can use Single-use.

May I install ArcGIS on my home computer?

ESRI has recently released a Home Use Program which is NOT part of our ELA. Currently USGS and DOI employees cannot use the ESRI Home Use Program. However, the ELA with ESRI does allow employees to install and use ESRI software at home, even on personally owned computers, if the software is used exclusively for Department of the Interior work related projects. Both concurrent and single-use ArcInfo licenses may be used on DOI-employee-owned computers with these restrictions. 

How do I obtain an ArcGIS license for a laptop?

DOI Laptops are covered under the ELA. EGIS recommends a single use license for laptops. To request a single use license please use the web-based form.

Can cooperators, contractors, and volunteers use ESRI licenses from our BPA?

Yes, but they can be used only for USGS/DOI related projects. Please see Guidelines for Cooperators.

Is Bing Maps included in ArcGIS Desktop?

Bing Maps was included with ArcGIS Desktop, but Esri has not renewed the license. Bing Maps has been deprecated and if you want to use it,  you would need to license it separately with Microsoft.

Can I still get command-line ArcInfo Workstation?

Yes. EGIS still distributes ArcInfo Workstation.

Installation and licensing

I'm having problems installing ArcGIS 10

Make sure you have .NET 3.0 or 3.5 installed, this is not the default.

I'm having problems installing ArcGIS 10 on Windows 7 using the EGIS script

In order to run the install scripts you  must right click a "Command Window' link and Run As Administrator (even if you are logged in as -pr or -ou).

What is a provisioning file?

A provisioning file is a text file containing registration information and keycodes. A provisioning file is used to license ArcGIS 10 products. A provisioning file for Single-Use licenses have a "prvc" extension, and a provisioing file for concurrent use licenses for a license server have a "prvs" extension.

Do I need a unique single-use provisioning file for each single-use install?

No, one per location is fine.

Whose name and contact information should I put in the provisioning file?

Either the ArcGIS user or the System Administrator, your choice.

Can cooperators, contractors, and volunteers use ESRI licenses from our BPA?

Yes, but they can be used only for USGS/DOI related projects. Please see Guidelines for Cooperators for more detail.

How do I obtain temporary keycodes for evaluation purposes, demonstrations, etc?

Any USGS staff or contractor can request temporary keycodes.  Make a license request from our Request Keycodes web page.

Does USGS support concurrent license "check out" functionality?

At Arc 10.x, ESRI has provided functionality to "check out" a concurrent license to a machine that is going to be disconnected from the network (for example, a laptop that is being taken off-site). If we had to pay for each ArcGIS license individually instead of through our Enterprise license agreement (ELA), using concurrent "check-out" (instead of the more expensive single-use license) would save money. But since we have an ELA, EGIS is recommending single-use because 1) it's less complicated to use and 2) it doesn't cost any more under our Enterprise license agreement.

ArcGIS will not authorize a license

Repeated efforts to authorize may fail with the error message: "The repair of the fulfillment is denied by the repair policy". If you see this message,  your authorization setup has been corrupted.

  1. Close down any running ArcGIS apps, including ArcGIS Administrator.
  2. Rename or delete the folder C:\ProgramData\FlexNet. (admin rights required)
  3. Start ArcGIS Administrator and go though the authorization process again. (admin rights required)

Can I use a 10.x License Manager (concurrent) to serve a 9.x concurrent client?

Yes, a 10.x License Manager (concurrent) will serve a 9.x concurrent client. However, you cannot serve 9.x licenses to a 10.x client.

How do I get a license for ArcGIS Pro?

ArcGIS Pro is licensed using your USGS ArcGIS Online account.  See the attached document for more details.

ArcGIS Desktop

I have been trying to run ArcMap and it crashes each time I save or try to add data.

Doing a reset of your application profile is generally a good idea at service pack updates, and whenever ArcGIS Desktop starts behaving strangely:

  1. Click Start (lower left corner of your screen)
  2. Click Run... (last thing on menu) at right
  3. Type %APPDATA% (no quotes) in the run box. Click OK This puts you in your user profile area in Windows Explorer.
  4. Rename the ESRI folder to ESRIold

A more complete discussion of this topic is posted in this white paper: Resetting your ArcGIS application profile

My ArcMap installation has several pop-ups before the application launches?

This message is normally something like: "Please wait while windows configures ArcGIS Desktop".

Make sure MS Office is totally installed before installing ArcGIS. If Office is installed on top of an existing Arc 10.0 install, you may get thi s message on start up. 

ArcGIS application crashes: Memory could not be "read"

Many things can cause ArcGIS desktop to crash.

  1. Check for resource issues (is the C drive full? Is the %TEMP% folder writable?)
  2. Check to see if the problem persists for other documents (mxds) and/or data. Corrupt data can crash ArcMap.
  3. Check to see if the problem persists for other users using the same data.
    If other users have no problem, try resetting the Esri app profile:
    1. Type "%APPDATA%" (no quotes) in the Windows Start "Search" box. Click OK (This opens your user profile folder in Windows Explorer).
    2. Rename the ESRI folder to ESRIold
    3. A more complete discussion of this topic is posted in this white paper: Resetting your ArcGIS application profile
  4. If the problem exists for all users, make sure display adapters are updated. Bad display adapter software can crash ArcMap. (This is sometimes the case if ArcCatalog works fine and Arcmap fails for all users).
  5. Set your default printer to a different printer--if the registry is pointing to a nonexistent or corrupt Windows printer setup, this has been known to make ArcMap fail on startup.

See these ESRI KB articles for more suggestions: ( 32797 | 19880 | 19412 )

An ArcGIS Desktop Repair, or worse, Uninstall, Install cycle should be a last resort -- unless it is time to update versions anyway.

My map is drawing very slowly. How can I make it draw faster?

ArcGIS 10 is sure slow. Can I speed it up?

ArcGIS 10 is indeed slower than 9.3.1, especially when accessing files from remote drives in ArcMap. Curtis Price has compiled some ideas on how to get better performance from ArcGIS in this white paper: ArcGIS Desktop 10 Performance Tweaks

I am receiving a licensing error message when using the Import from Interchange File tool

this is a known bug, NIM064357. The coverage toolbox cannot use an ArcInfo Single Use license. If you need IMPORT, there are other ways to do it:

  1. Import From E00 tool (Conversion toolbox/To Coverage, or faster: search for "E00")
  2. Run the workstation Import command using the Arc Command tool in the USGS GIS Tools toolbox
  3. If you need other tools in the coverage toolbox, you must set up to license from a concurrent license server (like before you start ArcGIS.

Can I install a different version of Python than ArcGIS provides?

Unless you have a good reason (for example, a fix to a bug that is holding you up, or an update to allow compatibility with a module) it's best to stick with the Python that is installed with ArcGIS. Installing multiple versions of Python can be done, but it is likely to cause problems for you, and Esri does not support it. If you must, you can update Python, but only bug-fix releases. For example, ArcGIS 10 ships with Python 2.6.5. You can updated Python to 2.6.6 -- but you cannot install 2.7 (well, you can, but ArcGIS will have problems with the new version).

XML error dialog when opening tools

Here are some known issues, with fixes you can try:

ActiveX content blocked when opening tools

ActiveX controls are blocked when opening tools and help from ArcGIS. One may be able to see content by selecting "Allow blocked content." This issue seems to almost always occur in Windows 10 with ArcGIS 10.5.1 and earlier. 

Esri's suggestion  does not work as these settings are blocked in our AD environment.


USGS STAIDs come into ArcGIS when imported from tables as numbers, not text

1. We distribute a tool in ArcMap in the EGIS toolbox (RDB To Table) that directly reads NWIS tab files, preserving data type (ie _CD is text, _VA is double).
2. Dupe the top three rows of data and replace the numeric station IDS with 'a23456789012345', then delete the dummy rows after import
3. Wrestle with schema.ini (this is what solution #1 does for you)
4. Format the STAID column as text in Excel, save as .xls (2007 format).  (Does not always work.)

ArcMap cannot read Excel files: Failed to connect to database

See the ArcGIS help article: Understanding how to use Excel files in ArcGIS

Buffer or overlay tool failed, ERROR 999999: Error executing function

By default, overlay tools try to write temp files to the application startup folder ("Desktop10.x\bin"). The fix is to either Delete the environment variable ARCTMPDIR, or Set the environment variable ARCTMPDIR to a valid writeable folder with no spaces in it. (The recommended location is "x:\temp" on the same letter drive that ArcGIS is installed.)

More details: ESRI KB 11835: Redirect where ArcInfo Workstation and/or ArcGIS writes temporary or scratch files during processing

Nothing happens with ArcMap Open Attribute Table (or other window-generating action)

The window or dialog may be displaying off your currently available desktop. See Esri KB 29236 for a fix.

Cannot import arcpy in python

When you try to import arcpy, you see this error:

  >>> import arcpy
Runtime error
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "c:\program files (x86)\arcgis\desktop10.2\arcpy\arcpy\", line 27, in <module>
import numpy
ImportError: No module named numpy

The best fix is a repair install to make sure ArcGIS will find the correct Python. This fix requires admin access.

Go to Windows Add and Remove programs and do a repair install of ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Background  Geoprocessing

USGS EGIS Tools do not show up in ArcCatalog

This is a "feature" of 10.4 and later. USGS EGIS Tools are available in the catalog window in the System Tools, you can add them with Add Toolbox. If you want the USGS EGIS Tools to always show up in ArcMap and ArcCatalog, follow these steps (see screenshot):

  1. Click the red toolbox window to open ArcToolbox
  2. Right Click ArcToolbox, Add Toolbox
  3. Navigate to and select System Tools / USGS EGIS Tools.tbx, click Open
  4. Right Click ArcToolbox, Save Settings > To Default

From now on in ArcCatalog and for all new ArcMap documents, USGS EGIS Tools will show up in ArcTooolbox.