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Using ArcGIS at The Ohio State University

Learn more about using Esri products for teaching, learning, and research through Ohio State's education institutional agreement

Contact Esri Support at Ohio State

If you have questions about accessing, licensing, or general technical support for products available through our Esri education institutional agreement, please email We will do our best to respond to your inquiry within two business days.

ArcGIS Online - Credit Policy

ArcGIS Online is available to Ohio State affiliates for non-commercial education and research purposes (i.e., those uses described in the Permitted Uses Rubric of our education institutional agreement). The Ohio State community of ArcGIS Online users is diverse, and our organizational account is used for mapping and visualization, spatial analysis, data management, and more. Ohio State's ArcGIS Online organization is a shared resource available to the entire university community, and the Esri Support team aims to maintain equitable usage of the credits and licenses allocated through our education institutional agreement.


Ohio State's ArcGIS Online organizational account includes a supply of shared credits, and all members of the organization are allocated an amount based on this finite quantity. Our organizational credits are replenished annually at the time of our license renewal (July 1).

What are credits?

In the context of Esri products, credits are the currency used to support certain operations in ArcGIS Online, such as geocoding, spatial analysis, storage, and other services. Review Esri's documentation to better understand what capabilities in ArcGIS Online use credits and as a reference to estimate your credit usage when working in ArcGIS Online. Any ArcGIS software that interacts with premium content or geoprocessing tools available through ArcGIS Online can use credits. For example, Esri also provides documentation on ArcGIS Pro geoprocessing tools that use credits.


Most ArcGIS Online activities do not require credits - for example, viewing online maps, using ArcGIS Living Atlas basemaps and imagery, exporting data, and performing single address or place searches. In many other cases, credit-consuming activities have a relatively low cost. Three types of ArcGIS Online activities consume credits:


  • Feature storage
  • Analysis tools
  • Premium content (including ready-to-use demographic and lifestyle layers from Esri)


Analysis tools - such as geocoding, geoenrichment, and feature and raster analysis tools - consume credits based on the type of tool and the size of the dataset. For example, geocoding consumes 40 credits per 1,000 addresses. Geoenrichment consumes 10 credits per 1,000 attributes (data variables multiplied by total feature records). These numbers can add up quickly when working with large datasets. When working in ArcGIS Online, users can click the Estimate credits button at the bottom of a tool pane to see a credit estimation before running the tool.


We encourage users to review Esri's documentation to better understand credits for spatial analysis operations and to be mindful of credit usage, particularly when designing class assignments that could impact the credit consumption of many users.

How many credits do I get?

Based on engagement with GIS stakeholders at Ohio State and Esri administrators at peer higher education institutions, the following system has been put in place for ArcGIS Online credit allocation. The system is reviewed regularly and will be updated as needed to reflect changing technologies and user circumstances.


Standard Users


All members of Ohio State's ArcGIS Online organization are allocated 1,000 credits by default when their account is created. Most ArcGIS Online activities do not require the use of credits so 1,000 credits is more than most Ohio State users will ever need.


Power Users


Certain groups of Ohio State affiliates can be considered ArcGIS Online "power users" due to their heavy reliance on ArcGIS Online functionality in teaching, learning, and research. ArcGIS Online power users at Ohio State are allocated a budget of 10,000 credits.


As an example, students and faculty affiliated with the Geographic Information Science and Spatial Analysis degree programs (including minors, certificates, and specializations) in the Department of Geography are eligible to be allocated 10,000 credits as power users.


If you would like an Ohio State affiliated individual or group (e.g., class, research group) to be classified as an ArcGIS Online power user with a higher credit limit, please email with a detailed summary of your ArcGIS Online use case. We will follow up within two business days to request any additional information needed.


Currently, power user classification and credit allocation is a manual process managed by Ohio State's ArcGIS Online administrators. If you are an instructor who would like to request that students in your class are granted power user status, please contact with the subject line "Power User Request - Class Name" as far in advance as possible so we can discuss the necessary workflow with you.


Requesting More Credits


Any Ohio State affiliate is eligible to request additional credits in ArcGIS Online by contacting with a description of your use case and estimated credits needed. Credit increases are made in intervals of 1,000 depending on the use case.


Ohio State users can be granted up to a total of 30,000 credits per academic year. This is to ensure equitable distribution of a limited supply of credits shared across a large educational institution. Under exceptional circumstances, additional credits beyond the 30,000 annual credit limit may be granted after consultation with and review by the Esri Support team. This is because the Esri Support team may be able to provide guidance on alternate options that will not require use of such a large amount of credits - for example, alternate methods of batch geocoding.


It is important for Ohio State users to monitor and self-regulate ArcGIS Online credit usage. When working in ArcGIS Online, we highly recommend that you click the Estimate credits button at the bottom of a tool pane to see a credit estimation before performing an analysis. You can view your remaining credits at any given time by logging in to ArcGIS Online and going to the My settings page of your user profile.

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