Remote Access FAQ

During the hybrid period of Spring 2021, users with GIS accounts can access the GIS workstations in the GIS Center via eLabs. eLabs is a multiplatform system used to access applications in a virtual environment or to access remote workstations.

IMPORTANT: There are two important requirements for Cisco AnyConnect (VPN software) to work on your computer: 1. You must have antivirus software installed and updated. Enrolled FIU students can download free anti-virus software at 2. You must turn on your firewall. 

General FAQs:

  1. What if I don’t have access to a computer?
    FIU Libraries has a limited number of laptops available for checkout. A very small subset of these laptops has GIS software installed on them. Please inquire about this at the Circulation Desk in the Green Library. Even if you cannot get a laptop with GIS software installed, you can still access FIU GIS Center’s teaching labs via VPN and eLabs.
  2. What if I don’t have PC, only a Mac? How do I configure my Mac to be able to run ArcGIS?
    If you’d like to install GIS software on your own machine, you will need to install Windows. In order to run Windows on a Mac, you must install Bootcamp, Parallels, or another program of your preference on your Mac machine that will allow you to run Windows. For more details, please visit The GIS Center does not provide support for iOS or Windows installation.
  3. How do I configure my PC to access eLabs?
    Please see detailed instructions for accessing eLabs at
  4. How do I access eLabs using a Mac?
    ELabs works the same on a Mac and PC. In order to access eLabs via either a Mac or a PC, you must VPN into the FIU network. To VPN you need to install Cisco AnyConnect ( For the VPN connection to work you need to have an updated anti-virus software, and your firewall turned on. Enrolled FIU students can download free anti-virus software at
  5. How do I install VPN and get it to work?
    For VPN details, please go to
  6. How do I install ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro on my PC? What is the hardware requirement for ArcMap or ArcPro?
    The hardware requirements for running the latest version of ArcGIS Desktop (aka ArcMap) are here: The hardware requirement for running the latest version of ArcGIS Pro are here:
  7. How do I obtain an ArcGIS Online account? What is an ArcGIS organizational account?
    An ArcGIS organizational account (aka ESRI organizational account, AGOL organizational account) allows you to access premium and subscription-based tools and data within ArcGIS Online. ArcGIS Online is a cloud-based mapping and analysis solution from ESRI. For more details on ArcGIS Online, please visit,and%20to%20share%20and%20collaborate.&text=Your%20data%20and%20maps%20are,your%20mapping%20and%20IT%20requirements . To obtain an ArcGIS Online organizational account, email
  8. How can I access GIS data or coursework data?
    We recommend that instructors use their course site on to distribute data, instructions and homework with students. Some instructors may choose to share geospatial data via the Public drive — check with your instructor about that. For general geospatial data access please visit
  9. How do I access GIS software?
    We recommend you install GIS software on your own computer, this will lower the demand on the GIS Center workstations available on eLabs. If you want to install GIS software on your own Windows computer, details are at

    IMPORTANT: The VPN solution is for students who do not have access to a Windows machine that can run GIS software (for hardware requirements to run GIS software, please refer to prior FAQs).
  10. Where are the instructions to install and use the VPN client?
    Full step-by-step instructions on how to use the GIS Center computing infrastructure via eLabs are available at

    The GIS Center does not offer IT support for VPN connection, however, here are a couple of links related to FIU VPN connections:
    1. Getting started with FIU VNP:
    2. Procedure for how to download and install anti-virus software, which is a requirement for FIU VPN use:
  11. I have VPN but it doesn’t work properly, and asks me to install antivirus software, how do I do that?
    You must have antivirus software installed and updated for Cisco AnyConnect (VPN client) to work on your machine. Enrolled FIU students can download free anti-virus software at

FAQs related to GIS Lab Computers via eLabs:

  1. What are the "S:", "Q:" and "Y:" drives, and how can I access them? 

    S: - Personal drive, mapped to "\\\students$\your_username"

    Q: - Public drive for sharing data, mapped to "\\\public"  

    Y: - Data repository drive, mapped to "\\\data

    When saving homework and project related data, always save on S: -- never on C: !! 

    For shared data copy the data from the Q: drive to your personal share S:

  2. Are the "S:" and "Q:" drives accessible through eLabs?
    Once you connect to the GIS workstations virtually through eLabs it is just like being physically in the lab. All the drives that are normally seen on that workstation will still be available.
  3. When you are remotely logged into a workstation in the GIS classroom, which workstation are you logged into?
    IMPORTANT: Please remember to SIGN OUT of the computer via the Start menu. This will ensure that the computer is available for the next user.
    "GIS Courses" machines should be used for teaching, following the Lab Schedule (75 min sessions).
    "GIS Homework/Research" machines should be used for homework/projects/research (480 min sessions).
  4. What happens if all the machines are in use?
    If all the computers are in use an error message would be displayed letting the user know that no workstations are currently available.  If this happens, just try back at a later time. If you have access to a Windows machine, you can get a copy of GIS software from the GIS Center. Details are at
  5. Default settings in the GIS software are saved in a local profile specific to a particular workstation. How is this being handled using this remote setup? Will students have to reset all defaults again each time they log in?
    Since each workstation accessed through eLabs is randomly assigned on login, it is unlikely that the student will get the same workstation as they did on their last visit. This means that if the defaults are not what the student needs, they will need to be changed by the student.

Additional questions about access?

For help with Cisco AnyConnect (VPN Client) please check

For help with eLabs please check:

For help with a GIS user account go to

Still have questions? Contact us at, and at (305) 348-6443 or (305) 348-7949.