The library GIS workstations are available in the Carleton Virtual Desktop Infrastructure in the library and off-campus!

The virtual workstations are available for use by Carleton students, staff, and faculty, allowing you to view, collect and organize your data. They are available through the cuDesktop service, also known as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). CuDesktop provides an alternative to physical computer labs for software and allows students access to applications without needing to install them on their own laptop or PC.

Please note, there are 25 seats available in the Library GIS virtual machine and there is a 3-hour time limit per day. They operate on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you are unable to access one of the 25 seats, please email us at This is a new system and we want to make sure we are meeting our service delivery standards.

There are two methods to access the Library GIS VDI:

1) From home on your own PC/laptop - great for staff, faculty, students, and Mac users who want to use Esri software at home!

2) From any computer in the library - ideal for students who prefer to work in the library or who don't want to install VMWare (VDI) on their own computer

Please note: If you do have a home computer with the system requirements to run GIS software, you can download ArcGIS Pro or ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) for free here.

Home PC/Laptop remote access instructions

  1. Download and install the cuDesktop software (VMWare Horizon Client) by following these instructions. **If you're using Windows and want to be able to save files to/from your computer, make sure to choose the Download Windows Client option.
  2. If you don't have Carleton's VPN (virtual private network) set up, you'll need to install and connect to that as well. Instructions from Carleton IT.
    • As of November 7, 2022, all users of the Carleton VPN will need to authenticate with Duo multi-factor authentication. There is no need to download the VPN client again, but there are new VPN instructions and instructions for setting up Duo (both from Carleton ITS).
  3. Once your download and installation are complete and you're logged into the VPN, click on Add Server.
  4. Enter as the connection server and click Connect.
    • The host name of the Connection Server is
  5. Enter your MyCarletonOne credentials to connect to the cuDesktop server.
    • For Server Login, use your MyCarletonOne username (not full email) and password to login
  6. You're ready to go! Click on Library GIS to launch the Library GIS virtual environment
  7. Next time you want to sign in to use the Library GIS virtual environment all you need to do is connect to the VPN and launch the VMwareHorizon client and follow the same prompts.
  8. But Wait! Here is more useful information!
    • How to access your Windows folders while using VMWare:
      • Make sure you downloaded and installed the Download Windows Client option from the CUDesktop site. If so, you should be able to access USBs and your computer drives.
    • How to access your Mac folders while using VMWare:
      • In the VMWare menu, go to VMWare Horizon Client > Preferences... > Sharing. Check off the boxes to allow access to your home drive and removable storage.
      • Then go to your Mac's System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy and scroll down to either Full Disk Access (all files and folders) or Files and Folders (just Downloads and Desktop). In the application list, find and click on VMWare so that you can access files on your own computer. After changing this setting, you can access your Mac folders under This PC > Network Drive (Z:) when you’re logged into VMWare and browsing for a file or folder.
      • In Mac System Preferences, under Files and Folders, there should be a VMWare Horizon Client section.
  9. Remember: there is a 3-hour time limit per day. There will be a notification a few moments before your three hours are up so make sure you save your work. Before you log off, any work you want to save must be saved to a USB drive, your remote laptop/workstation, or your P: drive (note that the P: drive is only 500mb). When logging off, choose Logoff Utility from the shortcuts on the desktop.

Library Virtual GIS Workstation access

It's so easy!

  1. Go to the library
  2. Find an available computer and sign in
  3. Look for the VMware Horizon client icon and double click it
  4. Next you should see a box with the icon. Double click it
  5. Follow the prompt to sign in using your MyCarletonOne credentials
  6. Next you should see a box with the Library GIS icon | double click the icon to launch the Library GIS VDI
  7. You're in!
  8. Remember: there is a 3-hour time limit per day. There will be a notification a few moments before your three hours are up so make sure you save your work. save your work to a USB drive with a few gigabytes (recommended) or your P: drive (there is limited space on the P: drive). You must save your work BEFORE YOU LOG OFF! You can log off using the Logoff Utility icon

Happy mapping!

Please email us at with any questions.


  • ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) 10.8.1
  • ArcGIS Pro 3.0
  • DWG TrueView 2018
  • FME Desktop 2021 (data translation software program)
  • Global Mapper 23
  • Google Earth Pro
  • QGIS 3.16

Data access

All of our datasets are available online via our online downloading system (Carleton and Ottawa-Gatineau datasets) and Scholars GeoPortal (Ontario and Canada-wide datasets).

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