Run ArcGIS On MacBook

Have a MacBook and need to run ArcGIS Products? These three tips will help you utilize your MacBook for GIS work with ArcGIS desktop software.

Run ArcGIS On MacBook

So you have a MacBook or looking to buy a MacBook and at the same time, you are a huge fan of ESRI software like me.

Well, just go ahead and get that MacBook because this article will help you navigate these obstacles.

By default, ArcGIS desktop products are mainly developed and offer support for Windows operating systems. A few products like the ArcGIS Enterprise deployments support other Operating Systems like Linux but most of the products are windows based. Hopefully, they will get to develop and work on products for other users operating on other OS.

If you have gone through Google and other forums, you might notice the recommendation on using Bootcamp or using a Virtual Machine for this.

Let me take you through how you can do this but my main option for this article was the use and utilization of cloud platforms like Azure, Amazon, Linode, and others.

Starting with the usual

In other blogs, they tell you about using Bootcamp for this. Bootcamp allows you to boot into either macOS or Windows OS. So when you buy that MacBook, a simple installation of Bootcamp will allow you to boot into Windows. All you need is the Windows ISO file.

Find out more about Bootcamp.

Boot Camp - Official Apple Support
Find all the topics, resources, and contact options you need for Boot Camp.

Another choice would be to use VirtualBox. VirtualBox allows you to run an installation of Windows OS in parallel with your existing Mac OS, and to switch from one to the other without booting into either one separately.

Find out more about VirtualBox.

Oracle VM VirtualBox

Other typical choices for the virtualization option are the licensed software Parallels or VMware.

But there are limitations

What they do not tell you when marketing their business and promoting other products through affiliate marketing are the limitations to these products.

Fog day, with quite neighborhood
Photo by Sam Xu

One of the biggest limitations is Hardware. With very limited hardware it is difficult for one to have a windows installation within macOS. And forcing your low-resource machine to run another operating system in parallel will definitely have some consequences.

What other option is there?

Ever heard of cloud computing? This is the time and place to start implementing and adopting such systems.

With cloud systems, there is no need to spend money on hardware, and guess what? You can access your computer from anywhere over the internet.

Isn't that amazing? Even while you are hanging out at the beach and need something done quickly (could be a work emergency) a simple login will do the trick.

But, where can you find these cloud platforms?

In this digital era, there are lots of cloud platforms that offer virtual services. In this article, I have listed only those I have used and have had some experience with. These would be:

  • Azure Cloud

With a GitHub Student Package, one can claim up to 25+ free Azure services. This offer is only for students though. For professionals, you have to pay for what you use.

Cloud Computing Services | Microsoft Azure
Invent with purpose, realize cost savings, and make your organization more efficient with Microsoft Azure’s open and flexible cloud computing platform.
Azure Cloud Services
  • Amazon Web Services
AWS Management Console

With an account on either one of these platforms, one could leverage the Virtual Machines that exist, deploy Windows OS, and start using ArcGIS on their MacBook from the comfort of their locations.

Ready to use ArcGIS on any machine? Go with the cloud platforms to avoid disappointments. The cost is worth it for some of these services as they never disappoint.