The Virtual Lab is managed by ITS and provides UNC at Chapel Hill affiliates to software that is normally only available in computer labs and libraries. All applications available through the virtual lab are free to use.
The Virtual Computer Lab (VCL) provides UNC at Chapel Hill affiliates with access to software and hardware that may be difficult to install on their personal machines. The VCL is managed by ITS Research Computing and users can find their FAQ page here.
The Davis Library Research Hub offers two connection options through the VCL. Most users will want to use the "DAVIS LIBRARY RESEARCH HUB Esri Microsoft 2023 (Full Blade)" option, which provides access to ArcMap, ArcCatalogue, ArcScene, ArcGIS Pro, Jupyter Notebook, and the Microsoft Suite. The "Business Analyst" build allows users to access ArcMap for geocoding addresses using locally stored data or for conducting network analysis with an unlimited number of features. For help or questions about the Business Analyst option, please contact our GIS Librarian.
Before connecting to the VCL, users should set their user preferences so that the remote desktop opens as a full screen window.
If you follow these instructions and the VCL Image still opens smaller than full screen, you should also set your local remote desktop settings to allow full screen displays. To do this, go to the Remote Desktop app on your computer and show Options > Then under the display tab change display configuration to large and potentially use all my monitors for the remote session.
After connecting to the VPN and your VCL reservation is available, you are ready to start using the VCL.
Please note: The VCL is a remote computer, so whatever work you create on the computer will need to be saved elsewhere. Please see the section on "Saving Your Work on Virtual Computing Resources" for important information about saving your work.
It is not recommended to save your data on either the virtual lab machine or the VCL, as the data does not persist/is periodically deleted. Instead, ITS recommends using OneDrive for the Virtual Lab. See the ITS page for more information and specific recommendations. For the VCL, we recommend using OneDrive or another form of network storage as well.
Unfortunately, accessing files directly from OneDrive with ArcGIS Pro is not supported by ESRI and can cause errors that include lost data, corrupted files and projects, and other errors (see ESRI’s official statement on using ArcGIS Pro with OneDrive).
Students wanting to use the virtual lab or the VCL to access ArcGIS Pro should save all necessary data and project files in a OneDrive folder, download the folder locally to the virtual lab machine they are using, and then re-upload the folder to OneDrive when they are finished working.