A sample topographic map

GIS Services Office

The GIS Services office is part of the Digital Library office on the second floorof the Honnold/Mudd Library.

Honnold Library
GIS Services
c/o CCDL
Honnold/Mudd Library
800 N. Dartmouth
Claremont, CA 91711

GIS Tutorials

The purpose of this page is to provide the community with access to online tutorials and instructional materials in GIS. Each has its benefits and disadvantages, but overall they are very useful to support continued learning.

On-line Tutorials, Lessons, and Explanations


Overall Benefits: Exercises can be completed 24/7. Tend to be most helpful for people who are not complete beginners and are already somewhat familiar with ArcGIS vocabulary. Can be updated to be current more readily than print media.
Overall Disadvantages: Must have reliable Internet access to complete modules or read materials (they're not generally downloadable, but some can be saved to access off-line). Tend to encourage rushing through exercises to completion without fully understanding why each step is important. Very important to follow-up these exercises with practice with your own data. All assume that the user has ArcGIS 9x already installed on their computer.

  1. ESRI's Virtual Campus
    Short on-line classes covering a wide range of topics.

    Fees to enroll in the ESRI Virtual Campus courses are waived for students, staff and faculty through the Colleges ESRI Site License. Courses normally cost between $50 to $250 but are waived when provided with a new course code.

    Courses are organized by modules, complete with notes, exercises, and a test. Work is at your own pace. The Virtual Campus remembers how far you have proceeded so you begin again at the same place where you left off. You will need to have GIS software installed on your computer to complete the exercises. After enrolling in a Virtual Campus course, you will receive permission to download a trial version of the software. Upon completion of all the course modules, you are issued a certification of completion.

    For access codes contact gis.support@libraries.claremont.edu .

    Benefits:
    Particular topics can be selected for targeted training. Campus may already have free access to Virtual Campus classes through their software licensing agreement.
    Disadvantages: Examples typically come from industry or local government and may not be relevant for liberal arts faculty, staff and students.Can be expensive for many people on a campus to take these. Typically a high rate of non-completion of courses.

  2. ESRI's Desktop Help for ArcGIS 9.1
    Complete coverage of topics typically needed to use ArcGIS and its extensions.

    Benefits: Very thorough coverage of topics. Related Topics and embedded links are helpful.
    Disadvantages: So much information that it may be overwhelming. Difficult for the user who may not understand ArcGIS vocabulary.

  3. Center for Spatially Integrated Social Sciences `(CSISS) GIS Cookbook
    Collection of step-by-step instructions for beginning with ArcMap and starting a spatial analysis project.
    CSISS is a source of educational materials for social scientists interested in spatial analyses.

    Benefits:
    Has parallel instructions for older versions of ArcView. Includes more instructions for creating layouts than most other on-line tutorials. Includes instructions for processing Excel tabular data to use in a map. Each "recipe" has a dialogue box at its conclusion into which you could send a suggestion or question.
    Disadvantages: Range of topics covered is limited.

  4. Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access (PASDA) ArcGIS Tutorial
    Four Sections comprising a total of 18 Exercises, ranging from basic introductory to queries and layouts.

    Benefits:
    Well-designed layout of materials. Linked Glossary is very helpful.
    Disadvantages: All examples specific to Pennsylvania (though that's not necessarily bad...).

  5. University of Arkansas Libraries Introductory Tutorial
    Six Sections covering basics of ArcMap, ArcCatalog, and ArcToolbox, up through simple geoprocessing and analyzing.

    Benefits:
    One of the few that details ArcCatalog and ArcToolbox functionality (rather than only ArcMap).
    Disadvantages: Written for the ArcINFO 9x licensing level, so screen shots of ArcToolbox menus will differ for those using ArcVIEW 9x, though the particular functionality described (such as clipping, dissolving, etc.) is possible at the ArcView level as well. All information is written in HTML without anchors dividing topics, so be prepared for lots of scrolling up and down.

  6. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources GIS Training
    A number of guides designed to help with various geotechnology tools.

    To access exercises and data to use with ArcGIS 9x, find the "DNR GIS Courses" in the Contents list on the left side of the screen, and then click "Intro to Arcmap." From there, you can download exercises and data. All other references to ArcView refer to version 3x.

    Benefits:
    Information on many of the customized extensions may be of interest to students in the natural sciences.
    Disadvantages: Designed to be used in Minnesota with all examples related to natural resources management. Intended to be used in-house at DNR, not as materials written for the public. Examples may not be relevant for liberal arts faculty, staff and students.

  7. EOS Education Project, Introductory ArcGIS Course
    A 10-week, on-line course offered several times a year. Costs $500 for educators.

    Benefits:
    Curriculum is thorough. Duration of course provides ample opportunity for practice of skills being acquired. Intermediate and Advanced courses also available. If you complete all three courses (intro, intermediate, advanced) you earn a Certificate. NASA's EOS (Earth Observing System) has a good reputation for educational materials.
    Disadvantages: Need to be able to commit 10 weeks to learning materials. Must also purchase two textbooks to accompany class.

Scripted Modules


Overall Benefits:
Exercises can be completed 24/7. All materials can be downloaded and exercises printed to use off-line. Typically have longer and more detailed instructions and more background text than on-line tutorials.
Overall Disadvantages: Very important to follow-up these exercises with practice with your own data. Style of scripting may not be well-suited to different learning styles. All assume that the user has ArcGIS 9x already installed on their machine.


    1. National Park Service Course Materials
      Seven modules, plus exams and answers. Must read the Table of Contents to know what material each Module covers.

      Benefits:
      Materials can be downloaded and are completed off-line. Each module includes data, scripted exercise, and a PowerPoint. The Schedule that is provided suggests that the course can be completed in three full days.
      Disadvantages: Designed for use in land management. Examples may not be relevant for liberal arts faculty, staff and students.

    Books


    Overall Benefits:
    Exercises can be completed 24/7. Often come with a trial version of software so can use on personal computer at home or on a campus that doesn't have available software. Can be helpful as reference books when you are working on your own project.
    Overall Disadvantages: Tend to encourage rushing through exercises to completion without fully understanding why each step is important. Very important to follow-up these exercises with practice with your own data. Examples are often not relevant for liberal arts faculty, staff and students.

    1. GIS Concepts and ArcGIS Methods.
      Published 2003. Author: David Theobald. ISBN: 0967920825.

      Benefits:
      One of the best at combining targeted software instruction with solid GIS background information. Great value for the price.
      Disadvantages: Book does not include trial version of ArcGIS software.

    2. Getting to Know ArcGIS, Second Edition.
      Published 2004. Authors: Ormsby, Napoleon, Burke, Feaster, and Groessl. ISBN: 1-58948-038-X.

      Benefits:
      Book comes with a 180-day license of ArcView 9.1. Can be consulted again and again as a reference book.
      Disadvantages: Lessons designed for ESRI's primary audience (industry, government, business). Examples may not be relevant for liberal arts faculty, staff and students.


    3. GIS Tutorial. Workbook for ArcView 9.
      Published 2005. Authors: Gorr and Kurland. ISBN: 1-58948-127-5.

      Benefits:
      Book comes with a 180-day license of ArcView 9.1. Can be consulted again as a reference book. First two chapters available as a 9 mb pdf file that can be downloaded by clicking here.
      Disadvantages: Lessons designed for ESRI's primary audience (industry, government, business). Examples may not be relevant for liberal arts faculty, staff, and students.

    4. Mastering ArcGIS, 2nd Edition.
      Published 2006. Author: Maribeth Price. ISBN: 007-2999-87X.

      Benefits:
      Book comes with a CD-ROM of narrated video clips. Brief but good background chapter to coordinate systems and projections.
      Disadvantages: Book does not include trial version of ArcGIS software.

    Other Instructional & Support Materials


    1. GIScience Help Desk, Center for Geospatial Research, San Francisco State University.
      Information arranged in a helpful FAQ manner for a number of ArcGIS components, extensions, and mapping procedures. NOT designed to be a tutorial for beginning work with ArcGIS.

      Benefits
      : Helpful tips for trouble shooting issues that arise with the software and explaining differences that occur between different versions of ArcGIS. Useful for intermediate and advanced users.
      Disadvantages: Requires understanding of ArcGIS vocabulary to appreciate explanations to questions. Not helpful for beginners.

    2. GIS Self Learning Tool, Department of Geomatics, University of Melbourne, Australia

      Benefits:
      Good background material for understanding why and how GIS can be used for spatial analyses. Helpful Glossary.
      Disadvantages: Designed for GIS and spatial analysis and NOT ArcGIS software specifically. Requires Macromedia Shockwave to run.

    For assistance

  • Last updated: 3/7/2011 6:40:33 PM