GIS Tutorials

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    Diana Sinton

    When you need handy step-by-step instructions for how to accomplish something with GIS, there’s nothing like the treasure of finding a well-written and well-designed tutorial, ideal for helping you accomplish a specific task.  Creating these is an investment in time and other resources, and keeping them current is worth their weight in gold.

    Here is a collection from Tufts, including all of the basic steps for using ArcGIS 10,  I also really appreciate their poster design suggestions!

    Paul Cote at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design has coined his collection “Cultivating Spatial Intelligence.”  His collection includes Data Resources, Data Handling, Effective Cartography, Analytic Techniques, and the GeoWeb, among others.  Nice description of why data  layers sometimes don’t line up, too.

    The University of Kansas maintains a collection of how-to’s as well.

    Let’s share others that we know about.



    Hi Diana,

    Congratulations on starting up this site: it promises to be a valuable resource for everyone interested in GIS, whether they are formally involved in teaching (and learning) or not.

    Web-based Q&A sites have been developing and growing a lot over the last decade, beginning with vendor sites like the ESRI forums but now including independent sites like the StackExchange-GIS site that first attracted my attention over two years ago.  (Example:  Most are useful; some can be addictive; but none is perfect.  I think a common struggle is to be accessible and meaningful to what is an incredibly diverse community.  (About the only thing users of these sites have in common is GIS.  Their applications, backgrounds, skills, interests, cultures, and languages span the widest possible spectra.)  I am wondering, then, what your reactions to such sites have been; what opportunities you see for them; how they might fit in with the other teaching resources you link to and offer here; and how we should be thinking about using and improving them.


    Diana Sinton

    Hi Bill. Great to see you here!  I hope the site can live up to our expectations. We dream big!

    I think highly of the GIS Stack Exchange and made a direct link to it here.  You’re right, being both accessible and meaningful is a fine line.  People are fickle, and the amount of time it takes to become invested in these kinds of online communities is precious and in short-supply. So a site cannot afford to be laissez-faire.  It’s rarely a build-it-and-they-will-come situation.  I actually do like the ways in which StackExchange (nicely) manipulates participation with the tiny incentives.  Give an answer, earn a prize.  There must be a whole new field of business psychology about the strategies and tactics of building online communities.

    I expect that those of us nurturing this site will have to be one step ahead of the curve to build our community. This may involve social media, promotions, marketing, and moving into the 21st century with academic scholarship. Sharing something as a White Ppaer, and reaching a wide audience, instead of submitting something to a journal and reaching few. I hope to reach into the Scholarship of Teaching (and Learning) around geospatial technologies and bridge some research/practice divides with this site.

    Using and improving these sites. A great discussion topic to continue with others as well. We’ll start a new thread!


    Kelly Johnston

    At the University of Virginia Library’s Scholars’ Lab we teach a new geospatial workshop series each spring and fall semester.  The workshops most often include step by step instructions, slides, and supporting datasets.  We make all the workshop materials available here.


    Kelly Johnston

    Participants in the Institute for Enabling Geospatial Scholarship hosted at the University of Virginia Library’s Scholars’ Lab asked for a peer-reviewed source for step by step helpsheets and tutorials with a focus on geospatial humanities. So we assembled a stellar review board who built Spatial Humanities Step by Step.  We work with authors to vet submissions and post the results to the site.  And we’re always accepting new step by step tutorials.

    Learn more about the institute and the “spatial turn” in the humanities here:


    Diana Sinton

    Today I learned about Peggy Minnis’ collection of GIS tutorial videos.  She teaches at Pace University and is preparing to launch a GIS 101 MOOC.   Looking forward to seeing how that develops!


    Diana Sinton

    This manual for Quantum GIS is new to me. Organized as a self-paced tutorial, and comprehensive in its approach.

    h/t @adenas




    Is there a site or somewhere i can get tutorials for GIS?

    Katlego Lebekwe

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