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GIS (Geographic Information Systems): Intro to ArcGIS

An Introduction to Geographic Information Systems, with ArcGIS Tutorials and Resources


Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provide powerful software tools for the manipulation and analysis of spatial data, making maps into dynamic objects.  While services like Google Earth (requires software download) and Google Maps are bringing GIS capabilities to the masses, having complete control of the software and data helps researchers precisely study their subjects and produce the exact outputs and displays needed.

ArcGIS, one of the leading GIS software packages, is available in most general Rutgers computing labs and ArcMap/ArcView is available through the The Rutgers Virtual Computer Labs.  The university software portal has further information on the ArcGIS site license for individual or departmental installations.  Additional information on GIS is available through the Grant F. Walton Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis (CRSSA) at Rutgers. Please contact Jim Trimble 


This guide was created by Maeve Pinto.

ArcGIS Tutorials

These links will help you get started with ArcGIS.   The Libraries offer workshops and individual consultations. There are courses are available through the Office of Continuing Education of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (for a fee).

Official ArcGIS Training Resources
A regularly updated collection of ArcGIS trainings offered online.  ESRI provides both video and traditional tutorial guides as well as MOOCs and web courses.  The topics range in complexity, from those designed for beginners for the suite of applications, to more advanced subjects like analytics, data management, python scripting, creating web-based geo-applications and StoryMaps.

GIS Dictionary
Translates all the acronyms and terminology used in the ESRI ArcGIS system.  It is a useful tool for learning standard gis terminology.

QGIS Training Resources

QGIS documentation and training are provided and supported by a vibrant user community.  Follow the 'FOR USERS' and 'DOCUMENTATION' links for various guides, manuals, and tutorials.

University of California at San Diego Libguide
Includes many useful tutorials and other resources.

Harvard University's GIS Videos
Recordings of workshops at Harvard's Center for Geographic Analysis. 

iSchool@Syracuse Article
This article offers information about some of the basic concepts of GIS and how librarians can help with your GIS data.

GIS Specialist

Susan Oldenburg's picture
Susan Oldenburg
OARC@CoRE, Busch
NBLibraries@Alexander, College

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