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GIS Foundations

Learn foundations of GIS concepts and geospatial technology to view, understand, query, visualize, and interpret geospatial data to reveal patterns and relationships for effective problem-solving and better decision making.

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GIS Foundations

There is one session available:

9,275 already enrolled!
Starts Jan 30
Ends Jul 31

GIS Foundations

Learn foundations of GIS concepts and geospatial technology to view, understand, query, visualize, and interpret geospatial data to reveal patterns and relationships for effective problem-solving and better decision making.

GIS Foundations
4 weeks
3–5 hours per week
Self-paced
Progress at your own speed
Free
Optional upgrade available

There is one session available:

9,275 already enrolled! After a course session ends, it will be archivedOpens in a new tab.
Starts Jan 30
Ends Jul 31

About this course

Skip About this course

GIS is a framework for gathering, managing, and analyzing data. Using the principles of geographic science, it integrates many types of geospatial data, analyzes their relationships, and organizes them in layers of information for visualization and improved understanding. This free online course focuses on ESRI’s ArcGIS software, the industry standard within GIS software. Jack Dangermond, CEO of ESRI, describes GIS as “uncovering meaning and insights from within data.”

Participants in this course will learn GIS concepts and fundamentals, tools, and processing applicable to problems in a variety of fields, including cartography, remote sensing, data science, public health, health care, information technology, social science, urban planning, government, and business. Your enrollment in this course will prepare you to work with spatial data and conduct spatial data analysis with datasets and geographic data.

This self-paced course is designed for self-study. Coursework covers GIS applications of real-world problems, and prepares learners for more advanced applications such as 3D GIS and GIS Image Analysis, the two other GIS courses in the GIS Essentials Professional Certificate program. This course can be taken individually as an elective or as part of this larger specialization.

GIS, once an esoteric technology limited to geographers and data scientists, is now available to everyone. Thousands of organizations in virtually every field are using GIS to analyze data, make maps that reveal patterns and relationships, share insights, and solve complex problems of local to global significance in the areas of sustainability, land use, watershed mapping, and more. The ability to conduct this kind of geospatial analysis and conduct web mapping is a skill growing in relevance to employers.

Verified track learners will receive one-year ArcGIS Pro Desktop (Windows) license with support only for tools used in the course in addition to unlimited course access and a verified certificate.

Sign up for this online course or full GIS certificate today to expand your skillset in geographic information systems.

At a glance

  • Institution: AlaskaX
  • Subject: Engineering
  • Level: Introductory
  • Prerequisites:

    Windows OS is required to run ArcGIS Pro software.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Use ArcGIS Pro software efficiently
  • Explore, create and analyze geospatial data in ArcGIS Pro software
  • Create and share new GIS data
  • Use ArcGIS geoprocessing tools for data preparation, building workflows and spatial analysis
  • Create informative visualizations in the form of maps, graphs and charts
  • Perform spatial analyses on points, lines, and polygons data to gain deeper insight into data, patterns and relationships

Week 1: Introduction to GIS

  • What is GIS?
  • History of GIS
  • GIS data types (vector and raster)
  • GIS file types and datasets (File Geodatabase, Feature Class, Shapefile, Table, GeoTiff)
  • Coordinate systems (geographic and projected)
  • GIS applications and ArcGIS Pro access

Week 2: Getting started with ArcGIS Pro Software

  • Project set up in ArcGIS Pro
  • Introduction to Geospatial data processing tools
  • Introduction to feature class (point, line, polygon)
  • Working with attribute tables
  • ArcGIS best practices

Week 3: Spatial Analysis using Geoprocessing tools

  • Point analysis
  • Line analysis
  • Polygon analysis

Week 4: Map Layout and Charts

  • Create your first GIS map
  • Add basic map elements to a map layout (title, scale, north arrow, descriptive text)
  • Add advanced map elements (map grid and overview map)
  • Create charts from spatial data
  • Format and analyze GIS charts

Learner testimonials

Skip Learner testimonials

The course covers a good range of ArcGIS features in a manner that is straight forward and easy to follow. I used ArcGIS 10.4 extensively for my undergraduate dissertation and found myself saying "wow" a number of times throughout this course as I discovered new/previously undiscovered features –D. Dearnaley, verified track learner

I loved the hands-on exercises. I have been wanting to get better GIS knowledge and each time I thought it would be too difficult with a full-time job. Having the modules broken down in videos helped me start and work at my own pace until I felt comfortable of applying what I learned to create my own reports. –Verified track learner

I was looking for a good GIS refresher course to update my professional skills and use for continuing education credits. This course met my objectives and was a good value for the verified certificate. –Verified track learner

It is a complete overview of ArcGIS Pro; it goes from the basics of the software interface to map layouts. It is explained with an easy terminology understandable to all kinds of professional backgrounds. –Laura, verified track learner

About the instructors

Frequently Asked Questions

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  • When does this course start and how long can I access the content?

This course is self-paced, so you are able to start it at any time during the course run. Your access to the content will vary with your enrollment type. Learners in the free Audit track will have access to the course for four weeks. All lecture content and videos, most discussion boards, and ungraded knowledge checks are available in this course’s audit track. Access to the ArcGIS Pro software license, access to labs, and graded content as well as lab-specific discussion boards are specific to the paid Verified track.

  • What will I get if I sign up for the verified track?

Verified track learners have the option to receive a free one-year license to ArcGIS Pro Desktop, and will have full unrestricted access to the course content indefinitely, as well as full access to graded content and hands-on labs. Successful learners in this track will receive a verified certificate upon completion of the course. This is a unique, verifiable credential that you can share publicly with an employer, on your resume, or your LinkedIn profile. We encourage learners to spend time in our online courses to see if the content is relevant and useful before considering an upgrade to the full verified track. You can always go back later to the available labs and complete graded work after working through the content in the audit track.

  • Is financial aid available?

Yes. Learners can request financial aid in the form of a discount on the verified track fee through edX depending on need, geography, and other factors. This information is provided in the course.

  • How often does this course run? If I miss the current session, when can I enroll? Can I enroll in multiple sessions?

This course is self-paced and you can start anytime! We typically schedule our GIS courses to run for one year, starting and ending in the summer. This gives our team time to make updates to the course content to ensure it is up-to-date and relevant to best practices in the field of GIS and accurate to the latest version of ArcGIS Pro. We love to see repeat learners and understand that grasping the fundamentals of geographic information systems and spatial analysis can take time.

  • What software is required to take this course?

ArcGIS Pro software is used in this course, which requires a Windows computer. An ArcGIS Pro Desktop license is provided to learners in the verified track. If you are a Mac or Linux user, you may still run ArcGIS Pro Desktop in a virtual or emulated environment such as Bootcamp or Parallels. Learners interested in using open source software such as QGIS are welcome to do so, but the content in this course is specific to ArcGIS Pro and use of QGIS will not be supported by the course team.

  • Does this course require any prerequisites?

Other than a PC to run ArcGIS software, this course assumes no necessary knowledge of GIS systems. We hope that this course can be useful to learners from many different backgrounds and we start from a fundamental overview of GIS concepts before working on more applied work with spatial data.

  • Does this course involve or require knowledge of a programming language such as python?

No. This course will focus on fluency and applied work within the ArcGIS Pro software package.

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