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Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Getting Started

Geographic information systems (GIS) allow us to collect, manage, analyze, and visualize spatial data. 

There are many of options for getting started with GIS!  If you have questions about the best resources for your needs, please reach out to the GIS & Maps Librarian.

Here are some starter tips:

  • To start exploring right away, log into ArcGIS Online with your CNetID and follow the Getting Started with ArcGIS Online tutorial. You'll learn to make interactive maps with thousands of datasets available to use.
  • To start with a desktop software full of computational power, try QGIS. It's free to download and works on PC and Mac. Try LinkedIn Learning's Learning QGIS to get up and running.
  • In some fields, ArcGIS desktop software is common. This is a commercial software that is available on the UChicago's Virtual Lab. A personal copy can be requested through the Research Computing Center. If you use a Mac, use the Virtual Lab because the software only runs on PC. Once you have access to ArcGIS, try LinkedIn Learning's ArcGIS Pro Essential Training.
  • "Please contact us if you have a project that involves creating maps, conducting spatial analysis, collecting survey data, or something related. The Library can help you navigate learning resources that will fit your project."

There are many sources for spatial data. Below are a few popular sources, but contact the GIS & Maps Librarian if you'd like help finding something specific.

Subject Specialist

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Rob Shepard
262 Regenstein Library