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GIS Services

Geographic Information Systems: A guide to learning and using GIS at Temple University

How to obtain ArcGIS software

If you are a student and would like to have a copy of ArcGIS on your laptop or computer, you can request a copy through your instructor; as another benefit of Temple's ESRI GIS software site license, instructors may request a 1 year ArcView license for their students free of charge. ESRI will only honor requests submitted by instructors or faculty of the university; they will not honor requests submitted by students. If you have questions about this, contact Marc Getty.

ESRI Instructional Series

The ESRI Instructional Series offers free, short audio recordings that focus on hot topics such as tips to improve your workflow, tricks for optimizing your geodatabase, and updates on new software features.
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Learning GIS

Before learning to use a GIS application such as ArcGIS, you should consider what your objectives are: if you simply need a map or report for a one-time paper or project, consider using the application SimplyAnalytics, which is easily learned and can be used to create a map which plots a variety of variables on a geographic location, or to create a report. ArcGIS is a complex application requiring a notable investment of time and effort to learn to use well, and consequently, is usually learned profitably by those who will use it consistently as a component of their research or profession.

Although library staff can provide some assistance with GIS projects and some guidance in using the software, due to limitations of time and staff, it is not possible to teach interested students or researchers how to use GIS software. If you are a beginner, there are a number of resources for learning GIS. From the Temple webpage GIS@Temple, Temple students and staff can find a list of courses at Temple related to Geographic Information Science; a list of research projects at Temple which use GIS; a list of Temple faculty and staff who are knowledgeable about GIS; and an overview of GIS computing resources available at Temple.

Because Temple University has an ESRI GIS software site license, current Temple-affiliated faculty, staff and students are entitled to free unlimited online GIS training from ESRI's Virtual Campus. For information about this, including a complete list of available courses, go to the ESRI Training webpage, or click on this PDF file, ESRI Online Training Available; as of February 2007, there are 49 training courses available "covering topics ranging from basic GIS to advanced programming topics". To access a course, send an email with the name of the course in which you are interested to Marc Getty, if you are on Main Campus, or an email to Brent Whiting, if you are at Ambler. Once you are registered you will receive an email directly from ESRI with a login code for each course, and a URL to a webpage where you can login to take the online course.

Another possibility for learning to use GIS software is to work through a print tutorial. This tutorial is recommended, available from Paley Library. It includes a CD of data and exercises:

GIS tutorial 1: Basic workbook / Wilpen L. Gorr and Kristen S. Kurland.  Redlands, Calif. : ESRI Press, c2013.

Other resources:

Are you New To GIS? Ten Tips for Learning More about GIS (from ESRI)

Mapping and Modelling using ESRI Software

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Subject Specialist

Gregory McKinney's picture
Gregory McKinney
Paley Library
Room: 221
1210 W. Polett Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Phone: 215-204-4581
Fax: 215-204-5201