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GIS Workshops

 General Info

Through the Savvy Researcher Workshops series, the Scholarly Commons offers multiple GIS workshops for researchers who have little to no GIS experience and for those with more advanced experience. For the novice, starting with the GIS for Research series is a great place to start.

Savvy Researcher GIS Workshops Registration

All workshops are taught in Main Library Room 314 unless otherwise noted.

Visit the GIS Library Guide for more information.

 GIS in the Classroom

Need to teach your students how to use GIS, but aren’t sure where to start? Let the Scholarly Commons help!

The Scholarly Commons GIS workshops can also be requested for classes to enhance your curriculum or as training for your research group. We have also worked with a variety of academic units to help create customized GIS projects and lectures to fit specific curricular needs.

See the Savvy Researcher Instruction Request form to learn more.

A popular option is to include ArcGIS Story Maps in lieu of a final paper. Watch this video to learn more.

 GIS for Research Series

Looking to enrich your research with GIS or need to refresh you GIS software skills? Kick start (or restart) your understanding of essential GIS concepts through the GIS for Research workshop series. The series is designed to quickly take researchers from GIS novice to GIS ninja…well, almost.

GIS for Research workshops will use the new ArcGIS Pro starting Fall 2017!


  • What is GIS?
  • Using GIS in Research
  • Understanding Maps
  • Understanding Geospatial Data
  • Acquiring Geospatial Data
  • Coordinate Systems and Map Projections

GIS experience needed: None!

  • Framing Research for GIS
  • Geospatial Data Management
  • Joining Table in GIS
  • Creating Maps

GIS experience needed: Beginner

  • Spatial Analysis and Geoprocessing
  • Extracting and Summarizing Raster Data
  • Spatial Joins
  • Introduction to ArcGIS Online

GIS experience needed: Beginner to Intermediate


Each workshop is two hours and offered twice a semester. With an emphasis on spatial thinking, understanding geospatial data, and best practices for data organization, students will learn how to efficiently start using GIS and avoid common pitfalls.

The workshops cover essential cartographic concepts and common geoprocessing analyses.  All the workshops include hands-on exercises using ArcGIS software. Each workshop builds off the previous workshop, but are designed to also be standalone if participants have some experience with ArcGIS.

Special Topics

In addition to the core GIS for Research workshops, the Scholarly Commons also offers GIS special topic workshops for a variety of experience levels and GIS topics. These workshops are offered periodically, though not every semester.

Fall 2017 Workshops

Could a map enhance how you communicate your research to diverse audiences? Maps are more accessible to the general public through the use of online mapping applications such as ArcGIS Online. This workshop will explore different examples of story maps and get you started creating your own. Prior to attending this workshop, students will need to sign up for an ArcGIS Online Public account.

GIS experience needed: None!

New for Fall 2017!

So you have a lot of addresses you need to map. This seems easy and common enough, but if you have thousands or millions of addresses, this process may not be very straight forward: Which service should you use? Will it be free or cost me money? This workshop will help you understand how geocoding works, how to choose the right service, and uncover the mystery of what is happening behind the scenes.

GIS experience needed: Beginner

New for Fall 2017!

Programming tools are now a standard feature within GIS software packages and allow GIS users to automate, speed up, and become more precise in their data management and analytic work. This workshop is designed for GIS users who have little to no experience with computer programming and will cover core programming concepts related to GIS using the Python programming language. The workshop will focus on guiding attendees through hands-on exercises designed to provide the essential skills to programmatically manipulate data as part of a GIS workflow. This workshop is designed to be preparation for the following workshop on Advanced Python for ArcGIS, but may be taken independently.

GIS experience needed: Beginner to Intermediate; Python experience NOT required

New for Fall 2017!

Building on Introduction to Python for ArcGIS but open to anyone with some programming experience, this workshop will expand on those skills to further use Python in ArcGIS. The workshop will focus on the ArcPy Python site package to expand geoprocessing capabilities with Python scripts. Participants will learn to build multiple standalone geoprocessing scripts covering different GIS tasks and workflows. The workshop will also cover how to create scripting tools in ArcGIS toolboxes for reuse and sharing. Participants will finish with the skills to explore more resources and options for utilizing Python in ArcGIS.

GIS experience needed: Intermediate to Advanced; Beginner Python experience required


Past Workshops

Collecting geospatial data in the field or with surveys is easier than ever before with new web and mobile tools. This workshop will provide an overview of the myriad of different devices and tools available to collecting geospatial data, included GPS devices, mobile devices, Collector for ArcGIS, and Survey123, among others. We will cover how to design a data collection workflow and will conclude with a hands-on geospatial data collection activity in the field (come prepared to be outside, weather permitting). Please bring your own iOS or Android device and install the Collector for ArcGIS and Survey123 for ArcGIS apps prior to the workshop.

GIS experience needed: None to Beginner