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Posted on February 4th, 2014

Free For All! – ArcGIS Courses

Are you looking to get started in a new career? If so, have you considered digital mapping and specifically a career based on ArcGIS? Or maybe you just want to improve your ArcGIS skills? For those answering yes to any of these questions, this Free For All is for you!

Now admittedly, the first step to learning ArcGIS, is well, owning a copy of the program. A full-blown commercial license is likely more than many of you want to spend, so thankfully our friends at Esri have a home-based version of ArcGIS that can be purchased for only $100 per year – that is a significant savings off the list price. You can find out more about the home license to ArcInfo 10.2 here.

As a quick side note to this discussion, while there are a number of free GIS programs out there, for instance QGIS, in the workplace, Esri’s ArcGIS is the dominant mapping software you need to know. So if you want to maximize your chances at a new job, best to focus on the tool used by the vast majority of GIS professionals.

Okay now, once you have made the investment in your future, here are some free classes that will get you up and running with ArcGIS:

ArcMap 10.0 in action, here we see the attribute table of a parcel shapefile layer.
  1. Esri offers a wide variety of introductory classes. This course will get you started with ArcGIS; and this one focuses on using one part of the software, ArcMap. Once you have mastered these courses, here are a wide array of topic-specific tutorials.
  2. Harvard University offers a nice class to get you familiar with some of the more basic functions of ArcMap. They also provide free data to accompany the online tutorial.
  3. The University of Yale GIS department has put together this extensive list of online GIS courses each with accompanying data as well. I suggest starting with the topics covered under the heading, “Introduction to Geographic Information Systems and ArcGIS for Spatial Analysis,” and then progressing with courses down the list from there.
  4. Similarly, Tufts University has a nice list of basic to advanced GIS courses, each with accompanying datasets.
  5. Finally, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has an extensive offering of topic-specific FAQs and tutorials. Most of these courses are for advanced beginners.

Until my next edition of Free For All, happy hunting for free geospatial goodies!

Brock Adam McCarty
Map Wizard
(720) 470-7988

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