The Top 10 Resources for New Users
Web sites, publications, courses, books, and events
Are you a new GIS user or just want to know more about it?
Esri has many resources, often available at no charge, that will help you quickly learn about how to use this technology to help you work more effectively.
- Visit "What is GIS?"
These pages provide an introduction to GIS.
- Subscribe to ArcUser, ArcNews, and ArcWatch.
These publications are available at no charge.
- ArcUser: Learn how to use GIS more effectively to solve problems and improve processes; start, manage, and grow a GIS program; and customize and program against Esri software by reading ArcUser. Subscribe to the print edition online or read the digital magazine, PDF, or HTML versions online.
- ArcNews: GIS is a rapidly evolving field. Learn where the industry is headed and the latest developments in Esri's software by reading ArcNews, the world's largest circulation GIS publication. Subscribe to the print edition online or read the digital magazine, PDF, or HTML versions online.
- ArcWatch: is a monthly e-newsletter filled with articles, announcements, tips, and links to resources that keeps you up-to-date with what is going on in GIS.
- Read an introductory book (or two).
Many excellent introductory books, as well as books focused in specific aspects of GIS, are available from the GIS Store. Here are just a couple to get you started. Geographic Information Systems and Science, Second Edition by Paul Longley, Michael Goodchild, David Maguire, and David Rhind describes the scientific principles underlying GIS and its history, design, and application. GIS Tutorial: Workbook for ArcView 9, Second Edition by Wilpen L. Gorr and Kristen S. Kurland presents tutorials in a step-by-step format that helps develop basic GIS skills. It can be used for self-study or in the classroom. For additional titles, visit Esri Press.
Esri Resource Centers provide centralized access to help, data, tips, blogs, and other materials for a particular software product or GIS topic, such as cartography.
ArcGIS Explorer is a free GIS viewer that adds value to any GIS because it helps deliver authoritative data to a broad audience such as the USGS earthquake data displayed here.
- Visit the Esri Resource Centers at the Esri Web site.
Resource centers provide unified access to Web-based Help, online data, and support services for Esri software products as well as special interest areas such as geoprocessing and cartography.
- Read a blog.
Interact online with people who share your interest in a specific area of geospatial technology, a particular software product, or a GIS-related event by joining the Esri blogging community. Esri has more than a dozen blogs.
- Download ArcGIS Explorer.
This free, downloadable GIS viewer lets you easily access ready-to-use ArcGIS Online basemaps and layers; fuse local data with map services to create custom maps; add photos, reports, videos, and other information to your maps; and perform spatial analysis such as visibility, modeling, and proximity search. ArcGIS Explorer adds value to any GIS because it helps deliver authoritative data to a broad audience.
- Take a class.
Training is available in a variety of classroom and online formats. Visit the Esri Training and Education portal to learn more and enroll.
- Esri courses
Esri offers several types of instructor-led courses. Take classes at the Esri Redlands campus or courses designed for specific industry solutions or products taught by Esri Professional Services and offered at your site. Instruction-led online classroom courses are a new offering. Lectures and hands-on exercises are presented interactively over the Internet. The instructor is available via telephone and typed messages.
- The available Web-based offerings include more than 75 courses and seminars covering desktop, server, and mobile application topics. These courses consist of lecture, hands on exercises, review, and examination sections. Many courses have free introductory modules that let you try before you buy. New courses are continually added. Training seminars are recorded lectures that demonstrate specific operations and illustrate concepts.
- Enroll in a GIS program taught near you.
Use the searchable college database to locate community college and university extension programs near you that offer certificate, degree, and internship programs.
- Take a class from an Esri-authorized instructor.
More than 500 instructors certified through the Authorized Training Program teach classes.
- Join a user group.
User groups and based on geographic location or interest in a particular industry or software program. They hold meetings, workshops, and conferences and are a tremendous way to learn about GIS and meet people in the field at the same time.
- Read online help files and work the tutorials.
In addition to supplying step-by-step instructions for using Esri software, online help includes information on related concepts that will give you a better understanding of the technology. Most programs come with tutorials and sample data.
Join the tens of thousands of GIS professionals who attend the Esri International User Conference each year.
- Go to a conference.
Each year Esri hosts the Esri International User Conference, the largest GIS conference in the world, in San Diego, California. At this conference, you can attend hundreds of technical workshops by Esri staff; listen to paper sessions presented by GIS users from all over the world; network with thousands of GIS professionals; attend special interest meetings, and listen to leaders in the industry.
Esri also hosts conferences specifically for GIS practitioners involved in education, homeland security, health, business, survey and engineering, and other fields. Visit www.esri.com/events for more information. In addition, many regional and state GIS organizations hold their own conferences. All these conferences provide new users with great opportunities to network with other professionals, see demonstrations, ask questions, and get hands-on experience with a variety of GIS software.