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GIS - Geographic Information Systems

A topic guide with resources providing information, instruction and inspiration for GIS users

What is GIS?

population density map

2021 Population Density in the US by County, where darker blue colors represent higher population density. This map was created by Ethan Lindsay with ArcGIS Online. Data source: Esri

A Geographic Information System, or GIS, is a system that creates, manages, analyzes, and maps many types of data (see Using maps and 3-D models, it enables one to visualize geospatial data and to study various patterns of information about particular places. It is now being used in many academic fields and almost every industry.

Getting Started With ArcGIS

Obtaining an ArcGIS Account at WSU

In order to work with ArcGIS on the WSU campus, please email Shadi Tafaroji at Shadi Tafaroji will provide your own WSU ArcGIS account, which is important to access all of the ArcGIS resources available here, including training resources and ways of sharing your work with the WSU campus community. 

ArcGIS Online

Found at, ArcGIS Online is a powerful cloud-based software that connects people, data, and maps using interactive maps. It is a good place to start if one wants to use the ArcGIS products created by ESRI. After obtaining an ArcGIS account (see above), it is good to login to the organization "Wichitastate." This ensures that you can access the available resources for using ArcGIS. ArcGIS Online of course is available anywhere you are, even off campus, but it is still good to login with your WSU ArcGIS account. 

ArcGIS Online Resources

ESRI provides many helpful online resources for using ArcGIS Online:


Where can I use GIS in the Library?

ArcGIS desktop software (ArcMap) is available on Windows computers (PCs) in Ablah Library. It can be used on most PCs during regular library hours. It is also available on PCs in the 24-Hour Study Room. 

Getting Access to GIS on Your Personal Computer

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