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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.

Accessing Your Wichita State ArcGIS Account

ArcGIS Online

Found at, ArcGIS Online is a powerful cloud-based software that connects people, data, and maps using interactive maps. 

Please make sure you are logging in with Wichita State University. If you have been assigned a WSU ArcGIS account and have a unique username and password that you want to use, you can enter it here. 

Otherwise, please follow these directions for the single sign-on method. On this first page, for the single sign-on process, do not enter anything here in the boxes for username and password.  Instead, please click on "Your ArcGIS Organization's URL" on this login page. 


Then, please type "wichitastate" in the box for "Your ArcGIS Organization's URL."



In the next window, do not enter anything in the Username and Password boxes if they appear, but click the blue "Wichita State University" button below this.


When prompted, you can then enter your WSU credentials with the username in the form of 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. Using the WSU ArcGIS account 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.


Information for Those Already Assigned ArcGIS Usernames and Passwords

If you already have your own WSU ArcGIS account, you can continue to use it with the unique username and password you were assigned. Single-sign on has also now been established for this software, and you can login with your WSU credentials with the instructions above. Please be aware that this may create two different WSU ArcGIS accounts, and you will probably need to decide which login method you will use consistently.  

Where can I use GIS in the Library?

Several computers in front of the reference desk in Ablah Library have ArcGIS Pro. ArcGIS desktop software (ArcMap) is also  available on many 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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