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CSDE Workshops

Introduction to GIS

Instructor: Matt Dunbar

This workshop will begin by presenting an overview of the basic concepts of Spatial Analysis and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Armed with an understanding of what GIS is, students will complete a hands-on tutorial introducing ESRI’s ArcGIS software. Topics covered during the first week’s lab will include: working with GIS data, simple data queries, and map creation (symbolization, labeling, layout and export). Building on the basic concepts covered during the first week, week 2 will focus entirely on hands-on training in GIS for demographic research. Topics covered in the second week’s lab will include: acquiring GIS and census data, synthesizing multiple data sources, and basic GIS analysis.


The workshop assumes no prior knowledge of GIS.


Part 1

  • Exploring Spatial Data Files
  • Adding Data to ArcMap
  • Map Navigation
  • Identifying and Selecting Features
  • Layer Properties, Symbology, and Labeling
  • Adding and Joining Tables
  • Designing and Exporting a Map

Part 2

  • Downloading Geographic Data from WAGDA
  • Acquiring US Census Data
  • Spatial Analysis in ArcToolbox
  • Frequency of Points w/in Polygon Layer
  • Density Surfaces
  • Buffering
  • Online Base Maps


Part 1 (Presentation, Exercise, and Data in .zip archive)

Part 2 (Exercise in .zip archive)

Additional Resources

ArcGIS 10.X Desktop Help [Web]
ESRI ArcGIS 10.X Tutorials [Web]
Color Brewer ArcGIS Style Ramps w/ Instructions [Web pdf from Iowa State University)

Data Resources