In this course, you will explore the concepts, principles, and practices of acquiring, storing, analyzing, displaying, and using geospatial data. Additionally, you will investigate the science behind geographic information systems and the techniques and methods GIS scientists and professionals use to answer questions with a spatial component. In the lab section, you will become proficient with the ArcGIS Pro software package.

This course will prepare you to take more advanced geospatial science courses.

You will be asked to work through a series of modules that present information relating to a specific topic. You will also complete a series of lab exercises, assignments, and less guided challenges. Please see the sequencing document for our suggestions as to the order in which to work through the material. To aid in working through the lecture modules, we have provided PDF versions of the lectures with the slide notes included. This course makes use of the ArcGIS Pro software package from the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), and directions for installing the software have also been provided. If you are not a West Virginia University student, you can still complete the labs, but you will need to obtain access to the software on your own.

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact us. We hope to continue to update and improve this course.

If you would like an introductory text on GIS and GIScience, we would suggest GIS Fundamentals: A First Text on Geographic Information Systems by Bolstad or Introduction to Geographic Information Systems by Chang. Both are great texts.

After completing this course you will be able to:

This course was produced by West Virginia View ( with support from AmericaView ( This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Geological Survey under Grant/Cooperative Agreement No. G18AP00077. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the U.S. Geological Survey. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Geological Survey.