GIS

GIS in the Library

The Brandaleone Family Center for Data and GIS Services is on the second floor of Perkins Library, room 226. Installed mapping software includes:

Library Workshops and Academic Courses

Getting Help

GIS, visualization, and data consultants in the Data & GIS Department can advise you on the best approaches for visualizing and analyzing your spatial data, and on locating geospatial data.

What Is GIS?

Geographic Information System (GIS) software allows you to build maps or analyze data that has a spatial (locational) component.  When data layers are spatially enabled, the software can overlay them to build a map or to analyze spatial relationships.  The user can choose how to symbolize features in the layers.

Some data layers will consist of a set of features (e.g., streets, political divisions, address locations).  Other layers will consist of gridded data such as remote sensing imagery (e.g., satellite data) or scanned images of paper maps.  GIS software can also work with data files in some spreadsheet and database formats if they include locational elements such as addresses, geographic coordinates, or place names.

Choosing Software: Visualization or Analysis

You may primarily be interested in visualizing data as an effective way to communicate underlying relationships and patterns, or you may just be interested in using GIS software to analyze spatial relationships.  Often, you need a little of both.  Your visualization and analysis needs will help determine the most appropriate software to use.

Choosing Software: Client or Cloud

Traditionally, you need client software such as ArcGIS or Quantum GIS (QGIS) for complex data analysis tasks or customized visual output.  While that’s still true to some extent, some of the web products now incorporate more analysis and visual customization options.