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Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

What is GIS?

The short answer: Geographic Information System (GIS) is making interesting and informative maps with data. The longer answer: GIS is a collection of computer hardware, software, and geographic data used to capture, manage, analyze, and display all forms of geographically referenced information. Learn more about GIS from ESRI.

map of the world

Who Uses GIS?

While GIS technology is an obvious tool for geographers, a growing number of people from other disciplines are finding ways to incorporate GIS into their work.  Faculty in the following subjects have incorporated GIS projects over the years: Liberal Studies (Geography), Sociology, Political Science, History, Kinesiology, Biology, Anthropology, Marketing, Visual & Performing Arts, Physics and Economics.

Learn Esri

All students, staff, and faculty have access to web based training in the Esri Academy and Learn ArcGIS websites.

Computer Software Access

ESRI has minimum requirements for the desktop version and Pro version. If your computer does not meet the minimum requirements, you can access the software on campus or online through CougarApps. Current faculty, staff, and students can install the desktop version on their personal computers. If you don't have a computer, you can check one out from IITS by completing the technology equipment request form.

ArcGIS Access

All current faculty, staff, and students can access the CSUSM ArcGIS Lab organization website to create maps. Follow this guide to login with your CSUSM credentials.

ArcGIS Survey 123

ArcGIS Survey123 is a simple and intuitive form-centric data gathering solution. Create, share and analyze surveys in just three easy steps. Use it to create smart forms with skip logic, defaults, and support for multiple languages. Collect data via web or mobile devices, even when disconnected from the Internet. Analyze results quickly, and upload data securely for further analysis. Explore the resources to get started today!

GIS in the CSU

CSUSM partners with other CSU campuses to receive GIS software and support through the California State University GIS Specialty Center. Member CSU campuses participate in a software site license with Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) for GIS software. Benefits include access to training and complimentary registrations for the ESRI User and Education User Conferences. Perhaps most importantly, the GIS Specialty Center promotes intercampus dialogue on teaching, research and application issues within the field of Geographic Information Science.