What is GIS?

A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to its location.


GIS can show many different kinds of data on one map. This enables people to more easily see, analyze, and understand patterns and relationships. 

With GIS technology, people can compare the locations of different things in order to discover how they relate to each other.


For example, using GIS, the same map could include sites that produce pollution, such as gas stations, and sites that are sensitive to pollution, such as wetlands. Such a map would help people determine which wetlands are most at risk.




What do I do if I want to start teaching GIS to my students?

Teaching spatial thinking and enabling students to solve their spatial related problems can be effectively done using Geographic Information System software. Teachers need tools that will teach content and promote independent analysis of curricular material. GIS desktop and online software are such tools. 


This link is a good place to start. 


Attending the Teaching Teachers to Teach Institute is strongly suggested.  Information about this institute can be found here

Can I get started without a login?

Yes, you can get started right now at no charge. All you need is a computer and access to the internet.


Click here to get started. There is plenty of information, maps, apps, and map layers for you to use.


One of the most informative areas is "Instructions Docs." Click on Instructions Docs and go to #4. AGO Skillbuilder. You can use all of Level One: Explorer, using ArcGIS without logging in.


School counselors, especially, can use this document as an assessment tool. This document offers a real environment you can work with. There are self checks along the way.


Anybody can do this! Get started!

When do I need to request an Organization Account for ArcGIS Online?

Using the Skillbuilder document, and once you have mastered Level One and Level Two, you are probably ready to request an Organizational Account.


If you are a school administrator, principal or teacher, you may want to begin by requesting an Organizational Account. Click here to request an Organization Account.


Get started here. Click on Instructions Docs. Go to #4. AGO Skillbuilder. Scroll down to Level Three: GeoAnalyst (page 10). 


Moving into an ArcGIS Online Organization Account will allow you to grow existing skills to a more professional level, while also adding capacity and capabilities to your account.

What is the difference between a 'public account' and 'subscription account'?

The ArcGIS Online public account is a free account available at www.arcgis.com.


In the map viewer interface, a web map can be created using map and feature services that are publicly shared. The web map can be saved to the content area of your personal account. All content is private unless you choose to share it. Once shared, it is publicly available to all users of ArcGIS Online. Content includes maps, applications, and files contained within your personal content area.   


The ArcGIS Online subscription account is available to members of a paid organization account. In the map viewer interface, a web map can be created using map and feature services that are publicly shared. The web map can be saved to the content area of your organization account.


Click here to see a comparison table of the different account types. 

Is the content I upload onto ArcGIS Online made public?

All content is private unless you choose to share it. With an organization account, you may choose to keep your content private, share it with other members of the organization, or share it publicly with all users of ArcGIS Online, public or organization accounts.

What is a public account?

Public accounts are also available for individuals. A public account allows you to create, store, and manage maps, apps, and data and share them with others. You also get access to content shared by Esri and GIS users around the world.


Get started by creating a public account. If you already have an Esri Account, it is automatically a public account. Open a web browser to www.arcgis.com, sign in with your account, and get started using ArcGIS Online.


Click here to learn more. 

Changes to ArcGIS Online?

Click here to read more about recent changes in ArcGIS or for more information on what makes up a "group" within an organization. 

How do I find High-Resolution Images on Google?

To search on Google for images of a specific size, please see below for the instructions:

  1. Go to https://images.google.com/

  2. In the search field, enter what you are searching for and the image size needed (i.e. Lincoln Memorial 2000x1500)




Sometimes, there are search results mixed in that are not the desired/searched for image size. To double-check the image size, follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the image

  2. Your image will open in an enlarged preview pane on the right-hand side of the screen. Hover mouse over the enlarged preview, the image size will then display in the lower-left corner of the enlarged preview.