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GIS training

Map of Devastating 2003 Heat Wave in the Netherlands Observed from MODIS Satellite. Mehdi Aminipouri (PhD Candidate in Geography at SFU)

GIS workshops

Ongoing beginner and advanced in-person GIS workshops are offered by SFU Library's Research Commons. GIS workshops are open to students, faculty, and staff.

Custom GIS training sessions are available for classes, research groups, and other groups of brand new or experienced GIS users. Please contact Keshav Mukunda, Research Data Librarian, at  to discuss options. 

Here is a sample of the workshops we usually offer every semester:

Introduction to ArcGIS - introduction to basic GIS concepts using the ArcGIS software environment, including creating simple maps, and finding geospatial data and resources. No previous experience with GIS necessary.

Getting Started With QGIS for Mac Users - QGIS is free open-source software for creating maps and viewing, editing, and managing spatial data. This workshop gives an introduction to the basic features of QGIS for Mac OS X.

Getting Started With QGIS for PC Users - QGIS is free open-source software for creating maps and viewing, editing, and managing spatial data. This workshop gives an introduction to the basic features of QGIS for Windows.

Advanced GIS I: Tips and Tricks for Handling Spatial and Tabular Data - working in ArcMap, learn about attribute tables, importing data from a spreadsheet, joining tables, converting lists into shapefiles, creating simple SQL-queries, using the field calculator, and more.

Advanced GIS II: Vector Analysis in ArcMap - continuing from the Advanced GIS I workshop, learn vector analysis, attribute handling, formulating spatial queries, exporting query results to shapefiles, and more.

Georeferencing with ArcMap: Working with Raster Data in ArcGIS - Georeferencing is the process of connecting images (e.g. aerial photographs, scanned historical maps, satellite images) with their geographic locations in a coordinate system so that the images can be used as spatial layers in GIS software. This workshop will teach you the skills needed to georeference images in ArcGIS so that you can view, make queries, and analyze your image-based data with other geographic data.


Self-paced online courses

Esri Training

SFU has purchased a site license, which gives current students, faculty, and staff access to the Esri Training self-paced courses free of charge. For beginners to advanced users, these courses cover a variety of GIS topics and provide hands-on experience with downloadable ArcGIS software. To take courses free of charge, follow these steps:

  1. Explore the courses available via Esri Training. There are many free courses, but SFU students, faculty, and staff also have access to the self-paced online courses. Instructor-led in-person Esri courses are not covered by our license.
  2. Request access to Esri Training by sending an email to gis-software[at] In your email, please include your SFU ID number.  
  3. Log in to the Esri Training site using the instructions that will be sent to you.
  4. Complete the course at your own pace. Consider adding it to your CV. 

GIS courses in the Online Training Library

SFU students, faculty, and staff have access to the Online Training Library, which includes self-paced video courses on many aspects of GIS (as well as many other software programs!). Some of these courses require to download GIS softwareYou must create a profile in order to access the training library. Once logged in to, look for the following GIS courses by running a keyword search for GIS or QGIS:

  • ArcGIS Essential Training
  • Learning ArcGIS
  • Learning QGIS
  • ArcGIS Pro Essential Training
  • Real-World GIS
  • GIS on the Web

Other recommended GIS training resources

Both the University of Toronto Mississauga Library and the University of Waterloo's Geospatial Centre have excellent suites of quick GIS tutorials:

GIS books at SFU Library

A sample of GIS books available at the Library: