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. For more details about the workshops we usually offer every semester, including workshop descriptions and suggested streams for different disciplines, handouts, slides, and example datasets, please visit GIS workshops at SFU Library Research Commons, our Canvas container. 

Custom GIS training sessions are available for classes, research groups, and other groups of brand new or experienced GIS users. Please contact Sarah (Tong) Zhang, Librarian for Geography, GIS, & Maps, at to discuss options.

 Self-paced online courses

Esri training: Free and subscription online courses

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 via LinkedIn Learning

SFU students, faculty, and staff have access to the LinkedIn Learning (formerly, 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 LinkedIn Learning profile in order to access the training library. Once logged in, 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
Esri's MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)

Esri's MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) provides GIS course for free of charge (registration required). Classes are four to six weeks long. Note: you don't need to request access from the library; the resource is free to everyone. 

Library how-to guides [new]

How to map Canadian Census data
Why and how to map Canadian Census data, using a GIS program or SimplyAnalytics Canada.

How to make images useful for mapping: Georeferencing
Learn how to use QGIS to georeference a historical map, and connect your images with their spatial locations on a reference dataset.

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

Open Education Resources (OER) for GIS/Geography

Open educational resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources created with the intention of being freely available to users anywhere.  For learners, it means you can read them for free; for instructors, it means liberty of access, revision and redistribution. 

Open Geography Education 
Community-led project compiling OER geography eTexbooks, OER Lab Manuals, and Geospatial Technology OER eTextbooks. Useful to both instructors and students. 

Open Educational Resources by Penn State University
A wide variety of GIS-related open courses, ranging from introductory level to advanced level. Licensed by Creative Commons license (cc By-NC-SA 4.0), A few sample courses:

  • Open Web Mapping
  • Spatial Data Analytics for Transportation
  • GIS Programming and Software Development 
  • Mapping our Changing World 

GIS books at SFU Library

A sample of GIS books available at the Library: