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Workshops

Upcoming Workshops

ISSR Summer Methodology Workshop: Intro to GIS

July 15–17, 10:00am to 4:00pm
Integrative Learning Center N111

Note: There is limited funding available on a first come first serve basis to pay half the registration fee for UMass Amherst graduate and undergraduate students who wish to attend this workshop. See the registration page for more information.

This three-day (15-hour) in-person workshop (with lunch break) will introduce you to the basics of Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) using QGIS, a free and open-source software platform. GIS is a spatial analysis tool with wide-ranging applications, including navigation, unmanned aerial vehicle surveys, satellite remote sensing, data visualization, and location analytics. The content of this workshop is geared towards beginners with little to no experience with GIS, but people with an intermediate skill level are welcome to attend for a refresher on the core concepts or to learn how to use QGIS. Topics covered include:

  • Geospatial data types and formats
  • Coordinate reference systems
  • Best practices for managing geospatial data
  • Installing QGIS software and adding plugins
  • Visualizing data in different ways
  • Finding and creating geospatial data
  • Conducting spatial analysis
  • Georeferencing historical maps
  • Crafting an aesthetically pleasing map

The workshop will be heavily participatory, with dedicated time for practicing using the software. Attendees should have a computer that meets the minimum hardware specifications for similar visualization software programs (see Adobe Photoshop or ArcGIS for examples). QGIS works on Windows, Mac, and Linux machines.

Register here

Past Workshops

UMass Amherst Libraries Workshops (Videos)

Recorded workshops previously taught by the Library GIS TA.


ArcGIS Online

ArcGIS Online: The Basics – by Deni Ranguelova. Reviews how to sign in, navigate through the site, launch a web map and view content, and access StoryMaps and Survey123.

ArcGIS Online: Making a Map with Hosted Data – by Deni Ranguelova. Shows how to create a map, add data from ArcGIS Online, and style it to create a unique map that you can share or export.

ArcGIS Online: Working with Your Own Spatial Data – by Deni Ranguelova. Demos how to import data into ArcGIS Online, including latitude/longitude coordinates stored in a CSV, shapefiles, and rasters.


ArcGIS Pro

Automating Workflows in ArcGIS Pro – by John Slaff. Introduces ModelBuilder in ArcGIS Pro, provides examples of when and why GIS automation is useful, and demonstrates step-by-step how to create models capable of simple or complex processing.


Google Earth Pro

Introduction to Google Earth Pro – by John Slaff. Reviews navigation and orientation, layer, 3D imagery, historic imagery, virtual field trips, and downloading imagery.

Advanced Google Earth Pro Functions – by John Slaff. Reviews integrating raster and vector GIS data from varied sources into Google Earth Pro, downloading high-resolution maps, creating topographic cross sections, measuring and dimensional analysis, and sun/shade analysis.

UMass Amherst Libraries Workshops (Self-Paced / Asynchronous)

This is a list of workshops that are regularly taught in the Libraries and are available anytime for self-paced, asynchronous learning.

Learn the Basics of QGIS – learn the basics of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), including coordinate systems, types of geospatial data, and where to look for data online. The tutorial focuses on the local city of Holyoke to find out how its demographics have changed over time.

Create a StoryMap – get started with storymapping with Esri’s ArcGIS StoryMaps. The workshop focuses on how to create an engaging StoryMap outline, log into the ArcGIS Online platform, create a new StoryMap project, add content, and publish and share your StoryMap.

Georeference a Historical Map – learn how to georeference historical maps and photos using the free and open-source mapping software, QGIS. The workshop is geared toward folks with a basic understanding of GIS concepts. If you have no prior experience, you may want to complete the Learn the Basics of QGIS tutorial first.

Make Maps with U.S. Census Data – learn how to access Census data directly from the U.S. Census Bureau’s website. In the first half of the workshop, you’ll learn about the different types of Census data and how to explore the data spatially from your web browser using interactive web maps. In the second half, you’ll learn how to download data tables and geospatial files to your computer so you can make maps with the free and open-source mapping software, QGIS. A tutorial gives you a chance to practice working with Census data on your own.

Design a Static Map – learn how to create a visually appealing map that you can print out or export using the free and open-source mapping software, QGIS. After discussing best practices in cartography and analyzing a selection of curated maps, the workshop shows how to use the QGIS Print Layout to design a map that is accessible, reproducible, and easy to read. The tutorial uses sample data from Erving State Forest to design a custom trail map. 

Design an Open-Source Web Map – learn how to create a free, interactive web map using the open-source mapping software, QGIS, and the QGIS2Web plugin. After designing a map and generating the web map files, the workshop shows how to deposit the files in a GitHub repo and publish the web map to a live URL that you can share. A sample dataset showing sunset times across the U.S. can be used with the exercise tutorial.

UMass Amherst Libraries Workshops (Videos)

Recorded workshops previously taught by the Library GIS TA.


ArcGIS Online

ArcGIS Online: The Basics – by Deni Ranguelova. Reviews how to sign in, navigate through the site, launch a web map and view content, and access StoryMaps and Survey123.

ArcGIS Online: Making a Map with Hosted Data – by Deni Ranguelova. Shows how to create a map, add data from ArcGIS Online, and style it to create a unique map that you can share or export.

ArcGIS Online: Working with Your Own Spatial Data – by Deni Ranguelova. Demos how to import data into ArcGIS Online, including latitude/longitude coordinates stored in a CSV, shapefiles, and rasters.


ArcGIS Pro

Automating Workflows in ArcGIS Pro – by John Slaff. Introduces ModelBuilder in ArcGIS Pro, provides examples of when and why GIS automation is useful, and demonstrates step-by-step how to create models capable of simple or complex processing.


Google Earth Pro

Introduction to Google Earth Pro – by John Slaff. Reviews navigation and orientation, layer, 3D imagery, historic imagery, virtual field trips, and downloading imagery.

Advanced Google Earth Pro Functions – by John Slaff. Reviews integrating raster and vector GIS data from varied sources into Google Earth Pro, downloading high-resolution maps, creating topographic cross sections, measuring and dimensional analysis, and sun/shade analysis.

SunoikisisDC: GIS for Digital Cultural Heritage

SunoikisisDC is an international consortium of Digital Classics programs that hosts virtual seminars on topics related to cultural heritage and classics. GIS is often discussed at least once per term. The course materials for past seminars are open-access and available on GitHub, and the seminar recordings are free to watch on YouTube. Check out some of our favorites:

Spring 2022: Session 8. GIS
The basics of GIS and geospatial data types, with a brief demo of how to use the open-source mapping software, QGIS. The exercise provides links to several example datasets that would be great for students interested in cultural heritage to learn how to create geospatial visualizations. 

Spring 2021: Session 6. Geographic Information Systems
Introduction to the basics of GIS and in-depth discussion of visibility and cost surface analyses. The exercise (data provided) shows how to run viewshed analysis in QGIS. The final part of the seminar discusses a case study of applying cost surface analysis to understand the logic of the Roman road system.

Fall 2019: Session 8. GIS and Geovisualization
Overview of GIS, especially as it relates to cultural heritage. The exercise (data provided) shows how to run least-cost analysis in QGIS, applying the tool to reconstruct the route of a historical traveler in Greece.

Last Updated on March 27, 2024