Learning GIS > Workshops

Last Updated on July 14, 2022

Upcoming Workshops

Summer 2022

Introduction to QGIS

Monday, July 18: 10:00am–5:00pm
Tuesday, July 19: 10:00am–5:00pm
E20 Machmer Hall, UMass Amherst

This two-day (12-hour) workshop 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:

  • Installing QGIS software and add plugins
  • The basics of GIS (map layers, data types, file formats)
  • Coordinate systems
  • Finding and creating geospatial data
  • Visualizing data in different ways
  • Performing spatial queries
  • Conducting raster-based spatial analysis
  • 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 (e.g. see Adobe Photoshop or ArcGIS).QGIS works on Windows, Mac, and Linux machines.

Register for this workshop

Past Workshops

Libraries Workshops (Self-Paced / Aysynchronous)

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.

Design 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.

Make 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.

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.

ISSR Summer Methodology Workshops

Summer 2021: Deep Dive into QGIS
This three-day (12-hour) workshop introduced attendees to the basics of Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) using QGIS, a free and open-source software platform.