A Geographic Information System (GIS) "integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information. (ESRI)" What is GIS used for? There are many applications, spanning a wide variety of disciplines. Some examples include:
NU-affiliated faculty, staff and students can install ArcGIS Desktop on their personal computers and access desktop, mobile, server and web-based mapping applications. Use the Access GIS tab of this guide for more information.
If you are in need of assistance with a GIS project, please fill out the GIS Support Request Form. We look forward to working with you!
See the box below for information about ESRI Virtual Campus: Self-Paced and Instructor-Led Training
This is worth checking immediately when you sit down to do work at a computer that is not your own. Failure to do so may result in ArcMap being unable to locate your data the next time you open your map document
One-Time Fix: File>Map Document Properties>‘Store relative pathnames to data sources’
One-Login Fix: Customize>ArcMap Options>General tab>‘Make relative paths the default for new map documents’
If you accidentally forget to do this, you will likely see errors when you take your .mxd file to another computer. Upon loading your map at a new workstation you will see a series of red exclamation points appear next to your data in the Table of Contents.
Fix: Right-click > data layer>Data>Repair Data Source
When running tools from the toolbox it is often useful to see a dialogue of what is happening in the program. This will help you, in particular, if something goes wrong.
One-Time Fix: Geoprocessing>Geoprocessing Options>Disable ‘Background Processing’
The University has purchased licenses for most ArcGIS extensions (3D Analyst, ArcScan, Geostatistical Analyst, Maplex, Network Analyst, Spatial Analyst), however the extensions may not be turned on.
One-Time Fix: Customize>Extensions…>*check* the extension you need.
While using ArcCatalog to investigate a dataset, it may appear that not all metadata is present. This is likely because you are only seeing the ‘Item Description’, instead of the common XML specification for describing, validating, and exchanging geographic metadata which you are potentially accustomed.
One-Time Fix: Customize>ArcCatalog Options>Metadata tab>Metadata style: ISO 19139 Metadata Implementation Specification
Upon starting ArcMap on a NU machine, it is common for only the ‘Standard’ and ‘Tools’ toolbar to appear. You may want to enable other toolbars (there are many).
One-Time Fix: Customize>Toolbars>Select toolbar you need
Examples of common toolbars you might want to enable include: Draw and Layout.
One common problem is that a dockable window (such as Table of Contents or ArcToolbox) may not be in the desired location, for example docked to the top when you would like it docked to the left. To move a docked window to a new location, drag its title bar. When you do this, blue targets appear representing the different locations where the window can be docked. Drop the window onto the target of your choice. Pause over a target to get a preview of where the window will be located if you drop it on that target. If you want the window to float over the display instead of being docked, don't drop it onto one of the blue targets.
Another common problem is when two dockable windows become tabbed over one another. To de-tab the windows, double click on one of the tabs.
The key to moving these dockable windows to the location you desire is to use the blue arrows that appear once the window is clicked. By moving your mouse to these arrows, they will appears highlighted, showing you the location of the window once you release the mouse.
Creating maps and other visualizations are an excellent way to illustrate complex ideas and concepts. This type of analysis provides new perspectives and innovation to any project. These types of skills are especially in demand in today’s workplace and make a valuable addition to any resume.
If you are affiliated as a current student, staff or faculty at Northwestern University, you may request an ArcGIS Online account which will provide you with the ability to access Geocoding services through Esri.
Contact us at email@example.com
A variety of courses, covering several disciplines as well as general GIS techniques, are available throughout each year. Course availability and instructors vary by quarter.
GEOG 343 Geographic Information Systems Michael William Ribant
Past GIS Course Offerings