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Geographical Information System (GIS): GIS@Northeastern

This guide contains GIS office hours, tutorials, sources and platforms


“The application of GIS is limited only by the imagination of those who use it”.Jack Dangermond, Esri

Social Science Data

GIS mapping examples

Image courtesy of Kathy Herrlich, Research and Instruction Librarian, Northeastern University

Learning GIS at Northeastern

Courses in GIS are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Check with your college to find the GIS courses offered in that college. The following foundational courses are taught in the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences:

Offered in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities is: 

  • PPUA 6215 (Geographic Information Systems for Urban and Regional Policy)

Northeastern University's College of Professional Studies offers two programmes focusing on GIS: a Master of Professional Studies program in geographic information technology, and a Graduate Certificate program in geographic information systems. Both programmes are available both on campus and online, and each offers hands-on training and technical backgrounds within a broad range of GIS capabilities - follow the links or contact Cordula Robinson for more information.

Power of Maps

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with GIS? Can you show me some examples?

See ESRI's What is GIS?.  Read this section for newcomers to GIS at

Do I need to use GIS or will another tool suffice? 

See the checklist below ("Determining The Tools You Need") to help guide you to the right tool.

What is required for learning to use GIS and digital mapping tools? 

Depending on what you need, acquiring the skills could take several hours or several days (or weeks).  To use a fully customizable GIS product, such as ArcGIS, you may need to take a course or attend a 2-day training (or the online equivalent).  However, there are simpler forms of GIS such as digital mapping web sites that are populated with preset data; in these, options for data selection and manipulation may be limited. The more complex forms of digital mapping and GIS allow you to add your own data, turn layers of data on and off, answer queries, and customize the display. Many of the simpler web applications will allow you to export their data in a form that can be used in a more advanced system.

Where can I learn to use GIS software? 

See GIS@Northeastern for a selected list of classes and programs.


SimplyAnalytics (licensed resource) This mapping application enables users to develop interactive thematic maps and reports using thousands of demographic, business, health, crime, and marketing data variables including Mediamark and Simmons Consumer Data. Data from 2000 onwards.

You can export data from SimplyMap into ArcGIS.

ESRI Resources

To assist users in getting the most out of ArcGIS, ESRI offers online training in a variety of topics and techniques. Many of the training seminars are free, and access codes for the priced courses are available through NEU. Additionally, ESRI also has a comprehensive help library of procedures and operations that ArcGIS can perform, and a forum where users can ask each other for further assistance and troubleshooting, or just talk about GIS.

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