Over the past decade, the State of Maryland has continued to expand available GIS data and spatial resources through the MD iMAP program. More recently, a statewide licensing agreement with GIS software leader Esri has allowed state employees to access traditional ArcGIS Desktop software as well as browser-based ArcGIS Online software. Along with the continued growth of cloud computing technology, these factors put Maryland in a great position to offer effective GIS training to its employees. As GIS professionals, we recognize the strategic value of tapping into the spatial dimension of data, and are excited to collaborate with the state Geographic Information Office, Salisbury University, and Whitney Bailey Cox & Magnani, LLC (WBCM) to develop and deliver GIS training for state employees.
MD iMAP is Maryland’s resource center for mapping and GIS data, and is managed by the state Geographic Information Office. MD iMAP offers access to a multitude of authoritative map services and downloadable data, a highly accurate composite geo-locator for mapping tabular data, detailed 6 inch aerial imagery for the state, and technical support. These publicly available resources can be leveraged with both online and desktop GIS software.
Statewide GIS Training Program
In collaboration with WBCM and Salisbury University, Towson University’s Center for GIS has developed curriculum for three courses and is currently delivering monthly training sessions for state employees and their contractors. The courses are focused on using the data resources available through MD iMAP and Maryland’s Open Data Portal with either ArcGIS Desktop software or ArcGIS Online software. Each course alternates between brief lectures and hands-on learning experiences designed to provide practical skills for thinking spatially about tabular data, creating and sharing maps, and using spatial analysis tools.
ArcGIS Online is browser-based GIS software that allows users to access GIS tools and data from any computer that has internet access. While less robust than ArcGIS Desktop software, it offers users a more focused experience, with access to select tools, and most importantly, the ability to create and share interactive web maps with the public or a select group. Introductory and intermediate level ArcGIS Online courses are currently being offered.
ArcGIS Desktop software is professional grade GIS software consisting of several applications, including ArcMap, ArcCatalog, and ArcToolbox. The ArcGIS Desktop training is a two-day course intended for beginning GIS users as well as those who need a refresher. The course covers use of ArcMap and ArcCatalog, leveraging MD iMAP resources to geocode tabular data, an introduction to ArcToolbox analysis tools, and the fundamentals of spatial data editing.
It’s been interesting to interact with GIS users (and potential users) from across state government to hear about what they’re doing with GIS already, and how they want to expand mapping and analysis of spatial data. Here’s a small sampling of how some of the participants are using GIS, or plan to use GIS:
- Epidemiologists from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene map hospital service areas, food illness outbreaks, and cancer cases by ZIP code,
- Department of Legislative Services employees create sharable interactive maps and map images for inclusion in legislation,
- Employees from State Highway Administration, Maryland Transit Administration, and Maryland Department of Transportation mapping state assets and planning information, and sharing interactive maps with stakeholders,
- Department of Natural Resources (DNR) employees creating public wake zone apps for boaters using the ArcGIS Online Web AppBuilder.
As part of CGIS’s mission, we strive to help our partners do more with their data, and are thrilled for the opportunity to participate in the process that will enable state employees to better use GIS tools, and incorporate the spatial dimension into strategic planning, asset management, and trend analysis in their field.
Maryland GIS Training Program COURSE DETAILS
The state is currently offering three courses on a monthly basis. An online version of the Introduction to ArcGIS Online is set to launch Spring 2016.
Introduction to GIS, MD iMAP and ArcGIS Online
This half day course is intended for those individuals with little or no knowledge of GIS, the MD iMAP Program, or ArcGIS Online.
- Learn fundamental concepts of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
- Map tabular data and perform basic analysis with ArcGIS Online
- Convert tabular data to spatial data
- Use the MD iMAP Composite Geo-Locator
- Search for, create and share content
Intermediate ArcGIS Online and MD iMAP
This full day course is intended for those individuals who have basic knowledge of ArcGIS Online and are already familiar with the MD iMAP Program.
- Discover Maryland data and consume it in ArcGIS Online
- Create and edit spatial data
- Perform analysis and create maps
- Create, modify and publish applications using ArcGIS Online templates
Introduction to ArcGIS Desktop and MD iMAP
This two day course is intended for individuals with little or no knowledge of ArcGIS Desktop and how it can be used with MD iMAP.
- Use ArcCatalog to explore data
- Use ArcMap to symbolize data and create custom maps
- Query datasets based on spatial location and attribute values
- Perform basic spatial analysis tasks and join tables
- Build a geodatabase and create spatial data
- Convert tabular data to spatial data and geocode tables
Learn more about the Maryland GIS Training program.