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Open learning resources for post-secondary students

The Esri Canada Lesson Planner is an excellent destination for higher education students and professors to find free and open learning GIS resources. Find out what is available and how these resources will help you with your lesson planning and studies.

Members of our Higher Education group have produced a number of learning resources for professors and their students to complement their lesson planning and studies. These resources consist of tutorials and task-oriented assignments which use open data sources to illustrate meaningful workflows for students to ramp up their understanding of specific tools, languages and development platforms.

Esri Canada resources cover a wide variety of development platforms.

With the winter term in full swing, we want to remind you that these free and open resources are available through our Lesson Planner. Take note that while we strive keep these resources current, the Web sites and development tools used in these resources are from sources current at the time of production and are subject to change. Here is a sample of what you can find:


  • Introduction to ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Android: This two-part tutorial walks you through the installation and setup requirements to start developing mapping applications for Android. Access this resource.
  • The R programming language can help you perform all types of statistical analyses on a data set. Use this set of tutorials for integrating R with ArcGIS (includes two tutorials on learning R basics).
  • Introduction to Python Scripting with ArcPy Package: This package contains six tutorials that introduce different aspects of using Python in ArcGIS for Desktop and the ArcPy site package. Access this resource.
  • The ArcGIS API for JavaScript Learning Framework contains a growing number of lessons to guide users with limited programming experience through the process of creating Web apps using the API. You can link to this resource in two ways:


  • The Advanced Spatial Analysis tutorials are designed to teach students—through a series of tasks and workflows—selected techniques available in the Spatial Statistics toolbox for ArcGIS for Desktop 10.1 and higher.
  • Performing Analysis with ArcGIS Online: The aim of this tutorial is provide an overview of the analysis capabilities available within ArcGIS Online and to reveal how these tools can be used across the ArcGIS platform.
  • LiDAR Foundational Tutorials: through a series of tasks, the software skills needed to work with LiDAR data in ArcGIS. Access this resource.

Data Management:

  • Geodatabase Labs: This lab series consists of tutorials and task-oriented assignments where you will learn data modelling and design concepts, while exploring concepts and functionality of file and enterprise (SDE) geodatabases. Access this resource.
  • The ArcGIS GeoEvent Processor is an ArcGIS for Server extension that allows you to monitor and process spatial data feeds streamed in real-time. Access the introductory resource, or learn to use the Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS to visualize data in real-time by using this resource to build on the introduction.

Please feel free to use and repurpose these packages and contact us, or leave a comment, to give us suggestions on additional resources that would be of use in your courses.

About the Author

Angela Alexander is a K-12 Education Resource Developer on the Esri Canada Education and Research team. She has over six years of experience working with educators across Canada. Angela is responsible for producing geographic information system (GIS) and curriculum specific resources, conducting and creating custom workshops for educators and judging and developing the question for the annual GIS Skills Ontario competition in Waterloo, Ontario. Angela has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Sociology from the University of Western Ontario and completed the Applied Digital Geography and GIS certificate program at Ryerson University.

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