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Building on strong foundations: Do you have what it takes to advance your GIS?

A house without a good foundation cannot support the weight of the structure for long. In the same way, your team must be geared to sustain your GIS infrastructure for the long run. Read this blog post to have a closer look at our ArcGIS foundation courses and make sure your team has all the foundation knowledge and skills needed to move forward.

The Esri Canada fall User Conferences are almost underway across the country. At the UCs, we will show you the latest and greatest in the ArcGIS platform and highlight improved workflows for common GIS practices. Lots of learning opportunities await you at these events. While we are thrilled to show you what we’ve been up to, we also want to remind you how important it is for you and your team to master basic GIS manipulations and concepts before you start working on a new platform component, or adopt a new or previously unexplored geoprocessing tool.

Foundation courses are not only for beginners. In 2018, more than 25% of all our students opted for them. Find out which courses can benefit you.

Among the students in the foundation courses, we had some new GIS users looking to get started on the right foot, but we also had many existing users looking to advance their ArcGIS knowledge. Some have taken a course years ago and wanted to brush up on the latest ArcGIS workflows or review concepts they were unsure about, while others wanted to get up to speed fast after transitioning from other GIS technologies. These courses are designed to develop strong platform skills before jumping into more advanced ArcGIS capabilities that are updated each year.

This fall, with the release of many new ArcGIS Pro courses, we modified our course catalogue categories to help you find what you need faster.

Esri Canada’s instructor-led course catalogue now shows all course categories on the left.

You can now pick from one of the foundation categories below, depending on the desktop technology you are using. Use the links to access the full course descriptions, including the table of contents and upcoming events. View the ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro courses in greater detail:

ArcMap Foundation

ArcGIS Pro Foundation

Both foundation lists cover the basics of GIS (coordinate systems, projections, distortions, etc.), cartography concepts (symbology, labels, layout, queries, scales, etc.), data management principles (creating and editing data, integrating other formats, adding tabular data, etc.), analysis available (proximity, overlay, regression, interpolation, etc.) and sharing options (web map, web app, mobile apps, dashboard, story maps, etc.).

If you are transitioning from one technology to the other, start with our Migrating from ArcMap to ArcGIS Pro course and then you can see if other foundation skills have yet to be mastered within that environment or if you are ready for something new.

In addition to these, we offer specific courses in each category:  ArcGIS Online, Cartography and Map Production, Spatial Analysis and Geoprocessing, Geodatabase Production and Editing, Geodatabase Management, Web GIS and Server Management, Application Development and Industry-Focused.

We recently released additional ArcGIS Pro courses on editing data, creating Python scripts and managing geospatial data. You will find them within their respective categories, but be sure to come back and explore from time to time, as new courses are being added frequently.

Identifying missing foundation pieces

To help assess your team’s readiness, let’s do a short quiz in the spirit of “back to school”.

  1. Data Management: Are you working with the geodatabase?

Geodatabases have been around for years. Not only do they use less storage space on your hard drive and servers, but they also offer data integrity rules, relationship features and quality control capabilities. Geodatabases have become more popular in recent years by providing pick-list or drop-down menus for the ArcGIS field apps suite. If you have not converted your data to geodatabases yet to leverage some or all of its benefits, or you are using only a local version and would like to deploy an enterprise geodatabase for your organization, we have training solutions for you from basic creation and data loading concepts to more advanced settings.

  1. Map Design and Visualization: Are you happy with your map’s look and feel?

Using the appropriate symbology, adding text to the map while keeping balance, using scales, producing map books, and creating clear and informative layouts are often overlooked but are key concepts for creating clear and easy-to-understand maps for sharing with non-GIS colleagues or clients. While our essential workflow courses cover the “essentials,” we also have a map design course for advanced cartography techniques.

  1. Analytics: What type of questions do you mostly answer with your GIS?

What has happened? Where are things? Where does it happen the most? Why did it happen? What should we do? Most organizations are only answering the first 2 or 3 types of questions, when they could benefit most by answering all the questions. ArcGIS offers advanced tools to help you with that. Our spatial analysis courses can demystify how to use these tools, automate them and find those answers. Start with the foundation course on analysis and then depending on your business priorities, pick one from the Spatial Analysis and Geoprocessing category.

  1. Sharing, Collaboration and Mobility: Are you leveraging web maps, apps, dashboards or story maps?

To access data from anywhere and collaborate with others, sharing GIS content on the web is a must these days. You can choose to leverage Esri’s cloud solution, ArcGIS Online, or deploy ArcGIS Enterprise on your infrastructure to quickly create apps. Choose from generic templates or solution templates with our configuration wizard or templated apps, and share instantly. We have multiple training solutions to support you on this Web GIS journey – from administering systems to publishing workflows. Look for Web GIS or ArcGIS Online in the catalogue categories.

So, do you think your team has what it takes to advance your organization’s GIS? It’s not too late to get more training this year. Our course calendar is full of options.

If you would like help with recommendations, ask us at or leave us a comment below.

About the Author

Carole Arseneau is a Sales Representative at Esri Canada. She advises customers from all industries on how to use GIS technology to be more efficient in their daily workflows. Carole holds a GIS certificate from Florida State College in Jacksonville and a Bachelor degree in Kinesiology from Laval University in Québec City. Being by the water has always made her feel at home and has given her inspiration to keep a positive outlook in life.

Profile Photo of Carole Arseneau