GIS Help & Tutorials

Need help with a particular operation or task? Check out our guides and tutorials below for information and assistance.

GIS Tutorials

  • Introduction to ArcGIS Desktop 

    Tutorial gives an overview of the industry standard suite of comprehensive GIS applications providing sophisticated analysis and cartographic capabilities for all common data types

  • Introduction to ArcGIS Online 

    Tutorial shows how to use, create, and share maps, data, and stories through ESRI's ArcGIS Online platform.

  • Introduction to Story Maps 

    Story Maps tutorial walks you through the process of creating an informative and structured Story Map application using both web maps and supplementary photos and text.

  • Introduction to QGIS 

    This tutorial introduces QGIS, its layout, and capabilities; and will walk through some common GIS tasks.


The UAL GEO StoryMaps Collection showcases UA student work, includes instruction materials and workshops, and many more StoryMap resources.

  • Digital Storytelling: An Introduction to ArcGIS StoryMaps

    This workshop covers the basics of creating a StoryMap that will allow you to share stories uncovered by your research and make it accessible to a broader audience.

  • Level Up Your StoryMaps

    This workshop is a walk-through on how to create more engaging StoryMaps. It covers creating and embedding custom map elements and implementing creative design principles. Follow along to learn how to use ArcOnline, Map Viewer, Immersive Content, and Theme Builder.


  • Guide to Map Scale

    Need help reading or using map scales? Want to know how to use scale reference in library search? Check out our scale guide for help.

  • Good Cartography

    What makes a good map? Good cartographic design. Check out GIS Geography's 33 item list of thing to consider when designing your map.

  • Color Brewer 2.0

    Need help picking a color scheme for your map? Want to make sure your map is color-blind friendly? Use color brewer to help you make beautiful maps.

Geocoding Services

Geocoding - Transforming a physical address (e.g. address, city, state) to a coordinate location on the earth (latitude, longitude) that can be used on a map.

Help with projections

Map projections can be one of the most confusing parts of GIS and are often the reason for errors in many analytical tasks. Check out these resources to help you wrap your head around projections.

  • Map Projections

    A map projection defines how the spherical shape of the earth is flattened onto a two-dimensional surface. Need to know which projection is best suited for your map? Check Esri's extensive guide to map projections / coordinate systems.

  • Map Projection Wizard

    Confused about map projections? Need held deciding which to use? Check this guide to easily preview and filter map projections by their distortion property (equal-area, conformal, equidistant, compromise).

  • Visualization and Description of Projection Concepts by Mike Bostock

    A useful post from Mike Bostock providing interactive visualizations on how projections change distance and area on your map.

  • Map Projections in ArcGIS

    Gallery of seventy-two map projections currently supported in ArcGIS 10.8.1 and ArcGIS Pro 2.7.

  • Geographic vs Projected Coordinate Systems

    When you are trying to choose a coordinate system for your map, are you sometimes confused by the options?

  • I Hate Coordinate Systems

    This is a problem-based guide of common CRS issues, root causes, and solutions.

Create Custom USGS Topo Maps

A new USGS web application enables the public to create custom topographic maps on demand. The online application is called topoBuilder and the output maps are known as OnDemand Topo.  Visit the application here.