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Maps & Geospatial: Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Resources to discover GIS data, learn about GIS, and provide references for research.

GIS Specialist

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Tara Anthony
Expected FMLA leave ~June 8-Aug 30th
1A Central Pattee Library

Map Specialist

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Heather Ross
1 Pattee Library
Donald W. Hamer Center for Maps and Geospatial Information
Penn State University Libraries
University Park, PA 16802

Donald W. Hamer Center for Maps and Geospatial Information


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What is GIS?

This guide is intended to provide students, faculty, and staff with resources to discover GIS data, learn about GIS, and provide references for research.

A geographic information system (GIS) integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.

For more information, see:

Accessing GIS Software at Pennsylvania State University

Computers in the library managed by Penn State Information Technology offer a variety of software applications. A list of software is available through the IT Computer Lab Software webpage. A number of software programs also are available via remote access, so that you have access to the tools you need, no matter your location.

All student computers on library computers at all campuses have access to ArcGIS software (100 concurrent users).

Accessing the current desktop version of ArcGIS
ArcGIS software is available on all windows ITS computers.  Some departments provide access to ArcGIS software. AcrGIS Online Basemap and streaming data is accessible via ArcGIS Desktop.

On MAC computers, ArcGIS software is accessible through using the WebApps.

Accessing ArcGIS through WebApps

From other computers (such as your home computer or a computer without the Desktop version), ArcGIS software is available through:

To upload and download files to your pass space (maximum of 10GB) or U drive (maximum storage of 500MB), access:

It is important to consider your data storage options while working with GIS data. A Penn State member may use pass space. To increase your PASS space storage to 10GB,  this is the ITS Secure Server’s Directory Quota utility. Pass and U drives are accessible from any Penn State computer.

For assistance using this guide, or to schedule a consultation with a subject-matter expert on the use of GIS in your research, please visit the Request a Consultation page:

Open Source GIS Software

These open source GIS options are not available on the ITS public workstations. If desired to use, individuals are required to download and install on personal machines.

GIS Users Group

Maps and Geospatial Information Public Computers: Specialized Software Available

In addition to the softwares typically found on library computers, including ArcGIS ArcMap, R, and R studio; additional software is available on the Maps and Geospatial Information unit's public computers. This software includes: ArcGIS Pro, QGIS, GRASS, GeoDa, Saga GIS, Garmin BaseCamp, Garmin Map Install, and Powermap Preview for Excel. 

Esri software and Microsoft OneDrive

Geospatial files stored in Microsoft OneDrive can be accessed via GIS Software. Prior to attempting to access files saved in Microsoft OneDrive, sync OneDrive folder with computer.

In ArcMap, via the Add Data button, click the Connect to Folder option. Under the network options, Choose the Microsoft OneDrive space, Navigate to desired folder and add data.
ArcGIS Pro

In ArcGIS Pro, via the Catalog Pane, under the Folder Connections option, from your computer explorer window, drag the Microsoft OneDrive desired folder into the Catalog Pane.