GIS Workshop: A Very Brief Introduction to Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are a powerful, yet easily accessible technology, used for analyzing and mapping information about the world around us.

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 3.06.44 PMIn this workshop participants will be given an introduction to basic geographic and information science concepts followed by a demonstration of ArcGIS, a popular desktop GIS application available to the Lafayette community at Skillman Library.

A second, optional workshop (Part 2), will be available the following week and will offer hands-on training using WorldMap, a simple, intuitive and free on-line GIS application. You may take the first workshop as a complete, albeit brief, introduction to GIS or you may sign up for the series of two.

Part I: Introduction Weds. Sept. 23
Part II: Workshop (optional) Weds. Sept. 30

Both workshops will take place in Skillman 003 from 12:15pm to 1:00pm. 18 seats available. Lunch provided.

Please RSVP John Clark and indicate if you would like to take one or both workshops and which dates you would like to attend.


GIS Workshop: Beware of Maps – a beginner’s guide to reading and making maps

SkillmanWebsite_BewareOfMapsReading a map is trickier than you might expect. While maps casually present themselves as a visualization of reality, the truth is, they aren’t. All maps are imperfect models of natural and cultural features on the surface of the Earth. Reading a map involves understanding how a map maker has chosen to represent these features and, perhaps more importantly, what s(he) has left out. Join Data Visualization & GIS Librarian John Clark for a guided tour through a variety of different historical and contemporary maps as he explains some common principals used by cartographers. Participants will then have an opportunity to make a map themselves using Social Explorer, an on-line mapping tool available to the Lafayette community through Skillman Library.

There are two sessions available:

Wednesday September 16th             Skillman 003


Friday September 18th Skillman 004

Lunch provided.18 seats available for each session. Please RSVP and indicate if you would like to attend the Wednesday or Friday event to John Clark at

New GIS Workshops: Mapping on the Web

Digital Scholarship Services has added two new sessions to its popular lunchtime GIS workshop series. Data Visualization & GIS Librarian John Clark will be showcasing user friendly, web-based GIS tools appropriate for any skill level.

Register for one or both of these great new sessions today.

Exploring Google Maps

Friday, October 24th – 12:10 to 1:00pm  Skillman 003


There is a lot more to Google Maps than meets the eye. Get a glimpse of what goes on “under the hood” of this online mapping resource and how you can use it to make your own customized maps. Participants will learn how to contribute their own content to a Google Map as well as many other tips and tricks for creating useful and well designed maps with nothing more than a web browser. Windows laptops will be provided for all participants, but feel free to bring your own.

Lunch provided. Please RSVP by Friday October 17th to John Clark, Data Visualization & GIS Librarian (

Link to calendar:

Exploring GIS on the web

Friday, October 31st – 12:10 to 1:00pm   Skillman 003


The web is rich in online GIS projects which allow us to explore research results in maps while controlling certain parameters in our browsers. For instance many projects are designed to tell a story with maps while allowing users to manipulate the time frame or the types of data mapped. In addition there are a number of GIS sites, called data portals, which allow users to search a map interface for geospatial data which they can use for creating their own online maps without resorting to cumbersome GIS software. Participants will be introduced to one such portal, Social Explorer®, a socio-economic database available to the Lafayette community through a subscription at Skillman Library. Following a map making exercise using this site we will explore other scholarly web GIS projects, focused largely on historical research. No GIS experience or knowledge is necessary to enjoy this casual exploration of online mapping. Windows laptops will be provided for all participants, but feel free to bring your own.

Lunch provided. Please RSVP by Friday October 24th  to John Clark, Data Visualization & GIS Librarian –

Link to calendar: