I'm looking for free / open source GIS education sources for advanced GIS users. Specifically sources that cover programming, spatial analysis, modeling, spatial databases / data management. I use mostly ArcGIS as a federal employee, but sources that go into conceptual concepts are appreciated too.

I'm a big fan of the Penn State Masters in GIS program because they offer many of their full classes under the MIT license. I'm also reading through the lectures from the Dublin Institute of Technology. I'm hoping that there are other high quality resources out there that I haven't come across yet.

While I would prefer actual courses that have some degree of interactiveness (like quizes or tasks associated with lessons), books should be considered if they are high-quality, free resources.

  • Please consider being more specific about the type of "sources" in which you are interested, Roy. Would books count? Software manuals? Listserves?
    – whuber
    May 25, 2012 at 17:08

7 Answers 7


Boston GIS

"BostonGIS is a testbed for GIS and Web Mapping solutions utilizing open source, freely available and/or open gis technologies. We will be using mostly Boston, Massachusetts data to provide mapping and spatial database examples"

PostGIS ver. 2.0 Raster Quick Guide
PostGIS ver. 2.0 Geometry/Geography Quick Guide
PostGIS ver. 2.0 Topology Quick Guide
PostGIS 2.0 pgsql2shp shp2pgsql Command Line PostGIS ver. 1.5 Quick Guide
PostGIS ver. 1.4 Quick Guide
UMN Mapserver MapFile 5.2 Cheat Sheet more PostGIS 1.3.3 pgsql2shp shp2pgsql Command Line PostGIS ver. 1.3.1 Quick Guide

ArcGIS can be connect to Postgres/PostGIS with ArcSDE.

for GIS Data - see External Data on the Boston GIS website.


The course "Geoprocessing with Python using Open Source GIS" is focussed on Python programming for GDAL/OGR.

The book "Python Geospatial Development", while not free in itself covers a lot of ground in the FOSS4G world including PostGIS, Spatialite, Mapnik GDAL/OGR and Shapely.


I heartyly recomend the NCGIA CORE CURRICULUM

It might seem quite a bit dated, but that is its strength. Instead of talking about software, it focuses on the main theoretical conecpts, which I really haven't found anywhere else, in such an accessable language.


The MIT OCW site has a few explicitly GIS courses. Others such as database design could be useful without the tag 'gis'.


go to the website and use ctrl+f to find what you are looking for.


Here is a list of free online GIS courses. It contains courses of different levels, basic to advanced, and there are a few programming options as well.


From a spatial analysis perspective, you can't go wrong with http://www.spatialanalysisonline.com/

It's basically the online version of the "Geospatial Analysis" book written by Mike De Smith and is extremely helpful when it comes to explaining those hard to grasp concepts that are so typical of geospatial analysis!


I came across BASIS from the Yale GIS website. Joseph Berry has written several books, many of which are available online for free. Included on the website are powerpoint presentations from courses he's offered as well as exercises.

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