Centre for Continuing Education

GIS Course: Introduction

Data analysis and analytics. Uncover insights and transform your organisation.

COVID-19 update: arrangement of our courses

We are now delivering courses online and in-person. Please check the delivery format of each class before enrolling.

Please note that course materials (excluding prescribed texts) are shared electronically within 48 hours of course commencement. Printing is not available.

This GIS introductory course will show you fundamental Geographic Information Systems (GIS) skills. Learning GIS will take place using both “industry standard” software suite ESRI ArcGIS and its free, open source alternative QGIS. You will learn spatial data types, prepare ArcMap documents, import/export spatial data, apply geoprocessing tools and create beautiful maps.

In the digital age, understanding spatial data is critical in making informed business decisions. Generating insights from location data requires special tools – GIS. By combining spatial information, computer technology, and geography, GIS enable analysts, managers, and researchers to create intuitive knowledge capturing the spatial dimension.

By the end of the course, you will have solid mapping and spatial analytics skills. Regardless of your skill level, you will gain a newfound confidence using ArcGIS and QGIS.

Your instructor, Paul Yacobellis, will guide your learning. He brings private, public, and academic GIS experience. He will show you step-by-step how to utilise spatial data and GIS.


This course aims to provide a hands-on introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) using industry standard software, ESRI ArcGIS and QGIS. We want to empower you to confidently work with spatial data and GIS software.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • know what a Geographic Information System (GIS) is
  • operate ArcGIS and QGIS software packages
  • work with spatial data
  • differential between .shp, .gdb, and raster files
  • make beautiful and informative maps
  • geoprocess spatial data using spatial joins, intersections, and overlays
  • develop spatial models (Model Builder)
  • find, download, and use ABS statistical geography.


  • Geographic Information Systems
  • ESRI ArcGIS software suite 10.6 (ArcMap, ArcCatalog, and more)
  • QGIS 3.1
  • Types of spatial data – vector and raster
  • File types - .shp vs geodatabase
  • Projection coordinate systems
  • Geoprocessing and spatial data manipulation techniques
  • Creating maps using principles of cartography

Intended audience

Analysts, business professionals, managers, IT knowledge workers and lifelong learners looking to master spatial data will find Introduction to GIS advantageous.


This course is designed with beginners in mind. While you may have experience in GIS, no prior GIS skills are required.

Delivery style

Face-to-face, presenter-taught training in a computer lab.

Taught over one-day, through a series of concepts, examples, problem exercises, and in-class knowledge challenges. The material is presented so that participants of varying backgrounds, skills and abilities can all move together in a brisk but comfortable learning pace.

Utilising principles of productivity, efficiency, and time management, the course material and timeline is structured to optimise learning.


A link to access and download online course materials is provided.

Recommended reading

Bolstad, P 2016, GIS Fundamentals: A First Text on Geographic Information Systems (5th ed) XanEdu Publishing.

Law, M and Collins, A 2018, Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop ESRI Press.

Van Maareseveen, M, Martinez J, and Flacke, J 2019, GIS in Sustainable Urban Planning and Management: A Global Perspective, Taylor and Francis.

Additional information

This course uses the following software, supplied in CCE’s computer lab:

  • ESRI ArcGIS 10.6
  • QGIS 3.1

Please bring your own USB device to save course materials. Alternately, you are welcome to save the files on a cloud service.


  • $50 repeat class - Conditions apply
  • Expert trainer
  • Small class size
  • CCE Statement of Completion

Apply for the IT repeat discount.

GIS Course: Introduction

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