Navigating Your GIS Training

By Christopher Boland

As a fish and wildlife agency, about ninety percent of FWC’s data have some sort of spatial component. Whether the data represents  bear sighting locations, bass fishing tournament results, land development permit reviews, or species and habitat suitability models, you can almost always ask the question, “Where did that happen?”   ArcGIS software can help us answer this everyday question. ArcGIS is a geographic software platform that not only creates informative maps, but performs spatial analyses that uncover hidden relationships, publishes web mapping applications to inform stakeholders, and much more. With  ’s vast functionality, the software package can easily overwhelm.

Good news, we have a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Team for that! Don’t waste time searching through ArcGIS’s endless menus or fret over the high cost of formal ArcGIS training. The FWRI Center for Spatial Analysis (CSA) has developed the GIS Users’ Forum to get you the assistance that you need to complete your GIS tasks. The GIS Users’ Forum hosts a load of helpful GIS resources including FWC’s GIS Data Inventory, instructions on how to connect to other agencies’ data using ArcGIS Server endpoints, and tools and software that can aid you with your analysis.

I’m sure you’re still asking, “Ok…, but where do I get my training?” The GIS Users’ Forum contains a list of GIS trainings and resources available to you, most of which are free of charge. This list organizes trainings into general training source categories and then general topics, which we hope are easily  .

ESRI , the developer of ArcGIS, maintains a catalog of available resources, including Instructor-Led courses, e-Learning opportunities, teacher resources, books, and training documents. Some of the resources on ESRI’s Training Catalog are free for everyone; however, most of the paid content becomes free with the payment of FWRI’s annual software maintenance cost. To gain access to the larger library of ESRI GIS Trainings, simply email Kathleen O’Keife or Chris Boland and ask for access to the ESRI e-Learning Portal.

Are you looking for a more hands on or FWC specific training? CSA has produced an “Intro to FWC’s GIS Webinar Series,” which currently consists of sixteen hour long installments covering topics that range from introducing basic FWC GIS resources, demonstrating software core functions and analysis, and showcasing field data collection solutions. Are you struggling with how to complete the grant required metadata? Check out installment six, “Avoiding the Metadata Monotony.” How about a writing a grant proposal with a more modernized data collection methodology? Watch installments thirteen “Field Data Collection: ArcGIS Collector vs. Fulcrum” and sixteen “Field Data Collection with Survey 123.”

Still can’t find the answer to your question? You can use the GIS Users’ Forum “GIS Tech Support Request Form” to get in contact with the correct GIS team member. Once you submit a request, an email notification goes to our administrators, who will then assign your request to the correct GIS staff member. Or, you could always just stop in and say hi. CSA has offices in three locations around the state: Saint Petersburg, Tallahassee, and Gainesville. If we’re not near your office, we’re only a phone call or email away.