GIS Training and Education

One of the many advantages of the Kentucky CPE-Esri's higher education statewide license agreement (HESLA) is the availability of Esri's many online training opportunities.

Esri training provides many online training courses to become more knowledgeable about the exciting field of GIS and digital mapping. Entry-level courses pertaining to map projections and grid systems, to database fundamentals are available for free to faculty, staff, and currently enrolled students of Murray State University. Intermediate-level courses are available for augmenting current skills, such as learning Python, or working with annotation. Some Advanced-level courses are available for specialized learning, such as working with watersheds or LiDAR data.

Discovering Esri's Academy

Esri's online training courses occur within their Academy learning environment. Esri offers hundreds of online courses plus paths towards certification for certain applications. Learn more information.

Using Esri's Academy to Your Benefit

Esri training courses are a good way to learn about GIS and spatial data while developing good job skills. Academy courses not only communicate the "buttonology," the points-and-clicks to make the software function, but also demonstrate good methods, techniques, and science behind the software.

Many training courses are free. These free courses are available on the Training front page. Other courses are premium or are fee-based or are covered under our HESLA agreement. The premium courses frequently take longer than 3 hours to complete (some may take as many 12 hours, and a few require 24 hours), require the user to pass quizzes before the next section becomes available, and usually culminate with an exam. Upon successful completion of the course the student is typically rewarded with a Certificate of Completion.

All Academy students manage their courses using the Student Dashboard. From the dashboard users are able to track progress towards course completion, track progress towards certification on software, and maintain records, i.e. a transcript, of all courses taken and grades achieved.

In an academic environment the transcript can be useful. For instance, in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, students may enroll in a special projects or special topics course, register for a few pertinent courses, learn the related the material, then apply those new skills to a research topic developed in cooperation with their faculty sponsor or staff mentor. Providing a copy of the certificate of completion is required as partial fulfillment of the course. Please consult with your faculty mentor, undergraduate adviser, or graduate student coordinator for complete details before pursing this option.

In the professional environment outside of academia, some employers may like see competency in certain GIS areas, such as Python or LiDAR. Providing certificates of completion along with an Academy transcript may help a student get an interview or gain employment.

Registering for an Esri Academy course

Any current Murray State University faculty, staff, or currently enrolled student is eligible to register for an Esri training course. 

If you are faculty and would like your students to become familiar with ArcGIS Desktop or ArcGIS Online for Organizations (AGO), please email the MARC Coordinator of GIS. Please attach a spreadsheet containing student first and last names and their Murray State University email addresses. The coordinator will generate Esri accounts for the students to use and gain access to training materials.

If you are an intrepid student wishing to take learning into your own hands, please send the coordinator an email requesting an Esri account from your Murray State University email. Please include a note as to how you learned about GIS, and how you hope to use your knowledge.

  1. First and last name
  2. Department and College
  3. Designation: Faculty / Staff / *Student
  4. *Major/Minor/Area of Study/ Year in School
  5. Reason for request: (personal interest, professional development, related to research or grant, etc. Please provide some details due to audit requirements.

If you are new to GIS and ArcGIS, the software is not the standard fare for software and the learning curve is not insignificant. To get familiar with GIS and the Esri approach to spatial data it is advisable to register for the following Esri courses first:

  • Getting Started With GIS
  • Getting Started With the Geodatabase
  • Basics of Map Projections
  • Working with Coordinate Systems

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