Any recommendations of good GIS (Geographic Information Systems) books for beginners?

I am interested in learning about GIS and its applications. I am planning to take an introductory GIS course at my university and was wondering if there were any recommended books that I can get to get ahead.



  1. 0 Votes

    Oh lord, I took a course in GIS last semester. It was required for my major. The textbook that we used was “Introduction to GIS” by Kang-Tsung Chang. It comes with a disc of GIS data, and it’s designed to be used with ESRI ArcGIS software, which is the most commonly-used software in the field. It was pretty useful, and very step-by-step. I recommend checking it out.

    Honestly, though, GIS is best learned through repetitive practice with the software. Unfortunately, ArcGIS software is expensive–a one-year student license was something like $1200. So you might be best off just skimming through the book and waiting until you take the course.

  2. 0 Votes

    I also used the Chang book in my first GIS course, and I didn’t find it particularly helpful for actually using ArcGIS. The best way I learned to use the software was through tutorials that show you how to use different techniques, like buffering and clipping, creating a personal geodatabase and doing land classification. You can probably find some free tutorials online. Run through the tutorials and then try to apply the same skill set to another problem. I found that Chang’s book provided great GIS theory information, but it took a great deal of practice and just interacting with the software to learn the skills.

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