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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Fundamentals of GIS by University of California, Davis

5,195 ratings

About the Course

Explore the world of spatial analysis and cartography with geographic information systems (GIS). In this class you will learn the basics of the industry’s leading software tool, ArcGIS, during four week-long modules: Week 1: Learn how GIS grew from paper maps to the globally integrated electronic software packages of today. You will install ArcGIS on your computer and learn how to use online help to answer technical questions. Week 2: Open up ArcGIS and explore data using ArcMap. Learn the foundational concepts of GIS, how to analyze data, and make your first map. Week 3: Make your own maps! Symbolize data and create an eye-catching final product. Week 4: Share your data and maps and learn to store and organize your data. Take Fundamentals of GIS as a standalone course or as part of the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialization. By completing the first class in the Specialization you will gain the skills needed to succeed in the full program. Students who need an ArcGIS license will receive a non-commercial, 1 year student license for participation in this course and specialization....

Top reviews


May 16, 2021

GREAT COURSE TO JUMPSTART FOR ANY NEW LEARNERS IN THE FIELD OF GIS. It is extremely helpful to learn the basics & the projects help any new learners to understand what kind of work is done in ArcGIS.


Dec 27, 2018

the content is awesome. i would recommend it to those who need to have some basic knowledge of GIS. it's very easy to learn the ArcGIS because of the instructions and demos given by the instructor.

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1 - 25 of 1,596 Reviews for Fundamentals of GIS

By Kevin F

Dec 22, 2018

Well developed course, everything leads you up to a final assignment that helps test what you've learned and gives you a great general idea of some of the cool things you can do with ArcGIS.

By Jan S

Feb 21, 2019

I learned a lot from this course. The emphasis is on learning how to use the software so you can start working quickly. I highly recommend doing all the optional assignments in the textbook.

By Brandi Q

Dec 28, 2018

the content is awesome. i would recommend it to those who need to have some basic knowledge of GIS. it's very easy to learn the ArcGIS because of the instructions and demos given by the instructor.

By Mezbah U B

Aug 2, 2016

It is a great course for both the beginner and the professionals in GIS . Very friendly and easy language for the people who don't understand English much ...Satisfied in doing this course.


Jul 13, 2019

Great Course to brush up your skills on ArcGIS. Its a beginner course so even if you are not familiar with the software you can easily cope up. Explanation by Dr. Nicholas Santos was crisp and to the point. He made the course seems like a cake walk. Thank You to the coursera team for the noble initiative of opening barriers to education from top notch institutions to people across the world.


By Denice V S

Jul 8, 2022

There is no way to get help in this course. I loved it but the software would not download and I could not complete the class without it. I emailed the course and Coursera but never received a reply.

By Young S S

Feb 25, 2019

This is my first exposure to ArcGIS. Mr. Nick Santo explained various concepts and skills very nicely, which was incredibly helpful when I was doing my final project. Since there were so many precedures that I needed to follow in order to conduct specific tasks, I sometimes had to go back to his videos and re-watched them to have better guidance, but that helped me finish the project on time. By getting involved in the project, I felt that I learned a lot. Before doing the project, it appeared that the information and procedures were all scattered here and there on my part, but with the project, I could finally put those together and synthesize them. It was a great learning experience for me. Thank you so much for offering this valuable course!!!

By Emily Y

Mar 5, 2019

Very helpful course for an absolute GIS beginner. It provides some of the most important concept and information for me to get some sense of the operating of the system and getting used to the software. The assignments and final project definitely helped me gain some hands-on experiences of how GIS workd practically. Highly recommend for anyone who would like to learn GIS!

By Carol S

Mar 8, 2022

This review is for 4 of the 5 courses for the specialization, not for the final course. It is promoted as for beginners, but the projects that are required are incredibly complicated and far too advanced for beginners. Unless someone already has a strong grasp on Python, analytics and workflows, it's very easy to get overwhelmed. When the majority of the students who post are saying that they are completely lost when trying to even figure out how to start a project, there's a problem. And not being able to ask for explicit help just leads to frustration. The instructor is thorough but often goes through examples far too quickly and without enough explanation to make concepts clear. There aren't enough hands-on projects which could make confusing or complicated processes easier to understand. The content is over 6 years old and there are many website links that no longer work, or the data is outdated or inaccessible. If a student has a problem with the ArcMap software, as many posted about on the discussion forums, there is nobody to seek for help. Contacting UC Davis led nowhere because they don't administer the software. Contacting Coursera didn't help because they didn't issue or manage the software. The instructor is no longer associated with Coursera so he can't help. Reached out to ESRI and they tried to help but didn't have answers. If the software necessary for the class doesn't work or isn't accessible, there's little point in taking the class. Overall, this has the fundamentals for making a great beginner course, but it tries to cram too much information into a too small time frame and required projects for completion that are far above a beginner level. Unfortunately, these same concepts are expressed throughout all of the GIS offerings on Coursera so taking an alternate course likely would have the same results.

By Meghan S

Mar 28, 2018

Nick Santos presented the information in a clear and methodical way. I do not have a geography/science/analytical background, so I was pleased to see that I could follow along. Whenever I felt a little overwhelmed by the complexity of ArcGIS or the vast number of ways to approach spatial data analysis, I would trust that the course would eventually cover what I needed to know. A love of cartography and an interest in a career change prompted me to take this course and I am glad I did. I am starting the next course in the specialization immediately.

By Juliet M S A

May 3, 2020

Muy buen curso, me sirvió mucho, aprendí demasiado sobre las cosas básicas y el profesor es muy bueno !! Super recomendado si no saben nada de GIS y están empezando a comprender las herramientas


May 26, 2020

I gained experience in the basics of ArcMap. I learned how to import and export data, how to analyze them with geoprocessing tools to get results. I worked with feature class, attribute table and metadata. I learned symbology to produce a map and how to share my data with others.

This course is very helpful to learn about GIS from scratch. The course materials are easy to go through and the instructor is quite friendly and easygoing. the quizzes and assignments will help you to strengthen your depth of knowledge further.

By D P W

Sep 5, 2018

Great course for fundamentals of GIS. Online format makes it easy to review lectures and go back to them and pause step by step if needed; assignments are clear and well designed to give you instruction and practice on skills. I last worked on ArcMap about 10 years ago and the good part here was that I was able to review and see that the basic skills and tools have not changed much, and it's a great refresher course, and I look forward to seeing the new advanced tools that are available!

By Víctor M R M

Oct 5, 2020

I finished the course, I do not know why it indicates to me as if I had not finished

I would like answer, please. My email:

Why don't answer me?


Victor Ramon

By Kate B

Mar 2, 2020

Nick seems very passionate about his work, and I appreciate the time he put into this course. However, The some of the concepts weren't always explained well or should have been repeated to help those new to GIS get a better handle on them. My husband (who was passively listening - i.e., otherwise playing video games - while I took classes) is a programmer, and heagreed with me. Also, not having a reliable community or advisor to help answer questions is problematic. The class forum is not very helpful, since there are few responses. There are also a number of typos throughout the course content, including small ones in the handouts for the assignments. More importantly, the transcripts need reviewed for better translation. I was able to figure out some of the errors because of context and I'm a native English speaker. The closed captioning is even worse (although, some of the translations can funny).

By Lisa C

Jul 3, 2021

The instructions in the final exercise is hard to follow.

By Lindsey T

Feb 15, 2019

This course taught me what I needed to know to start exploring my spatial data. This course starts at the very beginning and is great for fully developing a foundation for future courses but also provides enough content to get started with.

By Saurab L

Feb 2, 2022

Absolutely incredibly well-designed course for anyone who is looking to learn the fundamentals of GIS. The knowledge and insights provided in the course are well delivered. Well-deserved 5 stars.

By Abdullah A R

Aug 10, 2020

This course helps to understand the basics of ArcGIS desktop and a web GIS career. Though it does not discuss all these features, a peer can certainly kickstart a GIS career with this course.

By Allison P

Aug 23, 2019

I thought this course was really well organized! Being able to follow along in ArcGIS as I watched the videos was really great and Nick Santos gives very clear and descriptive explanations.

By Marissa V

Dec 15, 2021

Great course and a great into to GIS! The instructor's videos were short and informative. However, I waited far longer than I was supposed to for my software license, meaning I was unable to continue with the course for a few weeks (while paying!). I also had some issues with the peer grading. I got docked points by a classmate for missing items in my final assignment that were not, in fact, missing. The only way to amend that, it seems, is to resubmit the assignment and get two new reviewers. I didn't have time for that. Your classmates are under no obligation to follow the rubric and can tank your grade for the fun of it. I'd give this course 5 stars if not for these two problems.

By Marina Ä

Sep 6, 2016

This course has provided a great introduction to GIS. It was easy to follow the lectures and the assignments were really fun. In this course, although being on the introduction level, we have been provided with good explanations of how GIS works and why we, for instance, press a certain button and not another. The course has given me a better understanding of different GIS functions but also the abilty to think more independently about the logic behind these functions. I'm looking forward the next course!

By Deleted A

Feb 5, 2018

This was a great introduction to a program that I knew 0 about (other than basic computer skills). I was really interested in learning the basics to GIS but it seemed daunting. Nick's 4-week Fundamentals course is done in a logical manner, that introduces you to slow building concepts. His lectures/videos were outstanding at walking you through concepts, and the end of the week assignments were incredibly beneficial in practicing what he had just taught you!

By Nida R

May 26, 2020

I loved this course. The course is designed amazingly, and the instructor is one of the best. Coming from a traditional mode of learning, learning in virtual mode and that too from an instructor like Nick Santos; is a blessing. I took the course for my PhD. I had no experience with GIS and this course has now enabled me to solve a handful of problems very easily. Highly recommended for professional and students.

By James S

Aug 6, 2016

Very well presented. Unfortunately I think the order was a bit strange. We focused on data analysis instead of basics of data generation. In an introductory course I would have liked to see a bit more what different data looks like. Vectors, rasters, etc.

Some of us live and work in countries that don't have a lot of data (I'm a South African and I work in Malaysia... California, the Karroo, and Borneo have different amounts of information available). We're not learning GIS to analyse data because we don't have much data available. We're building the data...

We spent too much time on rivers/watersheds. I get that hydrology is Nick's field but some us will work with cities, or population, or roads, planning farmlands - a bit of variety would be nice.

The data should not be available off the Coursera page - we should have to get it off the internet so we get familiar with public data resources. The websites should have the broadest data - good regardless of what country you're in.