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

5,535 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 1,689 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 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 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 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 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.

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.


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 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 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 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

By Nick N

Feb 11, 2023


This course was designed for ArcMap 10.x but currently gives you an ArcMap Pro license. The current course material can not be followed with the new software. The old instructor even posted about this in the classroom forms. He is no longer associated with the program or UC Davis. UC Davis had made no effort in answering our questions, who are enrolled, when the course will be updated.

DO NOT enroll until the class has been updated or you will just be wasting money. Coursera needs to correct this and UC Davis should be ashamed that they are providing this class without first updating their course material.


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 Sam J

Dec 4, 2022

Really great online course. The instructor & the videos were really amazing. The pacing was good, but I was able to get each "week" done in about a day. So I like how the timeline can be flexible.

By Lisa C

Jul 3, 2021

The instructions in the final exercise is hard to follow.

By Tiffany S

Mar 4, 2023

Incomplete software instructions and out of date learning material. The discussion forum within Module 1 and Reddit/GIS is full of people trying to find help to download the ArchGIS Pro software without the EFL concurrent license authorization code for 'Spatial Analyst' and the majority end of dropping the class. After wasting 2-days researching and troubleshooting, I found a forum reply from the 'virtual instructor' that agrees the lessons are out of date (ArcMap) for the software ArcGIS Pro and states UC Davis is working to update the lessons (possibly Summer 2023). However, that does not resolve users trying to download the software for ArcGIS Pro to get past the 1st lesson.

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 Kalju L

Mar 6, 2023

This course is currently broken. There appears to be an issue with software licenses switching over, and the licensed version no longer matching the one shown in the videos.

By Cameron W

Jan 23, 2023

Instructions are out dated and cannot complete assignments without knowledge of how GIS pro works

By Kathy M

Jan 10, 2017

not very well organized.

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 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.