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

5,201 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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101 - 125 of 1,597 Reviews for Fundamentals of GIS

By James M

Jul 30, 2017

Peer review is unreliable.

By Tim D

Apr 11, 2021

For myself, I experienced issues trying to work the course projects with the student ArcGIS course work during the process. I reloaded three versions each upload going down one version to the 10.3.1 and the course files were not available to be found on my computer. At the end, I was able to bring in the final project and located the files, and did tinker around with some of the data, but not enough to submit for Peer review or to take the Final Week 4 quiz. Go figure! Because I was not able to work the course projects, I was a deer in headlights at the end. I did use the group sections to identify other users experiencing the same issues. I found dated concerns, with no comments. Because I could not identify and referenced coursework updates, I can assume it is aging and does need to be reviewed and refreshed.

By Neil K

Feb 17, 2017

Needs to be more concise.

Nick seems very passionate and trying to reach a broad audience, but overly explaining topics is creating "lecture fatigue" for me. For instance, every video starts with "welcome back... this is why people like this... [meat of the video]... this is what we just talked about.... see you next time". I really just need the [meat of the video] part. These videos are 5-10 minutes long each. They are very short and therefore I do not need an introduction/closeout for each individual one. The Module Overview and Module Recap videos are sufficient to serve that purpose.

Overall, I learned the basics and will probably take the next GIS course because I like the Coursera framework, but I think this particular course could be much more condensed.

By Anshuman P

Jun 25, 2017

This course gets difficult in Week 4 as the Assignment is tough if you do not fully understand how to use GIS. Discussion forums sometimes help but only if someone else is kind enough to reply. If you don't understand how to do things on your own, do not take this course. There is no way to message or ask the instructor questions.

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.

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 Daniel K

Nov 30, 2022

Zero instructor or mod support., and while the discussion offers a number of the same or similar questions, to what seems to be a common problem with the workflows, you'll have to search back through years of questions to find where the instructor or mod took the time to answer. You will then find the help needed is included in a dead link. When really after years of seeing that these problems an FAQ or total revision of the course to include solutions to those problems are not included.

By Kent D M

Dec 13, 2021

Still waiting for my ARC GIS subscription. I requested it on Friday, 12/2/21 and received an email that same day that it would arrive in 2-4 business days. It is now Sunday, 12/12/21 and I still haven't received it yet. I would try and chat with someone, but there is now link to be found anywhere. Also, no phone number for customer services. Now I am behind a week in this first Intro to GIS course as they will not send me the link. Kent Martin

By Amy D S

Jan 3, 2021

This course in no way prepared me for the final assignment. Things were half explained, and the assignments leading up to the final assignment did not provide context for understanding what you were doing. This was a waste of time. The only thing I could do after the course was open ArcGIS and add some data- no geoprocessing.

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 Dominic G

Feb 28, 2023

Course no longer being supported. No longer any access to software


Mar 5, 2023

There is no explanation of ArcGIS pro

By Marjorie N

Dec 21, 2020

No assistance.

By khaled990

Sep 23, 2019

is bad

By Nihal A

May 22, 2020

This is a beginners course and at the start, I had very little experience with ArcGIS. This course gives you key information to get started with ArcGIS, like how to use the spatial joint, how to manipulate the attribute table and share data etc. The course information is very clear, keeps it relevant and you learn it in a very systematic order. In each week what you learn you get hands-on experiences with the practical assessment. I have done many courses at university face to face and this course is comparable to some of those courses. This course gave me the skills and confidence to make beautiful maps in ArcGIS.

The only part of this course I would change is the final peer review assessment instead of submitting it and get a mark. They should have a 4-step process, first, the student should submit the map and map document like normal. Second, the peer reviewer should get a document/form that goes through step by step what check and leaves feedback if done incorrectly. Third, Then the document/ form gets returned the student who goes through it and makes the changes or if they feel the changes are unfair comment why. Then the student should Submit the document/form with comments on the changes, with the final map and map document for marking. This is a bit more work but when each student while peer-reviewing and making changes they are learning what the did wrong. This makes it more of a learning process because few students in the discussion were confused where they went wrong.


Jul 20, 2020

In general, the course allowed me to receive "knowledge and not just "information":

a. The course has valuable content, is efficient and effective, is versatile and easy for the student to manage.

b. The teaching materials are available, as well as the versatility and correct use of them. In addition, it evaluates the quality of content and strategies to motivate students.

c. The digital platform is stable and highly functional, there is a correct integration of the digital contents and the navigability, access and design are user friendly.

Finally, a highlight of the learning platform is the "Code of Conduct" that allows for the creation of a healthy learning environment, respecting the criteria of courtesy (treating peers with respect), sensitivity (being kind, considerate and understanding when discussing issues of ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or controversial topics), publication of appropriate content (only content according to the "Code of Honor" or the "Terms of Service" is allowed) and reporting abuse.

The course is true to the coursera slogan: "Coursera provides universal access to the world’s best education, partnering with top universities and organizations to offer courses online".

By Srijita S

Jun 14, 2016

I am an Architect-Planner by profession. Was looking for this course for quite sometime. I finally found it on Coursera. I had a great time learning Fundamentals of GIS. I had never before worked in Gis though I had a very little theoretical idea. But, at the end of this course, I was able to analyse and make my own map, something I had never done before with GIS. The lectures were to the point, with most of the details covered. The assignments for practice were very helpful too. This course comes with a very helpful reading materiaI and a year long licensed version of ArcGIS too. I had a great time in taking up the quizes, and the peer reviewed final assignment. I highly recommend this course. Last but not the least, thank you Nick Santos for teaching so well! got back to class almost after 8 years and had a great time! I am sure that this will help me taking up further studies in my field.

By Zahra B

May 5, 2020

The course was well designed and could convey the information very well. I loved the way that the instructor was teaching and assessing the students and now I can tell that I have an initial idea about the GIS.

The only thing that I didn't like about the course was peer-review grading way! What I realized is that students usually review other's assignments based on their own assignment because they think they have done everything correctly. So they don't really pay attention to the review questions and what is asked to do and I believe this is a weak point of peer-reviewing!

However, I believe the course was that wonderful that is definitely worth taking and I will recommend it to my friends for sure!

Thank you for providing this opportunity.

By Sujit B

Sep 12, 2016

So far so good! I like the way the lectures and quizzes are presented. I am loving the instructor and his style. However, I have to go through the whole course before I could say how productive the course will be. Anyway, thanks a lot for the team!

Thanks a lot Nick Sanots, Coursera, UC Davis and all fellow learners. I was a week late and could not complete the final assignment in time. However, the course is great! The course is medium paced, and best even for newcomers and intermediates alike. The chapters presented in the course are very productive and vivid. I simply love the course. I don't feel there is any room for improvement. Its just perfect! I love this course. Looking forward for next session of this course and next course.

By Maria D

Aug 25, 2017

This was an excellent intro course. I took an in-person GIS for Natural Resource Managers course a year ago (also through UC Davis Extension), and I have been using ArcGIS occasionally since. This online course served as a great refresher and contained a lot of useful information that was new to me. I even felt like it was more helpful than the in-person course. And while this course is written to be useful to people from different professions all over the world, as a water quality professional in California I derived extra benefit from it being done by a watershed management lab in California that works with state and federal agencies. Thank you, I look forward to completing the Specialization and applying the new skills to my work!

By Maria A

Apr 24, 2020

An excellent course for beginners and professionals to understand dynamics of GIS. The course is well developed to understand the concepts and develop skill systematically. I appreciate the way course is designed without adding too much cognitive load and keep it simple, focused and practical. The assignments help you to develop maps from scratch and facilitate in completing final marked assignment. The maximum lecture video time is 13 minutes and the short duration keeps you engaged without losing your concentration. The quiz are really about the core concepts that you learn from instructor. The delivery of lectures is simple, focused and to the point. I must appreciate instructor and his team for developing such a great course.

By Andis Z

Dec 19, 2017

I think this was a very well put together course. For me, person, who had never worked with ArcGIS, there was no problem to follow the lectures and understand everything. The lectures were well structured, everything was explained in detail, which was also the case for the assignments a and even if I forgot something, I just checked again the lecture material and it got clear. One other thing to mention, even if I was really interested in obtaining the knowledge of ArcGIS software in the beginning already, during this course I understood that there are so many other things I can achieve with GIS and the knowledge I can obtain here can be really useful in my future career, therefore this is definitely not my last course here!

By Henrik R H T

Mar 22, 2016

I'm only done with week 1 of this course 'Fundamentals of GIS' and I divided the work load into two evenings. I'm a full time master student, but this way of learning is really great in combination with full-time work, study etc.

Even tho it's rather late right now and I'm tired, I'm really considering to take a few more modules. The structure and the content is so exciting and really drags me into the world of GIS.

The lecturer Nick Santos is really good, the pace is perfect and you are always able to go back to previous videos, documents or search the internet, ask your fellow students or the professor if something is bothering you or if you are just curious.

I HIGHLY recommend this course and the specialisation aswell.

By Hamud A

Aug 7, 2021

this course is suitable for me, I recommended and appreciate my lecturer and all other Coursera teams. Because I covered with this course all my expectations, I got all quick overview of GIS and what's great about it, took a first look at ArcGIS and identify key elements in the interface, and define core geospatial concepts and terminology and also I discussed options for desktop GIS, the history of GIS and how it's used today, discussed resources and help that I can use, and lay out core skills that are relevant to you as a GIS analyst. You closed out by showing me how to get a copy of ArcGIS for this course, and with a tutorial on getting started in ArcGIS.

By Meghan M D

Nov 13, 2020

I have taken several online classes through Coursera, and this was the BEST CLASS I have ever taken. The instructor provided such great step-by-step explanations of every concept, the lectures were well thought out, and each unit built on the previous concepts extremely well. My level of engagement in this course was high in comparison to other online experiences I have had, and I attribute this almost entirely to Prof. Nick Santos - his lecture style was so personal that I almost felt like I was participating in person. I feel confident in my grasp of this material, and I'm really looking forward to completing all of the levels in this GIS Specialization.