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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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126 - 150 of 1,597 Reviews for Fundamentals of GIS

By James M

Jul 5, 2016

I really liked this course - it's an introductory course but you get a real feel for the steps required to work through the whole process of GIS and by the end are able to navigate the software comfortably.

The fact you can get a license for ArcGIS is really great and means you are doing not just observing. ArcGIS is quite a computationally heavy package (for my laptop anyway) but you can usually follow the video lectures with it open and follow the commands which helps the learning experience.

The workload is just the right amount for an online course - not too much to do but enough to keep you busy.

I will be continuing on the specialisation.

By Clint S

Jan 17, 2021

A great introduction to using ArcGIS software. You gain skills quickly through real-world, practical assignments. Nick is an excellent instructor who does a great job giving you just the right amount of detail you need to be successful. While you don't really gain a fundamental understanding of GIS software and the complex math/programming behind it, you will be able to use ArcGIS competently and confidently for most common tasks. Note that this review is really for the entire specialization as each course is fairly similar, and even the capstone contains a great recap of many of the lectures from the previous courses.

By Victoria S

May 4, 2020

I've taken GIS courses before in college, but these were way more informative and way more interesting given the short period of time that he has to explain everything. I had some problems at the start because I am on a 2011 MacBook Pro, but I bought Parallels and it works perfectly fine with ArcMap. I tried to download Windows using Bootcamp, but it was a hassle (didn't switch to Windows when I wanted it to after restart or would just come up with an error screen) so I definitely think the Parallels investment is a go-to if you have an older Mac and want to continue with the rest of this Specialization.

By Sarah V

May 14, 2018

Wonderful course. The structure of the course was very beneficial to me. There are non graded assignments that help you better understand the weekly material and practice basic workflows in GIS. There is only one grade assignment due at the end of the course. Also, you get to work with watershed data which was a plus for me since I am interested in water issues as it relates to public health and the environment. It is a foundational course so you will learn how to add data to your map and work with geoprocessing tools to make maps that are understandable and appealing. 5 stars!

By Molla S

Feb 16, 2021

Instructor Nick Santos explains the concepts clearly and in detail and his referral to the book Getting to Know ArcGIS provided really helpful additional information and practice. Santos explained up front and periodically throughout the course that at times we will make mistakes and need help with finding answers, and he helped point us to many resources to help us find those answers. He even had a lesson solely focused on troubleshooting ArcGIS error messages. What a life saver! Thanks for a great course, really useful info, and for being a great instructor.

By Chris M

Dec 1, 2017

Although very focused on hydrology from a learning perspective, this course gave a lot of information which allowed me to complete all of the required tests and final assignment without issue, and I certainly felt like I refreshed my previously limited GIS knowledge whilst adding to it some new features such as how to add and modify metadata. I liked that it went out of its way to provide additional information to the user for further practise although this was focused on a single, quite expensive book. Looking forward to taking the rest of the specialisation.

By Abhijeet A J

Mar 29, 2020

The course was really good. I learned a lot of things related GIS. The most important thing is, you can learn about GIS from many sources but you may struggle to implement them in a good GIS software. This Course is so well organized that it will ensure that you understand how to use the software efficiently .Besides, The assignments were superb ! Whenever I face any difficulties in doing work in ArcGIS , I go through the assignment files. They are really helpful. will recommend everyone to give it a try. You will make the best use of your time surely. :)

By Imoro N A

Jun 17, 2021

As someone with a Science background, I know I could learn any new technical skill for my career growth. However, never did I ever imagine that I could do so within the shortest possible time. The course content was great, the video lectures were so easy to follow and understand, and the assignments really allowed me to easily apply the new concepts I learnt both in my work and personal study time. Thank you! so much, Coursera for the Financial Aid that made this possible. I will definitely recommend Coursera and this Course to my colleagues and friends.


Apr 14, 2018

Great course, great presentations, great lecturer.

All the contents are pretty clear, very effective and detailed explanations and very high level in general, considering it's an introduction course.

It looks like they they care so much about it and there's a lot of hard work underneath.

I took some other courses of GIS in the past and I can say this is one of the highest quality.

Congratulations Nick Santos and all the UC Davis team involved that make it possible!

Can't wait to take the next one.

Juan Esteller,

Granada, Spain

By Hawraa I A A

Aug 15, 2018

It was really good course I have learned a lot. The lecturer is really wonderful Professor. The thing that I did not understand WHY I didn't get my certificate until now! I already submitted it before the deadline and also manage to review my colleagues work. I went for a holiday and come back yesterday to the website it says I didn't submit the assignment and didn't review any work!!!!!!! WHAT!!!!!!!! HOW COME!!!!!!! I have to re-subscribe and submit again! I tried to upload the PDFbut it doesn't work.

By Robin V

Jan 26, 2018

Really good course for those who have never worked with GIS and maps before. Covers al the basics, but isn't boring for those with some experience in the field.

I really enjoyed learning a bit about all of the different sides of GIS. The final project was a bit too easy.

I was a bit disappointed by the cartography aspect. As a designer I always find the end products of Arcgis to look a it stale. I didn't particularly find that the way in which symbology was implemented qualifies as good design.

By Lisbeth H

Oct 19, 2018

Me ha parecido un curso excelente, los temas abordados, la enseñanza virtual ha sido de calidad, el material proporcionado durante todo el curso para realizar practicas de lo aprendido, el sistema de evaluación entre participantes me ha parecido muy novedoso.

En este corto tiempo, he aprendido muchísimo acerca de GIS y de las funciones básicas del software ArcGIS.

Felicidades al equipo que ha trabajado para hacer de este curso una experiencia única.

Muchas gracias Coursera por esta oportunidad.

By Kimberly R

Dec 11, 2017

This course was an easy and exciting glimpse into the world of GIS. I'm grateful for the instructor, Nick's, ability to take a complicated subject and break it down into simplified terms for someone as brand new to GIS as I am (as well as many others, I'm sure!). The layout, time/effort requirement, and quality of the course are commendable and I would highly recommend this course and Coursera to friends, family, and colleagues. Thanks so much, Nick, UC Davis, ESRI, and Coursera!

By Deleted A

Feb 11, 2020

Like a lot of people, I started using GIS at work and was kind of thrown into it and fumbled my way through for a while. Going into this course I had a basic understanding of how to make maps and import data etc but I didn't really understand what it all meant. This course was extremely helpful for gaining insight and understanding into the basic why's and how's of this program. I highly recommend it if you use GIS at work but never received any real formal training.

By William K

Jun 14, 2016

This was a fantastic class. The instructor and those that constructed the lectures, exercises, quizzes and projects managed to put so much into very efficient, but complete packages that are really well organized. I was able to watch some on my phone, some on my tablet and many on my PC. Instruction was very clear and valuable. The exercises were great. The project at the end was challenging and interesting. I look forward to the next class in this specialization.

By Kimberly G

Jan 9, 2021

Instructor is fabulous. Very easy to listen to and informative. I learned a lot in 4 weeks. I was not a fan of the peer review process in regards to my project. I had all of the required elements and it was evident that one reviewer must not have even looked at my assignment. The other made a mistake in his review and looked at the wrong thing part for his grading, this is frustrating when you know you did everything correctly. It worked out, however.

By Nikita N

May 6, 2016

This course stands true to its name. It covers all fundamental concepts of GIS and helps one become familiar with the software used by GIS specialists. The step by step instructions make the course very easy to follow. I was a little intimidated by the course content because long distance learning can be difficult as I do not have a GIS oriented study group of sorts and am now proud of the fact that I challenged myself with the course as it's just great! :)

By Jenevra W

Jan 4, 2019

I previously had some GIS experience, but it was two years ago and I hadn't used it since. This course was a perfect way of remembering what I learned while adding new skills. I loved the ability to go at my own pace and really think about why certain things worked the way they did. I would highly recommend to anyone who wants a GIS refresher. For people who have never used GIS it may be a little more difficult, but I still think it's completely do-able.

By Angela M M

Apr 12, 2021

Well designed course with relevant homework and a challenging (but fair) final project/assignment. The instructor does a good job adding in real world relevance, and informing the students about potential pitfalls or challenges with respect to the data. I appreciate that he also made it clear that there isn't necessarily one "right" way to do things, and that there are going to be multiple approaches that could work to solve geospatial problems.

By Latonya W

Jul 20, 2018

I absolutely enjoyed this course. Provided me with the essential knowledge and skills needed to perform basic GIS tasks. The Syllabus is easy to follow and exercises are concise with pertinent details, tips and tricks. There was a whole lot of information made available to participants, not only for this course, but what you can apply in all of your GIS tasks. I encourage everyone to take this course-you have nothing to lose, but lots to gain!

By Sumer R

Apr 9, 2019

I completed this course a couple of months prior to beginning my Masters Degree in Marine and Coastal Management. My degree relied heavily on GIS, with roughly a semester dedicated primarily to the software. This course was a great introduction and gave me pre-requisite understanding of some basic tools and the software interface in general. Highly recommended for beginners, especially if you plan on pursuing a degree which incorporates GIS.

By April H

Dec 26, 2017

This course provides an excellent overview of GIS for beginners, building a solid theoretical foundation from which to work and continue learning. The instructor walks through basic concepts from the beginning in a way that anyone can understand. The course assignments are very helpful practice in using the skills covered. The course focuses primarily on ArcGIS, but some of the material is useful regardless of the computer application used.


Aug 11, 2017

it was really very very interesting course i enjoyed it

thanks to : the primary instructor of this course : Nick Santos

thanks to the outstanding team of dedicated educators at UC Davis Extension including:

Instructional Designers and Project Managers: Jennifer Kremer, Dan Comins, Andy Roy, and Jeff LouxVideo Production: Kristen Hoard, Joe Najera, Adi Maldonado, and Dominick Porras

Thanks as well to Esri for their support of this course.

By Zach L

Jun 1, 2017

This course was outstanding. Nick does an excellent job of breaking down the key elements of ArcGIS into easily digestible lectures as well as applying those elements in exercises and quizzes. There truly is no experience necessary before jumping in. If you work in a field that currently uses GIS or could, this course and specialization is right for you - and likely a better use of money than getting a degree or certificate in GIS.

By Ricardo O C

Mar 30, 2021

During my master studies, I had a course where we had to use ArcGIS but it was very problematic to understand the software due to the structure of the learning program. This course is completely the opposite. The lectures are very clear, and the theory behind each operation is given. The exercises are simple and help one put into practice the newly gained skills. I recommend this course to everyone go wants to learn about GIS.