As we approach the two year anniversary of delivering training for DoIT’s Statewide GIS Training Program, the Center for GIS at Towson University is proud to have trained over 600 Maryland State employees from 32 different agencies!

In collaboration with WBCM and Salisbury University, the Center for GIS developed curriculum and are currently delivering three GIS courses. These courses feature lectures, demos, and guided exercises using data and resources from MD iMAP and Maryland’s Open Data Portal. For more information about the specifics of the training program, check here, or my previous blog post.

Courses include:

  • Thinking Spatially, Half Day (Also available online!)
  • Intermediate ArcGIS Online and MD iMAP, Full day
  • Introduction to ArcGIS Desktop and MD iMAP, Two day
  • Transitioning to ArcGIS Pro, Two day (Starting June 2017!)

Expanding Spatial Thinking

Over the past two years, we’ve helped novice users get started with GIS tools and current users expand their skills. We love meeting people from across the state, and hearing about what they are doing with GIS! It’s rewarding to be able to share the lessons that we’ve learned, and help connect users with the people and resources they need to start working on a GIS project. Our biggest goal is to plant the seed of spatial thinking, so that people can start to look at the data they maintain and use through a spatial lens. Once they know something is possible they can start asking the right questions.

We’re also getting ready to go on the road! For the second summer in a row, we will offer four days of training at Frostburg University (July) and Salisbury University (August) to better serve Western Maryland and the lower Eastern Shore.

Since training began, we’ve seen continual advancements in the state data infrastructure, helping new and seasoned GIS practitioners more efficiently leverage authoritative, up-to-date GIS data. There are now 200 publicly available data services (800 individual layers!), as well as the Maryland Composite Locator, high-resolution statewide imagery and LiDAR data. Many of these data services are available as feature services. Feature services allow GIS users to query, analyze and re-symbolize the spatial data services hosted on MD iMAP’s infrastructure. The MD iMAP team also works to coordinate GIS training, software licensing, and many other GIS initiatives for Maryland’s GIS community.

New ArcGIS Pro Course

We are excited to roll out a new ArcGIS Pro Training course starting in June. ArcGIS Pro is the newest piece of Esri’s ArcGIS software platform. We’ve started using it here at the Center for GIS, and although there’s a bit of an adjustment period, we are starting to enjoy some of the benefits. For starters, I’ve noticed that maps load and draw faster with less freezing! We’re also loving the dynamic charting options, and side-by-side linked mapping.

ArcGIS Pro was re-designed by Esri to:

  • Leverage 64-bit processors and multithreaded processing to improve performance
  • Streamline mapmaking with multiple maps and layouts accessible in a single project file (similar to the .apr in ArcView 3)
  • Better integrate with web mapping and app building using ArcGIS Online and Portal for ArcGIS
  • Facilitate side-by-side 2D and 3D mapping
  • Be more intuitive via a ribbon-based menu system (similar to Microsoft Office)

    imagery comparison in ArcGIS Pro

    Imagery comparison in ArcGIS Pro


If you’re interesting in taking the Thinking Spatially online course, visit the course description page.

If you are a Maryland State employee and wish to register for any of the courses listed above (or for more information about the Statewide GIS Training Program), visit the Statewide GIS Training Program page.