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The Library Data Science Center provides consultation on geospatial thinking, analysis, visualization, and tools to the research community. We support researchers by providing consultation on geospatial information systems (GIS), remote sensing, and geospatial web applications, as well as discovery, creation, and management of geospatial data.

Have questions? Send an email to the Library's Data Science Center ( or Schedule a meeting.


Geospatial data acquisition

We will provide guidance for a variety of types of geospatial data acquisition. We can help you with finding the existing secondary data or help you with extracting the first-hand geospatial data (e.g. export the X Y coordinates from a GPS device). 

Geospatial data management

From geospatial data collection, processing, preservation, and dissemination, we provide a full life cycle of geospatial data service. Plans will be tailored to meet your specific purposes.

Geographic Analysis Science (GIS) software instruction

We provide instructional support for using GIS software, such as QGIS, ArcGIS, and GeoDA. 

Geospatial data visualization (static and dynamic maps)

We provide assistance for mapping high quality and designed static or dynamic maps (e.g. online maps) by using GIS software, R or Python packages.   

Geospatial analysis support

WIth expertises in analyzing geospatial data, we support students, faculty, and staff with geospatial analysis on the basis of spatial theories and help them apply geospatial techniques  to meeting their needs in research and projects. 


GIS courses

These are the courses offered at different departments at UCLA. The Department of Geography offers a GIS and Geospatial Technology Certificate once you complete the required courses.

GIS workshops at UCLA

Institute for Digital Research & Education (IDRE) offers a series of GIS workshops regularly. The workshops cover geospatial acquisition, mapping, ArcGIS online, story maps, and spatial analysis techniques. 

GIS books

Essentials of Geographic Information Systems

Principles of Geographic Information Systems

GIS Fundamentals (Sixth Edition) (Textbook)

ESRI MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)

This is a platform offering free online GIS courses by ESRI. ESRI is an international company that provides Web GIS service and GIS software, such as ArcGIS. These courses are constantly updated and can give you a broad overview about GIS and the frontier development of GIS. 

QGIS Documentation

QGIS (Quantum GIS) is a leading free and open source GIS software. It supports viewing, editing, and analysis of geospatial data. It has a large and dynamic community contributing to GIS development through developing add-ons and instructional documents. 

Data resources

UCLA Dataverse

Dataverse is an open source web application to share, preserve, cite, explore, and analyze research data. Dataverse was initiated by Harvard University, along with many contributors and institutions. As a collaborator and contributor, UCLA Library Data Science Center provides access to UCLA Dataverse, where you can find geospatial and social science data. 

Geoportal @ UCLA

This is a data portal where you can search for geospatial data. 

TIGER Census Bureau

TIGER represents Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing, developed by the United States Census Bureau. TIGER provides geospatial/map data includes land features, such as roads, rivers, and lake, and administrative boundaries, such state, county, census tract, census block group, and census block. 

USGS Earth Explorer

This is a data portal for accessing satellite imagery, developed by USGS (United States Geological Survey). To download the data, you need to register first. The data are free. 

USGS Data and Tools

Data and Tools are products of USGS, providing both raster and vector by themes and topics. The topics include Biology and Ecosystems, Coasts, Energy, Environment Health, Geology, Land Resources, Mapping, Remote Sensing, and Geospatial data, Minerals, Natural Hazards, Oceans, and Water. 

USGS TopView

TopView is an online data portal for accessing topographic maps, including US Topo series and earlier Historical Topographic Map Collection (HTMC). The term “US Topo” refers specifically to quadrangle topographic maps published in 2009 and later. HTMC provided map printed between 1884 and 2003. Currently, there are more than 178,000 maps in the HTMC and the collection continues to grow.

Open Data-ArcGIS hub

As the leading company in the GIS industry, ESRI builds and maintains a data hub that is free to the public. The content types provided by ESRI are Feature Layer, Raster Layer, Shapefile, and Tables. 

GIS Library Guide

This guide gives extensive information regarding geospatial data resources that are both available at different spatial scales and temporal scales. 

GIS software UCLA

ESRI ArcGIS online 

As a part of ESRI Geospatial Cloud, ArcGIS online enables people to create web map applications, such as Story Maps, Dashboards, Sites, and Web AppBuilder. People can share the applications with the world or specific groups. UCLA offers free accounts for ArcGIS online.  Please contact the Library's Data Science Center ( for an account.


ArcGIS Pro is a single desktop GIS application, which is the upgraded version of ArcGIS desktop. ArcGIS Pro supports data visualization, advanced spatial analysis, and authoritative data maintenance in both 2D and 3D. ArcGIS Pro accounts are free for UCLA students. Please contact the Library's Data Science Center ( for an account.


QGIS is a free and open-source cross-platform desktop geographic information system application that supports viewing, editing, and analysis of geospatial data.


GeoDa is a free software package that conducts spatial data analysis, geovisualization, spatial autocorrelation and spatial modeling.


This is an application offered by the Institute for Digital Research & Education (IDRE). You can apply this software to geocoding addresses. Geocoding is a process that converts a location address into geographical coordinates. 


Georeferencer is an online tool that assigns geographical coordinates to any image. Application of this tool is free if the image is less than 100m. 



GeoNet is where the GIS and geospatial professional community connect, collaborate and share experiences. You can find the answers for the GIS related problems you encounter and post questions to ask for help from the community. 

StackExchange (GIS)

Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. Feel free to post questions and answers on this platform. 


GIS Day is an international annual event that celebrates and promotes the application of GIS techniques in real lives to provide smart decisions. There is an active UC wide GIS community as well as the UCLA GIS community. The UCLA GIS Day will be held on Oct. 29th-30th, while the UC wide GIS Day will be held on Nov. 17th -19th. No GIS skills are needed to participate in this event. 

Submit a Request

This service is available to

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If this service is not available to you, and you have questions, please send an email to for more information.

Please visit the Data Science Center portal to raise a request.

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