Help Desk

Computing & Information Services

GIS (Geographical Information Systems) at Reed

What is GIS?

A geographical information system (GIS) is a computer-based combination of spatial data and other data, allowing analysis of spatial problems and potentially revealing patterns that are not obvious via tabular data alone.

For example, a GIS can help answer basic questions of site suitability (where is the best study area based on my criteria), look at data across space (is wealth equally distributed across Portland?), or more complicated questions (what is the best route to take, does proximity to a grocery store positively affect home resale value). 

GIS software options

There are two main GIS software packages used for spatial analysis: (1) the proprietary ArcGIS package from Esri dominates the GIS market (2) the free, cross-platform, open-source QGIS software, used worldwide.

See other help pages for more information on either the ArcGIS suite from ESRI or other, alternative software (including some spatial visualization tools).

GIS support and more information

If you have questions, comments, or suggestions about GIS at Reed, please contact Kristin Bott, associate director of instructional technology services. To stay informed about upcoming GIS events at Reed and other GIS-related news, subscribe to the gis-announce mailing list.


Contact Us