There are several Geographic Information Systems that are used at the University of Plymouth. We encourage you to use QGIS because it is open source. ArcGIS Pro is also encouraged because it uses a named user system linked to your university sign in (although you will need to know plymunigis is the ArcGIS organisation's URL). ArcGIS online is also a good starting point for your GIS journey.
ArcGIS Desktop is being phased out as it is being superseded by ArcGIS Pro which doesn't have the same licensing restrictions. We encourage you to try the alternatives above, but if ArcGIS Desktop is required, it can be downloaded. See below for more details.
QGIS: A free, open source GIS program
The open source GIS, QGIS, can run on Apple, Windows, Linux and Android computers. Installation files can be accessed from here
ArcGIS Pro is a desktop GIS product that is closely integrated with ArcGIS online.
Licences are provided through your ArcGIS online account.
ArcGIS Online is Cloud-based software used to create and share interactive web maps. It is a good entry point to start exploring the power of GIS.
Become a member of Plymouth University's ArcGIS Online community, by creating an ArcGIS Online account here: https://www.arcgis.com/index.html# You are encouraged to sign-in using Your ArcGIS organisation's URL, using plymunigis .maps.arcgis.com
ArcGIS 10.7 can be downloaded and installed on any Windows computer that is used by staff or students at Plymouth University.
The share point site we are using to distribute these files is a temporary measure and is not intuitive to use.
READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS IN FULL BEFORE PROCEEDING
Step 1. Click on the link to the right. Click here
Step 2. Click on the Download icon at the top of the page
Double clicking on the .zip entry will cause the process to fail, as will ticking the folder you wish to download before clicking on the download button.
Installing the software on your computer constitutes acceptance of the license conditions. The University of Plymouth does not take responsibility for any damage or data loss that take place during this installation.
*Please note that an update to the Desktop licence manager has been completed recently, meaning the licence manager now has a new address lm-arcgis which replaces the previous licence manager alias firstname.lastname@example.org and its dns email@example.com*
Non GIS Mapping Software: Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Illustrator is one of a number vector drawing packages that can be used to draw maps, especially for simpler maps, where analysis is not required. Other similar packages are Coreldraw, and Inkscape. Maps drawn in Illustration packages are not geo-referenced, and therefore it is harder to add complex background maps. But the software is generally regarded as easier to use, and can often be better for small static location maps. For very simple background maps take a look at d-maps: https://d-maps.com/ . These maps can be downloaded as Adobe PDF files, opened in Adobe Illustrator, and then information can be added on top to create bespoke mapping.
Adobe Illustrator is available on University machines on Campus, but unfortunately it is not currently available in the 'work from home' suite. For advice on using Adobe Illustrator for mapping, first read through the Helpsheet below, but if you need further help or encounter any problems email Jamie Quinn (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The LabPlus GIS and Mapping site contains help sheets for many basic GIS tasks - such as digitising and map creation. Click here to visit the site
ArcGIS Desktop is being superseded by ArcGIS Pro which doesn't have the same licensing restrictions. We encourage you to try and use ArcGIS Pro, the open source QGIS or ArcGIS Online, but if ArcGIS desktop is required, a range of training is available:
At the University of Plymouth, all students and staff have access to the courses offered on the Esri online campus.
Click here to view the entire range of courses
Esri recommend the following suite of e-learning courses for new users who want to develop competence with the software.
Maps (topographic, thematic, historical, mainly UK but some overseas)
Vertical aerial photography plus mirror stereoscopes
Atlases and cartographic texts
Digital cameras and voice recorders
1 metre resolution Lidar data for Cornwall, Dartmoor and West Devon. Please consult this index map for further information and then email the GeoMapping unit with details of the tiles required.
Trimble Juno GPS handsets
Map reading guide- beginner to advanced –essential skills for fieldwork
Grid North, Magnetic North and True North explanation of differences
Grid – Magnetic Angle calculator http://www.geomag.bgs.ac.uk/data_service/models_compass/gma_calc.html
The National Grid – explained