Library Resources 

The Penn State University Libraries, Donald W. Hamer Center for Maps and Geospatial Information,  has resources, individualized consultation services, and events to assist you to further your geospatial activities and projects.

Curated lists of geospatial resources, data sources, information sources, and library collection materials relevant to maps and geospatial:

Maps & Geospatial: ArcGIS Online: This guide provides an introduction to using ArcGIS Online, including the creation of web maps, web applications, and sample projects.

Maps & Geospatial: ArcGIS Pro: This guide provides information on a selection of ArcGIS Pro resources, tutorials, and tips for using in relation to other Esri software.

Maps & Geospatial: Geographic Information Systems (GIS): This guide provides resources on discovering geospatial data, learning resources, and additional references.

Maps & Geospatial Guides: Additional guide topics on maps, aerial images, and more.


Individualized consultations on geospatial topics, discussion of projects, and guidance on software

Schedule an appointment to discuss geospatial needs including using geospatial software, locating geospatial data or resources and selecting options. Please bring data and files you are working on as computers are available to review and provide instruction and guidance for a hands-on experience.

GIS User Group

Here at Penn State, we have an campus wide GIS users group.  This is a coalition made up of faculty, alumni, students, and individuals from across the University Park Campus. We meet every 6 weeks (or so) to discuss how to better integrate GIS technologies and techniques to find solutions to issues that can be addressed with GIS. We also discuss our own efforts to apply GIS to our projects.  Anyone who has an interest in applying GIS techniques or technologies to their work should feel free to join us. If you want to learn more about the GIS User Group do not hesitate to contact Dan Meehan.

Data Resources

Penn State has many geospatially related datasets that are available to the public.

Pennsylvania State Data Access (PASDA) – Pennsylvania’s official public access open geospatial data portal.

Penn State Data Commons – Penn State research data, big data and metadata.

Penn State OPP Maps – Curated maps and applications from Office of Physical Plant

There is also several options of geospatially related datasets outside of Penn State that is available to the public.

United States Census Bureau – This agency’s mission is to provide demographic information on those residing in the United States.

United States Geological Survey – This agency provides data about the landscape and anything that threatens it.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration – This agency manages civilian space exploration and aeronautic research

Fall Semester GIS Day Annual event

Each year, the Penn State GIS community participates in GIS Day.

GIS Day provides an international forum for users of geographic information systems (GIS) technology to demonstrate real-world applications that are making a difference in our society.

The first formal GIS Day took place in 1999. Esri president and co-founder Jack Dangermond credits Ralph Nader with being the person who inspired the creation of GIS Day. He considered GIS Day a good initiative for people to learn about geography and the uses of GIS. He wanted GIS Day to be a grassroots effort and open to everyone to participate.”

Click here to see the Penn State GIS Day event page.


There are several conferences, outside of Penn State, that focus on GIS through the year. These conferences are often a great way to not only expand your knowledge of GIS, but also connect you to thousands of like-minded individuals that are as passionate about GIS as you are. These are just a few of the many conferences for GIS.

ASPRS – The American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing is an organization dedicated to expanding knowledge of Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing, GIS, and subsequent technologies. They host a conference every year. This event emphasizes GIS and showcases several technical programs, including workshops, that highlight the latest methods of using GIS technologies.

NACIS – The North American Cartographic Information Society is a society passionate about the creation of maps. Every year the host a conference highlighting the construction of maps. This event has several talks throughout the duration of conference along with several opportunities to interact with your fellow GIS user.

PA GIS Conference – Every year over 250 individuals from throughout the state share their passion for GIS in one location. This event is a great opportunity for sharing knowledge and networking, with several talks given throughout the conference.

URISA – The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association is a non-profit association dedicated to the education and training of aspiring GIS users and addressing GIS related issues. They hold several conferences every year, ranging from developing leaders in GIS systems to emerging GIS technologies.

ESRI Software on Campus

Esri software is also available for free use in some computer labs around campus. Please visit the Classroom and Lab Computing to see availability:

Remote access is also available at