11 Best Free Online GIS Courses with Certificate

Free Online GIS Courses are free courses on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) designed to teach GIS to interested students. Free online courses are changing the way that education is delivered to us, enabling us to take any course from anywhere in the globe without having to spend a cent for it. Except that sometimes we need to upgrade to a pro version or get a certificate.

What is Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a framework for organising, communicating, and comprehending geographical information. You can use GIS to identify problems, monitor changes, manage and respond to events, forecast, set priorities, and understand patterns.

GIS (Geographic Information System) is a conceptual model for collecting, managing and evaluating data. It is based on geography and integrates many forms of data, analyses spatial locations, and organises layers of information into various visualisations using maps and 3D sceneries.

GIS may then display and analyse data to show deeper data insights such as patterns, relationships, and situations. This enables users to convey compelling tales, forecast consequences, and make more informed decisions.

Geographic Information System (GIS) technology combines Geographic Science with tools for better understanding and cooperation. It assists people in achieving a shared goal: gaining actionable intelligence from all forms of data via maps, data, analysis, and apps.

Application of GIS Knowledge

GIS is a subject that is exciting to learn because it has so many incredible real-world applications. For instance, businesses in virtually every industry are using GIS to create maps that perform analysis, distribute data, and address complicated challenges globally. GIS is crucial for keeping track of agriculture, land topography, and geology, as well as for aiding in city planning.

Obviously, this is only a small portion of how GIS is used. You will learn more about the use of GIS by the time you enrol in these free online GIS courses with certificate and achieve your GIS certifications.

Additionally, you’ll discover how to use GIS software to gather, manage, alter, analyse, and present any kind of geographic data.

Why Choose Free Online GIS Courses with certificate?

It’s now clear that students learn more online than they do in conventional offline courses, which is one of the main reasons you should think about taking free online GIS courses with certificate. Online courses typically provide you complete control over your own education. You can thus complete your assignments at your own pace as a result.

Additionally, you typically work more quickly and retain more knowledge than you would otherwise. But honestly, nothing could be more fulfilling than learning for free about your ideal profession from the comfort of your bed.

Job Prospects In GIS

A Certified GIS professional may work as a GIS manager, climate scientist, conservationist, forester, health geographer, helicopter fighter, app developer, or geospatial analyst, among other things. He or she can locate a variety of work opportunities in any of the fields listed below;

  • research organizations
  • non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • market research groups and advertising agencies
  • architecture and engineering firms
  • telecommunications companies
  • retail organizations, including financial and leisure services
  • private healthcare companies
  • environmental consultancies
  • insurance companies
  • utility companies, such as gas, electricity, and water
  • police authorities and emergency services, including all the motor vehicle rescue services and the armed forces

Advantages of Free Online GIS Courses with Certificate

You should enrol for free online GIS courses with certificate. Here’s why:

1. Convenience: You can complete an online course from beginning to end from the comfort of your own home.

Free online GIS courses can be particularly convenient since they allow you to listen to lectures and complete homework delivered to you electronically without having to fight traffic, leave work early for class, or lose crucial family time.

2. Professional Development: Any student will benefit from taking an online course. As a result, earning an online degree can help you advance in your work because it can be listed on your CV, enhancing your viability and potency.

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It is also a sure sign of ambition to potential employers and friends.

3. Wide Range of Programs and Courses: Online education provides a wide range of programmes and courses so that you can apply for any course or programme you want, regardless of your discipline or area of specialisation.

Someone with a degree in engineering, for example, can afford to attend an online course in website design and management.

4. Cost Advantage: Most online programmes are free and less expensive than traditional institutions. Free online courses provide an excellent learning experience that is typically paid for at schools and institutions.

Some online courses may need a little fee. However, as compared to traditional universities, not all online degrees are economical. Associated expenses are almost always less expensive.

There are no transportation fees, for example, and essential course materials, such as textbooks, are sometimes available online for free.

Requirements for Free Online GIS Courses with certificate

The good news is that none of these free online GIS courses with certificate requires a particular degree to participate in. You will require;

  • A functional computer with internet access.
  • The most recent GIS applications, such as ArcGIS. Some of these courses will demonstrate the practical application of GIS using the software.
  • Some courses will require you to be familiar with Windows-based software.
  • You need to be disciplined in order to complete the course. Some of these free online GIS courses last 6 months, and even though they are free, you must always show up.

Colleges/Universities that Offer Free Online GIS Courses with Certificate

The following universities offer free online GIS courses;

1 Pennsylvania State University: Penn State University is a globally recognised research institution that blends academic rigour with flexible student life and prepares students to be global leaders. It provides 13 (5-8 week) free online GIS courses.

2 Pace University: Pace University’s range of online degrees, including undergraduate and graduate programmes, as well as online professional credentials like their free online GIS courses, provide quality education for busy professionals and academicians.

3 University of California, Davis: The University of California, Davis is a public teaching and research university located just west of Sacramento in Davis, California. The university provides 77 free online GIS courses. It has over 70k online students.

4. University of West Florida: The University of West Florida, usually known as West Florida, is a mid-sized public university that is part of the Florida State University System. It is based in Pensacola, Florida, and provides four free online GIS courses.

Top 11 Best Free Online GIS Courses with Certificate

If you’ve made it this far, you’re one of the lucky few who will have access to these free online GIS courses with Certificates. We’ve produced a list of 10 accredited free online GIS courses that you can start in 2024.

The following online GIS courses will teach you everything you need to know about Geographic Information Systems in 2024.

  1. Introduction to GIS
  2. Getting Started with GIS
  3. Advanced Diploma in Geographic Information Systems
  4. Spatial Data Science and Applications
  5. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialization
  6. 3D GIS
  7. Strengthening Geospatial Information Management: Using the Integrated Geospatial Information Framework
  8. GIS Data Formats, Design, and Quality
  9. Cartography
  10. GIS, Mapping, and Spatial Analysis Specialization
  11. Ecosystem Services: a Method for Sustainable Development

1. Introduction to GIS

This is one of the free online GIS courses with certificate you may take online to prepare for a career in GIS. You’ll learn more about GIS and its different varieties, and you’ll view a variety of GIS software.

Additionally, you’ll learn about Web GIS, its profession, and the distinctions between Web GIS and Software GIS. ArcGIS software suites like ArcMap, ArcGlobe, ArcCatalog, and ArcScene will then be visible.

This course is intended for students who have no prior knowledge of GIS but have a strong desire to learn, or even for those who simply want free education. Everyone should take a beginner’s course; it’s like studying ABCD. Without mastering ABCD, how can you get to spell your name?

There are 5 sections to the course, 11 lectures (each with many subjects), and 1 evaluation. More than 8,500 students have taken it. It is available to you by Udemy.

2. Getting Started with GIS

Where better to take a GIS course than from one of the leading providers of GIS software, Esri? Esri, founded in 1969, is a corporation that analyses massive amounts of data to solve geographical challenges in real time.

They have come to recognise GIS science, and many reputable companies rely on their “ArcGIS” for reliable data. They enable these businesses and GIS professionals to see what others cannot.

This is one of the free online GIS courses with certificate that will teach you the fundamentals of the Geographic Information System. You’ll learn the fundamental ideas that inspired geologists to construct this, and you’ll do it using ArcGIS.

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This course will show you how to generate a GIS map and access data for the GIS mapping project. Finally, you’ll learn to share GIS maps and analysis results by visually analysing feature relationships and patterns on a GIS map.

To participate in this course, you should be familiar with Windows-based software that allows you to manage files and navigate. This course is also available in many forms and takes 3 and a half hours to complete.

3. Advanced Diploma in Geographic Information Systems

This is one of the free online GIS courses with certificate offered by Nptel via Alison. So far, over 3 thousand students have enrolled in the 10 to 15-hour course.

You’ll learn the essential principles of GIS and how to use GIS to display professional data in the real world. You’ll move on to learn about various opportunities in the GIS area, as well as what can be done with data acquired by GIS software.

In the middle of the course, you’ll learn about the Global Positioning System (GPS), how it works, and how it applies to our world. In the middle of the course, you’ll also be exposed to databases and database management.

The final session in this free online GIS course will expose you to Open Source GIS Software and GeoServer. In addition, there will be two examinations in this course: one in the middle and one at the end.

After that, you’ll take a final exam to assess your knowledge of the diploma programme. To qualify for their certificate, you must pass 80% of the exam. However, obtaining their certificate demands a small price.

It’s a diploma programme with 12 modules and a wide range of topics. In GIS, it progresses from basic to advanced. This means that any student can take part in this course.

4. Spatial Data Science and Applications

The demand for spatial data scientists is expanding and is expected to rise further. In keeping with our world’s current digital developments, corporations such as Apple, Amazon, Google, Uber, Microsoft, Audi, and Mercedes are hiring Spatial Data scientists.

This is one of the free online GIS courses that will teach you a lot about Spatial Data Science. After completing the course, you will have a greater understanding of data science and analysis, as well as a secret that will set you apart from other Spatial Data Scientists.

Furthermore, you will recognise the importance of spatial big data and how open source software may aid in the resolution of Spatial Data Science problems.

This course is designed for intermediate students and lasts around 12 hours. If you already have a basic understanding of Spatial Data Science, you can take this course.

It can be completed at your own pace and is entirely online; a small fee of one dollar is necessary to obtain the certificate. After completing this course, you will have intermediate knowledge of Spatial Analysis, QGIS (Quantum GIS), Big Data, and Geographical Information Systems.

5. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialization

This is one of the free online GIS courses with certificate available through Coursera from the University of California. It is a 6-month course that will teach you how to create and manipulate raster data.

You’ll also learn how to generate and analyse data for geographic analytic tasks. You will also learn how to use cartographic approaches to effectively explain your results in maps.

Finally, you will be assigned a project to develop a professional GIS portfolio using combined data identification and gathering.

UC DAVIS in collaborating with Esri presents you with this professional setting and GIS software expertise. Furthermore, because the course is entirely online, you can enrol whenever you choose.

So far, over 63,000 students have signed up for this beginner’s course.

6. 3D GIS

This is one of the free online GIS courses with certificate that will show you how to make your maps more realistic by advancing them to the third dimension. You will learn how to use modern tools to visualise, analyse, and understand spatial data in 3D.

This course will teach you the fundamentals of 3D GIS and show you how to disclose GIS data in a 3D format to help you solve problems and make better geographical decisions.

The University of Alaska, Fairbanks, offers this course through Edx. It takes 4 weeks to complete.

7. Strengthening Geospatial Information Management: Using the Integrated Geospatial Information Framework

This is one of the United Nations and World Bank’s free online GIS courses with certificate. The Integrated Geospatial Information Framework is introduced (IGIF) in this course.

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IGIF assists countries in strengthening their Geospatial Information Management arrangements. That is, you will learn how to build and strengthen geospatial arrangements in your country and in other countries.

Essentially, this course will teach you how to make maps for your country or sub-nation. You’ll also understand what geography means and how it might influence a country’s advancement, stagnation, or even regression.

8. GIS Data Formats, Design, and Quality

This is one of the free online GIS courses with certificate available through Coursera from the University of California. It is an advanced course in which you will delve further into raster and vector data.

It lasts four weeks and includes incredible lectures in which you will learn more about data structures and formats. You’ll also see and learn how to construct vector data models using vector attribute tables.

This course will also teach you how to import new data into ArcGIS. In addition, you’ll explore various important data storage mechanisms in GIS. The course lasts 28 hours and includes 52 videos.

It is the second instalment of the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialization.

9. Cartography

This is another of Esri’s free online GIS courses with certificate. With this online course from Esri, you’ll learn how to make maps from an expert.

Yes, anyone can draw a map, and everybody can cook, but a trained chef can teach you better. The same is true for a cartographer, who speaks and maps; you will learn how to generate better maps.

This course will demonstrate the actual usage of ArcGIS Pro to generate a dependable map, making you a better map creator. Your ArcGIS map will proceed to interact with impact.

You will be able to obtain a PDF course topic as well as vital suggestions to help you succeed in this course. Furthermore, you will get a talent that will set you apart from other job searchers or employees.

You must also have prior familiarity with Windows-based software and be conversant with GIS and cartographic ideas (they are not necessary). During this course, you will have free access to ArcGIS Pro; you will need to download it. The course is a 6 weeks course.

10. GIS, Mapping, and Spatial Analysis Specialization

This is one of the free online GIS courses with certificate that delve deeper into combining GIS and Mapping and is provided by the University of Toronto via Coursera. It is one of the 31,384 free online GIS courses that have previously been registered.

This course will help you improve your GIS, mapping, cartography, spatial analysis, and Esri skills. It is overseen by Don Boyes, a Professor of Geography and Planning and one of Coursera’s top educators. The course begins with a lecture on the fundamentals of maps and GIS, so you will be studying from the ground up.

Even if you already understand them and want to do better, you can stay on board. Because as the course develops, you’ll gain a greater understanding of how it works. As an example, you will analyse map data with various professional data kinds and develop a GIS project, which will help you comprehend the practical use of GIS.

11. Ecosystem Services: a Method for Sustainable Development

This is one of the free online GIS courses with certificate for intermediate students, which implies you need to have a basic understanding of GIS. This is not a problem because you can obtain basic knowledge from any of the basic courses aforementioned. The University of Geneva developed this course and hosted it on Coursera.

You’ll gain a better understanding of our environment, as well as an appreciation for the resources nature freely provides us. You’ll begin to understand the benefits of our ecosystem as well as some of the potential concerns.

The course will begin by introducing you to the lecturers who will guide you through this 18-hour experience. In addition, you will be provided with a list of important questions that your instructors will return to as the course unfolds.

You’ll then move on to study the evaluation of ecosystem services, where you’ll gain a better understanding of valuation and the distinction between price and value. The last session will teach you how to design your own ecosystem services case.

The course lasts 6 weeks and includes 75 videos and a wealth of reading materials.


How can I study GIS?

The most structured way to learn is online or through remote learning at an educational institution like a local college or university. These schools offer a particular collection of classes to instruct students in the fundamentals of GIS.

Is GIS difficult to learn?

Because of the instructor’s demonstrations and directions, learning GIS is quite simple. GIS courses are exceptionally well-designed for anyone wishing to understand the basics of GIS. The information and insights presented in the courses are effectively conveyed.

Does GIS have a future?

Virtual and Augmented Reality may very likely be used in GIS in the future. As users become more accustomed to the technology, the adoption of VR and AR will increase, and as a result, more developers will incorporate GIS capabilities into their products.

Is a GIS degree worth it?

Professionals with knowledge of Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) make an average salary of $80,925. A master’s degree can help you get far since it makes you more qualified for positions like technical project manager, which pays an average of $104,908, and technical director, which pays an average of $124,200.



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