Amidst all the hoopla surrounding the recent arrival of a certain baby boy across The Pond, we’ve quietly expanded our own family—the ArcGIS foundational course family, that is. Announcement: the trio has become a quartet. By design, the expansion of our foundational course family from three to four mirrors the expansion of the ArcGIS platform.
As the technology becomes more and more pervasive and accessible, our learning options need to keep pace. ArcGIS for Desktop is no longer the sole “foundational” piece of the ArcGIS pie. To be considered truly foundational, this course set needs to explicitly address Web GIS.
Some Family History (because who doesn’t love genealogy?)
We supported ArcGIS 9.0-9.2 with two wildly popular foundational courses, Introduction to ArcGIS I and Introduction to ArcGIS II. At ArcGIS 9.3, the foundational couple became a family of three with the ArcGIS Desktop I, II, III series. With the release of ArcGIS 10.1 last year, the focus on teaching desktop workflows expanded to encompass a more holistic view, so ”Desktop” was dropped from the course titles and content about accessing and sharing GIS resources was added to all three courses.
This brings us to the ArcGIS 10.2 release, when we now fully embrace the holistic view by welcoming a new sibling, affectionately nicknamed “4.”
- ArcGIS 1: Introduction to GIS
- ArcGIS 2: Essential Workflows
- ArcGIS 3: Performing Analysis
- ArcGIS 4: Sharing Content on the Web
This quartet is considered foundational because together they cover fundamental GIS concepts needed to accurately interpret and create GIS maps, best practices to author GIS content on the desktop, the application of GIS analysis tools to create reliable and actionable information, and methods of sharing GIS content to support collaboration and geographic insight throughout an organization, the GIS community, and the public at large.
It’s not a family secret that 4 is an adoptee—he’s close kin to the version 10.1 course, ArcGIS for Server: Sharing GIS Content on the Web. If you’ve taken that course, you may not need 4.
In fact, we don’t expect that everyone will need to take all four courses nor take them in sequential order. Depending on your GIS educational background and workplace experience, previous training, and how your job actually intersects with the platform, you may skip 1, take 2, skip 3, take 4. Or start at 3 and move on to 4. Or take a different path that fits your circumstances.
Observant readers might notice that, like many in today’s world, the family has adopted a more relaxed lifestyle. Numbers have replaced Roman numerals in the course titles. We admire the Romans’ contributions to western civilization, but we think the numbers are easier to read.
And while our new family member won’t rule a country some day (what, no ArcGIS the Fourth?), we hope it will play a part in helping individuals and organizations make a difference with GIS.