10 Free Online GIS Courses With Certificates

The emergence of online courses has made online learning a viable educational alternative to conventional courses taken in physical classrooms. People now resort to online courses from the comfort of their homes using their phones, laptops, or tablets.

A certified free online GIS course will help you identify problems, monitor changes, manage and respond to events, perform forecasting, set priorities, and understand trends.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a framework to organize, communicate, and understand geographical data.

GIS has evolved from a concept to a science within the last five decades. The phenomenal evolution of GIS from a rudimentary tool to a modern, powerful platform for understanding and planning our world is marked by several key milestones.

It will also interest you to note that, organizations in virtually every field are using GIS to make maps that communicate, perform analysis, share information, and solve complex problems worldwide. This is changing the way the world works. Invariably, its essentiality is on a steady rise.

Therefore, a knowledge of how GIS works will be of great advantage to not only you but the world at large. Take that bold step now.

If you’re considering an online GIS certificate this year, you can take up any of the 10 certified online GIS classes.

Before we go further, here’s a run down of what will be discussed.

What Is GIS?

A geographic information system (GIS) is a framework for gathering, managing, and analyzing data. Rooted in the science of geography, GIS integrates many types of data. It analyzes spatial location and organizes layers of information into visualizations using maps and 3D scenes.

​With this unique capability, GIS reveals deeper insights into data, such as patterns, relationships, and situations—helping users make smarter decisions.  

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) do more than display and analyze data—they also tell powerful stories and foretell outcomes.

GIS technology applies Geographic Science with tools for understanding and collaboration. It helps people reach a common goal: to gain actionable intelligence from all types of data through maps, data, analysis, and apps.

Furthermore, individuals and corporate organizations use GIS to create maps that communicate ideals, perform analysis, share information, and solve complex problems around the world. This is changing the way the world works.

In all, GIS Identifies problems, monitor changes, manage and respond to events, perform forecasting, set priorities and understand trends.

Summarily, GIS is about uncovering meaning and insights from within data.

Why Choose Free Online GIS Courses?

Due to the prevalent challenges facing offline conventional ways of learning ranging from high costs to a rigid style and approach to learning and much more, an online alternative has been made to enhance learning.

You can now afford to study and get certified from the comfort of your home for free.

Here are some reasons why you should make the best out of free online courses;

1. Convenience and Flexibility

Online courses offers you an opportunity to choose a study pattern that suits your schedule. You can afford to study amidst attending to other activities ranging from your work to other necessary isssues.

In other words, it offers you a flexible approach to learning as you can combine activities and still cope with the course as far as you’re dedicated and focused.

Course materials are also readily accessible online, making special library trips needless.

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2. Little Or No Cost To Be Paid

Online programs present a more affordable option than traditional colleges. Free courses online offer an amazing package that is highly paid for offline, for free.

You tend to pay little or nothing. Though not all online degrees offer less expensive net tuition prices than traditional colleges, associated expenses almost always cost less.

For example, there are no commuting costs, and sometimes required course materials, such as textbooks, are available online at no cost.

These free online courses can help students fulfill their career goals and ambitions.

3. Variety of Programs and Courses

Online study offers a variety of programs and courses to all. That is to say; you can afford to apply for any course or program you wish to, regardless of your discipline and area of specialization.

For instance, someone with a degree in Medicine can afford to take up an online course in science writing and reporting.

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4. Comfortability

You can take up an online course from start to finish from the comfort of your home, workplace, toilet or even car.

That’s how convenient a free online course can be. Students listen to lectures and complete assignments sent to them electronically while putting on pajamas with no need to fight traffic, leave work early for class, or miss necessary family time.

5. More Interaction and Greater Ability to Concentrate

It is widely believed that students find it easier to participate and interact in online classes more than in face-to-face offline sessions where there is no form of pressure, shyness, and fear.

6. Career Advancement

Earning an online degree helps one elevate career-wise. Every online course is an added advantage that can be cited in one’s resume, thus increasing one’s viability and potency status.

Also, earning a degree signifies ambitiousness to prospective employers and friends. You should get an online degree now. Click here to see the options.

Read Also: 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Online Colleges and Online Education

7. Transfer Credits

For college students who want to attend summer classes, but live too far from their colleges and/or work summer jobs, taking online courses from an accredited college and transferring the credits to their primary college can be highly beneficial.

Summarily, taking free online courses helps students effectively manage their time, learn with online materials, and complete assignments on their schedules.

In the end, it turns out to be an added advantage.

How To Take Free Online GIS Courses

These few tips will help you complete the free online GIS courses;

Hold Yourself Accountable

You should be consciously aware of the fact that the outcome of the online class solely depends on you. So, it’s your duty to plan yourself, and set goals, reminders and prompts to guide you.

 It’s up to you to ensure you’ve allotted enough time to complete the work when due.

Be Time Conscious

Creating your schedule is a highly important task while taking online classes. But that freedom can also be ineffective if you do not have firm time management skills. Without them, you might easily find yourself doing what you didn’t plan to do or what is out of schedule.

However, how you manage your time will depend on your schedule, learning style, and personality. Here are some tips that will help you improve your time management skills.

  • Look at the syllabus at the start of the semester and note significant assignments: Mark them on a calendar and regularly check, them so you know what workload is coming in the weeks ahead.
  • Create a weekly schedule that you follow, by designating specific hours of each week to read, watch lectures, complete assignments, study, and participate in forums.
  • Check-in periodically throughout the term, and look at how you spend your time. Ask yourself: How much time am I dedicating to course reading and assignments? A little self-reflection and adjustment can go a long way.

Take The Online Course Serious

I understand there will be distractions and side attractions while taking online courses. But, it would help if you had the dedication and devotion to follow through and stick to the outlined course structure.

Treat it like it’s an offline, face-to-face lecture where attendance is mandatory, and you wouldn’t want to miss a class.

See Also: 10 Best Online Free Education Websites for Adults

Find A Way To Eliminate Distractions

From the buzzing social media updates, calls, YouTube videos, and even distractions from friends and family, you’ll be faced with many distractions that can divert your attention.

It will be in your best interest to set aside time for other activities and focus on the online course when it’s time.

Adopt A Learning Pattern That Works For You

You must figure out how you learn best and align your schedule with that pattern. If you like taking classes in the morning, make sure you create time for the online course in the morning, likewise if you’re an evening person.

Actively Participate

To get the best out of the online course, you need to actively participate in the session by partaking in the assignments, online discussions, question and answer sessions, and so on.

In this way, you’ll be able to build yourself by interacting with fellows, teachers, and mentors.

How Can I Find A Free Online GIS Course?

Finding free online GIS courses can be daunting and at the same time, tiresome. However, you can utilize google search and social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

You can also count on us for updates and information about free online GIS courses.

Universities That Offers Free Online GIS Courses

Several universities in the world offers free online GIS courses. We’ll do well to mention a few;

University of California, Davis

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

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Pennysylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University combines academic hassles with vibrant campus life. A nationally recognized Research-I institution, Penn State teaches students to be global leaders. It offers 13 (5-8 weeks) long free online GIS courses.

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University of West Florida

The University of West Florida, also known as West Florida, is a mid-sized public university located in Pensacola, Florida, United States. UWF is a member institution of the State University System of Florida. It offers 4 free online GIS courses.

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Pace University

Pace’s commitment to providing quality education for busy professionals and academicians extends beyond their campuses with a wide selection of online degrees – including undergraduate and graduate programs and online professional certificates.

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What Are the Job Prospects In GIS?

GIS offers a wide range of job prospects to certified students. They can virtually work anywhere ranging from;

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

In each and any of these offices, they can work as a climate scientist, conservationist, forester, GIS manager, health geographer, Helicopter Fighter, App developer, Geospatial analyst, among others.

You’ll agree with me that  jobs in GIS are uniquely diverse and presents amazing opportunities.

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10 Free Online Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Courses

We’ve compiled a list of 10 certified free online GIS courses for you in 2022.  Our selection criteria focus on the duration, nature of coursework, and ease of access. We also considered the quality of education, average earnings of graduates, accreditation, number of enrolled students, and other relevant factors.

Here’s a list of the free online GIS courses with certificates for you;

  • Cartography
  • Going Places with Spatial Analysis
  • Geospatial and Environmental Analysis
  • Geodesign: Change Your World
  • GIS Data Formats, Design and Quality
  • Intro to Mapping and GIS for Journalists
  • Fundamentals of GIS
  • Imagery, Automation, and Applications
  • Geospatial Intelligence & the Geospatial Revolution
  • Getting Started with GIS


Like a cooking course where you learn how to cook, Cartography will teach you how to make better maps. With coaching from experienced cartographers and practical, hands-on exercises using ArcGIS Pro, you’ll become a smarter mapmaker, ready to go beyond the defaults and make better maps.

The course is a six (6) week-long course scheduled to start on April 22, 2022. It is taught in English.


Going Places With Spatial Analysis

This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is for persons with knowledge about data analysis and who want to learn about the special capabilities of spatial data analysis. Spatial analysis focuses on location to gain a deeper understanding of data. Spatial analysis skills are in high demand by organizations around the world. You’ll get free access to the full analytical capabilities of ArcGIS Online, Esri’s cloud-based GIS platform.

It is a 2-3 hour course scheduled to last six (6) weeks. It starts on August 12, 2022. English is the language of learning.


Geospatial and Environmental Analysis

Geospatial and Environmental Analysis is offered by the University of California, Davis, via Coursera. This course focuses on analysis tools,3D data, working with rasters, projections, and environment variables. At the end of the course, you’ll learn how to do the following;

  • Create 3-dimensional surfaces
  • Create triangulated irregular networks (TIN) and modify rasters to 3D data
  • Develop and analyze data for the geospatial analysis project
  • Design color ramps for your data

The 4-week long course is scheduled to start on April 6, 2022. It is taught in English.


Geodesign: Change Your World

This course unleashes the power to design our world, providing tools to inform choices about how we live! Geodesign is the glue—it’s a process that deploys creativity to connect the information to people, using collaboration to inform better how we design our world.

This course includes well-illustrated lectures by the tutors and guest lectures each week to ensure you hear a variety of viewpoints. Each week you will also be able to examine what geodesign is through interactive mapping that showcases real-world Case.

Pennysylvania University teaches the course via Coursera. It is a 3-5 hours per week course that lasts for five (5) weeks. It is billed to start on April 6, 2022. The language of learning is English.


GIS Data Formats, Design and Quality

In this course, the second in the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialization, you will go in-depth with common data types (such as raster and vector data), structures, quality, and storage during four week-long modules.

The four (4) week-long course is currently in progress, but you can join them now. It is taught in English.


Intro to Mapping and GIS for Journalists

This is a SELF-PACED course available to all. This course teaches you the basics of telling stories with geographic data. Additionally, geographic concepts and best practices from a journalist’s perspective, including what types of datasets make good maps, will be covered.

There will also be practical classes on free GIS (Geographic Information System) software to explore, analyze and visualize data.

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to think critically about when to use geographic data for storytelling and apply your skills to analyze geographic data and make your own maps.

English is the language of learning. You can start the course now.


Fundamentals of GIS

In this class, you will learn the basics of the industry’s leading software tool, ArcGIS, during four week-long modules.

Furthermore, you’ll be given a quick overview of GIS and its great features. First, look at ArcGIS, identify key elements in the interface, and define core geospatial concepts and terminology. Section 2, options for desktop GIS, the history of GIS, how it’s used today, and a lot more will be discussed too.

You can apply for this course now. The period lasts four (4) weeks and is taught in English.


Imagery, Automation, and Applications

Using the knowledge you’ve learned about ArcGIS, complete technical tasks such raster calculations and suitability analysis. In this class you will get conversant with spatial analysis and applications within GIS during four week-long modules.

You’ll learn all about remotely sensed and satellite imagery, and be introduced to the electromagnetic spectrum, how to use ModelBuilder to create large processing workflows that use parameters, preconditions, variables, a new set of tools, and a whole lot more.

The free online course is currently in progress, and you can apply now to participate. English is the language of learning.


Geospatial Intelligence & the Geospatial Revolution

You can partake in the exciting journey to learn about GEOINT’s application in business, law enforcement, and defense. Advances in satellites, GPS, unmanned aerial systems, wireless communications, handheld computing, and the ability to automate laborious map analysis processes have transformed what used to be called geographic intelligence, or GEOINT, and the nature of the insights provided to managers and leaders.

GEOINT is more than just analysts working with GIS in a secure intelligence facility. They’ve grown from mountains of hardcopy maps to excellent automated systems that provide a previously unavailable understanding.

This course 5-week long course runs for 6-9 hours per week. English is the language of learning.


Getting Started with GIS

GIS allows people to visualize and analyze data to help solve spatial problems and make smarter decisions. In this course, learn GIS’s fundamental components and capabilities and discover how ArcGIS can help organizations address business needs. 

In addition, this course will help you understand the fundamental concept that underlies the use of GIS. Furthermore, it will help you explain how ArcGIS enables organizations to address business needs.


NOTE: You’ll be satisfied and certified at the end of these free online courses.

Benefits of Online GIS Certificate

An online certificate is as good as it can be to the certified. In as much as the value placed on online certificates varies according to sectors and industries where it is applied, the advantages and knowledge gained in the process is golden. It gives you an edge where need be.

It will also interest you to note that, a certificate of training is not the same as a certification of knowledge. We tend to get things backward in the IT realm. Too many people are passing tests and don’t understand the meat of the certification they took. But, they have a certificate that will help them get a job before someone without the certification.

In a nutshell, the aim of the online course shouldn’t be to get the certificate at the end of the course but to gain knowledge backed with a certificate.

FAQs on 10 Free Online GIS Courses With Certificates

Can I GIS courses with certificates online?

Yes, you can get as much as 10 free online GIS courses that award certificates at the end of the course.

Are online courses accredited?

Yes! Online programs are accredited and recognized therefore; their certifications are valued.

Can I include y online certificates in my CV?

Yes. It is a good idea to put Relevant completed online courses on your resume, especially if you have a certificate.


You will agree that online learning has become a viable educational medium. Instead of the conventional offline courses taken in physical classrooms, people now resort to online methods from the comfort of their homes using their phones, laptops, or tablets.

With that being said, taking an online course in GIS will help you identify problems, monitor changes, manage and respond to events, perform forecasting, set priorities, and understand trends. Take advantage of this opportunity now. Good luck!!


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