Kyle Wikstrom
Kyle Wikstrom, GIS Solutions Specialist

I have lived in Minnesota for over two decades, and during this time I have seen many cookbooks. Most of these come from rural communities, and if a recipe is especially popular — or if it is thought that the dish originated from the Vikings (the ancient, marauding Vikings, not the purple-people eaters) — it may make it into a regional or even a statewide recipe book. I find it ironic that the ethnic food sections of these books, which contains largely [American] Mexican and Oriental recipes, are rarely more than a few pages small, yet every other recipe in the book is prefixed by titles like ‘Norwegian’, ‘Swedish’, or ‘German’. It’s basically one large ethnic cookbook dominated by northern European influences. But I digress.


What does this have to do with GIS?

Not much. But when browsing through The ArcGIS Book: 10 Big Ideas about Applying Geography to Your World published by Esri Press last summer, I couldn’t help but think of the content and corresponding lessons as a “cookbook” to creating GREAT web maps and apps. It offers lessons that include step-by-step instructions for accomplishing the tasks that many people ask me about on a weekly basis. It even explains WHY it’s important!


Create maps and apps that people use.

But as Ferris Bueller says, ‘life moves pretty fast’, and finding the time to go through any book or walk through any lessons can be a challenging task. Over the coming weeks, I am committing to going through every part of The ArcGIS Book to bring you the high level synopsis of each chapter and their lessons. I will attempt to expand upon anything that, to me, seems deserving of further explanation or my own take on the topic or workflow. I hope to even offer a few tips and tricks along the way, although I anticipate that most of these will be thoroughly explained in each lesson.

My goal is to provide a short summary and a list of what to expect to get out of each section. I will provide links to the maps and apps that come out of each lesson so that you can see exactly what is produced. If you find something particular that you like or want more knowledge about, the chances are exceptionally good that the corresponding chapter will explain everything in great detail.


My goal is to provide a list of what you can expect to get out of each section of the ArcGIS Book.


What will you need?

If you want to follow along or begin the lessons yourself, you will need the following:

  1. ArcGIS Subscription with minimum Publisher privileges
  2. ArcMap on desktop
  3. ArcGIS Pro on desktop

There are a few ways I’ve found for someone to get access to ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS for Desktop software.

  • Sign up to be a member of the Learn ArcGIS organization and activate a free 60-day membership. This will give you access an ArcGIS organization, but not the desktop apps.
  • Sign up for a free ArcGIS for Developers account to get access to an ArcGIS organization. This does not include the desktop apps.
  • For access to the desktop applications that are used in some of the lessons, you can activate an ArcGIS Trial. This will also create your own ArcGIS organization. This is a free 60-day trial.
  • ArcGIS for Personal Use is possibly the best deal for getting access to nearly everything you need when it comes to ArcGIS. For about $100 per year, you get access to ArcGIS for Desktop Advanced (ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro), the most popular desktop extensions, an ArcGIS Online named user account, and MORE!
  • For more information about how to get the access you need, see the Quickstart section in Chapter 1 of “The ArcGIS Book”.

Be sure to go through the user and license agreements for each of these options and keep in mind that some of these exercises involve the use of service credits.

My preference is for the ArcGIS for Personal Use Program since it includes everything that I need in the ArcGIS Platform and more. It is a great value for the access it offers, and it serves as my annual purchase for all of my personal and professional development in GIS needs.


Let’s get started!

Check out these posts over the coming weeks and even follow along on your own. Share your experience, questions, and your own tips as we go through each chapter and lesson. The ArcGIS Book is available online for free or a hard copy may be purchased through the Esri Press website.


Read the blogs in this series:

Blog: The ArcGIS Book, Chapter 1: Maps, the Web, and You

Blog: The ArcGIS Book, Chapter 2: Cartography is for Everyone

Blog: The ArcGIS Book, Chapter 3: Tell Your Story Using a Map


This article was originally published here on LinkedIn.

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Need help creating ArcGIS solutions?

Contact Pro-West’s Solutions Specialist, Kyle Wikstrom by email or call him on 320.207.6868.

Visit Pro-West’s ArcGIS Online app gallery.