GIS Tutorials for the Atmospheric Sciences

The Geographic Information Systems program at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) seeks to foster sharing of knowledge about the Earth system using GIS tools. The program encompasses a number of projects aimed at integrating natural and social sciences data in GIS, improving spatial the accuracy and usability of weather and climate models, and building capacity in the atmospheric science community.

While GIS is widely taught in universities and community colleges, very few GIS courses or workshops are offered within the weather and climate domain. To help build this capacity, NCAR and UNC Asheville have developed a set of introductory GIS exercises that are focused on the atmospheric sciences. The collection includes short video lectures, written tutorial materials, and maps and data associated with each exercise. The materials are available at no cost at the GIS Tutorial for Atmospheric Sciences page (registration required).

The tutorials explore basic concepts in GIS using the ArcGIS software from ESRI. Tutorials include:

  • Exploring ArcMap and ArcCatalog (Use case: Tornado Tracks)
  • Exploring Spatial Data (Use case: 2012 Drought in Texas)
  • Data Symbology and Classification (Use Case: Hurricane Sandy's official track and impacts)
  • Cartographic Mapping (Use Case: Superstorm of 1993)
  • Coordinate Systems and Map Projections (Use Case: Climate simulations in ArcMap)

Additional information about the NCAR GIS program is available at https://gis.ucar.edu/.

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