10 Free Online GIS Courses With Certificates In 2022

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

Taking 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.

Within the last five decades, GIS has evolved from a concept to a science. 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 around the world. 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 the use of 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 a whole lot 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;

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.

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 career goals and ambitions.

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.

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


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 on and complete assignments sent to them electronically while putting on pyjamas with no need to fight traffic, leave work early for class, or miss important family time.

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 face to face offline sessions where there is no form of pressure, shyness, and fear.

Career Advancement

Earning an online degree helps one elevate career-wise as every online course is an added advantage that can be sited in one’s resume thus increase one’s viability and potency status.

Also, earning a degree is a sure sign of ambitiousness to prospective employers and friends at large. You should get an online degree now. Click here to see options.

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

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 classes 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 own 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 successfully 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, set goals, reminders and prompts to guide you.

 It’s up to you to make sure you’ve allotted enough time to complete the work as at when due.

Be Time Conscious

Creating your own schedule is a highly important task to do while taking online classes. But that freedom can also be ineffective if you do not have a 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 make note of major assignments: Marking them on a calendar and you check regularly so you know what workload is coming in the weeks ahead.
  • Create a weekly schedule that you follow, by designating certain hours of each week to read, watching lectures, completing assignments, studying, and participating in forums.
  • Check-in periodically throughout the term, and look at how you’re spending 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, you need to have the dedication and devotion to actually 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.

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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 are capable of diverting 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 for it.

Adopt A Learning Pattern That Works For You

You need to figure out how you learn best and align your schedule to 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

For you to get the best out of the online course, you need to actively take part in the session through partaking in the assignments, online discussions, question and answer sessions and all that.

Through this way, you’ll be able to build yourself through interacting with fellows, teachers and mentors alike.

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 the World Scholarship Forum for updates and information pertaining to free online GIS courses.

Universities That Offers Free Online GIS Courses

There are several universities in the world that 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.

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.

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.

Pace University

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

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
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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 are focused on the duration, nature of course work offered and ease of access. We also considered the quality of education, average earnings of graduates, accreditation, number of enrolled students and several 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


Just like a cooking course where you get to 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 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 a 2-3 hour long course scheduled to last for six (6) weeks. It starts in 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

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

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

The course is taught by Pennysylvania University via Coursera. It is a 3-5 hours per week course scheduled to last 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 PLACED course available to all. In this course, you will learn 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 how to use free GIS (Geographic Information System) software to explore, analyze and visualize data.

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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 what’s great about it, take a first look at ArcGIS and identify key elements in the interface, and define core geospatial concepts and terminology. In Section 2, options for desktop GIS, the history of GIS, how it’s used today and a whole lot more will be discussed too.

You can apply for this course now. The course lasts for four (4) weeks and it 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, and a new set of tools and a whole lot more.

The free online course is currently in progress and you can apply now to be a part of it. 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 amazing 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 the fundamental components and capabilities of GIS 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 get satisfied and certified at the end of each 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 certificate 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 backwards in the IT realm. Too many people are passing tests and don’t really understand the meat of the certification they took. But, they have a certification that will help them get a job before someone without the certification.

In a nutshell, the aim of the online course shouldn’t be just 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 get a free online GIS Course?

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

Can I get a Job with Online Certification?

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

Are free Online education worth it?

Free online education are worth and valued like every other form of education.

Are there any online courses for free?

Yes, there are actually a whole lot of free online courses on the web.

Can I put Online Courses on my Resume?

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


You will agree with me that online learning has grown into a viable educational medium. Instead of the conventional offline courses taken in physical classrooms, people now resort to online courses 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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