The Department of Geography curriculum uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and associated software extensively for research and learning.

GIS Coursework

CORE103S - Remote Sensing of the Environment

GEOG245 - Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

GEOG340 - GIS and Society

GEOG346 - Advanced GIS

GEOG347 - Satellite Image Analysis

Cartography Lab and Classroom


203 Robert H.N. Ho Science Center

Public Hours

Mon–Fri, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (excluding posted class hours)
Security card clearance provides student access anytime Ho Science Center is open.

Mon–Fri Sat–Sun
During semester 7:00 a.m.–12:00 a.m. 10:00 a.m.–12:00 a.m.
During break 7:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Closed


18 Personal computers

1 Instructor's station

1 Black/white laser printer

1 Color laser printer


Microsoft Office Suite

SPSS (IBM SPSS Statistics) 28

ArcGIS 10.8.1 (Desktop Advanced install)

ArcGIS Pro 2.8

MaxQDA 2020

Google Earth


R i386


Adobe Creative Suite

Additional Resources

Originally developed for GEOG245: Geographic Information Systems, Department of Geography, Colgate University, Hamilton, New York


National Data Clearinghouses

Regional and Local Area

By Agency

International data

Useful Links

How do I network to the geography server?

Once you've been given access to a space, you can download these instructions (PDF).

How long is saved work available on lab computers/servers?

As a best practice, back up files to personal media or network storage — especially at the end of every term.

As a rule of thumb:

  • Ho 203 computer hard drives are wiped before the beginning of every term.
  • Ho 213 computer hard drives are wiped during summer break every year.
  • Read-and-write access for the geography server (GEOGSV02) will be given for only the term of the course it is taught.
  • Read-only access may be given for up to a year, depending on the course. All student data will be removed from the server a year after the course requiring the space began.
  • Special permissions may be granted for longer periods of time. Please consult with faculty as soon as possible.
  • Data is safe for these terms unless something potentially damaging occurs (i.e. mechanical failure, physical upgrade, virus infestation, abuse of resource, etc.).

This policy may be revisited at any time and may change without notice. Drafted 10/15/2014


How do I fix printing errors?

Most errors are due to font, formatting, or image incompatibility with printers.

Try changing the font for the entire document to Arial or Times New Roman (or other, older, commonly used computer fonts). For anything with complicated formatting, print to a PDF and then printing the PDF. Download instructions for this.

What is an *.e00 file?

A *.e00 file is an ESRI Interchange file. This is a coverage that has been compressed in a proprietary ESRI format. However, you can open up such a file and view it in ArcMap.

How do I import a *.e00 file in ArcGIS 10.x?

Open ArcToolbox. Go to Conversion Tools > To Coverage > Import from e00.

Note: This is the old ArcView 3.x tool for conversion. Please make sure that the naming conventions are upheld. (If importing a coverage, grid, or tin, names are limited to a maximum of 13 characters long, and cannot have spaces. Also, do not save in a geodatabase.)

What's this exclamation point next to my file mean?

If there's a red exclamation point to the right of the filename when you open up your map document (*.mxd), that means ArcView can't find your data files.

How do I get rid of the exclamation point?
  • Right-mouse click on the file name that has the exclamation point. You'll get a long menu.
  • Go to the bottom of the menu and click 'Properties.' A big window will pop up.
  • Click on the Source tab. There will be an inset area named 'Data Source' which gives you a lot of information about your data file, including where the file was the last time you saved your map document (*.mxd).
  • Click the small button on the bottom left of the window called 'Set Data Source.' Another window will pop up that will allow you to navigate to the current location of your data file. (If the data is not on the disk or computer that you are currently working on, go back to the last computer or disk you were working on and get the data from there. More information on this is under the FAQ heading "How do I avoid getting the exclamation point?")
  • After finding your data file, click Add and that window will disappear.
  • Click OK on the Properties window. The exclamation point should go away and your data file should appear.
How do I avoid getting the exclamation point?

Always make sure that you save all data files associated with the map document (*.mxd). Don't move any of your data files around. Most GIS information is comprised of many files and every file is important so that the data is viewed properly, and this varies from file type to file type. The only way to know which files are associated together is to look at the names — almost all files that are associated have the same name, just with different suffixes. For example, in a shapefile, there are a minimum of 3 files, and up to 8 files that comprise the working data — so while you're looking at "hamilton.shp" — hamilton.shx, hamilton.dbf, hamilton.shb, hamilton.prj, and a bunch of other files are working to make that view possible. Coverages are very complicated, and they come in their own folders. They add another folder — 'info' — to any place they're located. Or, if there's already an info folder, they'll add data to that folder. Tiff files tend to come with the image, plus projection files.