Where can you go to get help with GIS issues? There are a variety of different web sites that can help with GIS questions, depending on the type of technical or general questions you have. While there are many GIS forums that have been set up, only a handful are truly active and serve as a place to get peer support in GIS. Listed here are the GIS forums that have an active user base.
General Cartography and Mapping Help
CartoTalk is a popular and active public forum for questions about cartography and mapping. Registration is required to join the discussion and post questions, ideas, and tutorials. The first question is moderated (as a precaution against spam) but once you’ve established yourself as a genuine poster, future posts will appear immediately. The site has thousands of discussions and responders are active thanks to the almost 12,000 registered users.
|• Networking in GIS
• GIS Conferences
• GIS User Groups
• GIS Organizations
Esri Technical Help for ArcGIS
The forums found within the ArcGIS Resource Center are the best source of peer expert advice and information on using any of Esri’s software products. There are established forums for every Esri products as well as user communities for a variety of industries. There are also a handful of language forums in Spanish, German, French, Chinese, and Japanese. You will need to set up a free Esri Global Account in order to post to the ArcGIS Resource forums. The original Esri Discussion Forums closed on June 1st, 2010 but the posts have been archived so its a good place to find legacy information, particularly if you’re working in older versions of ArcGIS, ArcView 3.x, or any other deprecated Esri software products.
The GIS Stack Exchange site is another site for posting technical Esri software based questions.
Help for Open Source GIS Questions
The most active place for getting your technical open source GIS questions answered is the GIS Stack Exchange site. The site is active with knowledgeable users who can help answer questions in particular about QGIS, the open source GIS desktop software. The GIS Stack Exchange site replaces the previous Quantum GIS Forum which announced its closure on March 29, 2012 in favor of the stack exchange site.
Other GIS Forums
SAGA (System for Automated Geoscientific Analyses), is free and open source (FOSS) GIS software for geodata processing and analysis. There is a pretty active forum for SAGA users on the SourceForge site. Many of the other GIS software companies, also foster active support forums so check with your GIS vendor for one.
Using Social Media to Answer GIS Questions
More and more, social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook are dominating when it comes to fostering debate about GIS issues. Comments on geoblogs are being shuttered in favor of conversations on social media sites. Forums, too, have declined in popularity. Only a handful of forums have regular and lively debates such as CartoTalk or the Esri technical forums (see the forum page for a list).
Twitter is a good arena to track reaction to GIS issues or to follow announcements from GIS sites and companies. Prominent professionals in the GIS field such as James Fee, Glenn Letham, Tina Cary, Bill Dollins, and Kate Chapman (to name a few among the many GIS twitterers out there) regularly engage in discussions about geospatial issues and announcements. Twitter is also useful to follow GIS publications (such as the one for GIS Lounge) and GIS company accounts in order to stay on top of geospatial news. Spend some time following different GIS twitter accounts and doing a search using the #gis hashtag to see what some of the geospatial conversations are. A lot of sites and companies also have a Facebook page as well although the discussion level is much reduced as compared to Twitter. When on a site that you like and want to stay connected to, look for the Twitter and Facebook logos.
For more traditional posts and responses, LinkedIn has some thriving groups. The largest GIS group on the professional networking site boasts over 20,000 members. There are currently over 700 groups with some tie in to GIS. Members within these groups can posts questions and solicit feedback from their peers.
Google+ is building up its own momentum with the geospatial community but this new social media platform relies on the users to create their own networking circles.
GIS Mailing Lists
Email-based mailing lists covering various areas of GIS and remote sensing.
Mailing list concerning GIS and related technologies. Focus is on middle Europe, but some materials have universal a pplications. To subscribe, send an E-mail message to the following address. Message must contain the words SUBSCRIBE ACDGIS-L followed by your first and last names.
AGIS-L is the atlas GIS Users Group discussion list. To subscribe, send an E-mail message and in the body of the message, write SUBSCRIBE AGIS-L.
Mailing list concerning geostatistics. To subscribe, send E-mail to the following address. E-mail must state SUBSCRIBE AI-GEOSTATS followed by your first and last names.
Mailing list concerning coastal applications of GIS.
Discussion and news emailing list for the FreeGIS project.
GISList is a vendor-neutral email discussion list with more than 1,500 registered members. Topics range from basic GIS how-to or how do I? to product specific technical queries. A large, knowledgeable community makes this one of the most popular GIS discussion tools around. To subscribe, send a blank email to:
GRASS Developer’s Forum
Email-based discussion list for developers that improve and contribute source code.
Mailing list concerning biological conservation and GIS. To subscribe, send E-mail to the following address. E-mail message must state SUBSCRIBE CONSGIS followed by your first and last names.
The GIS postgraduate mailing list is used to promote discussion and as a means of mutual support for the members of the academic community involved in GIS related research. It welcomes contributions from more established researchers as well as postgraduate students.To join the list, please go to the website (or you can join by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with message JOIN GIS-POSTGRAD-RESEARCH FIRST NAME LAST NAME ).
Mailing list concerning maps, aerial photos, and GIS. To subscribe, send E-mail to the following address. E-mail must state SUBSCRIBE MAPS-L followed by your first and last names.