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Mapping & GIS: Penn Mapping and GIS Club


Penn Libraries Mapping & GIS club (PennMGIS) by Research Data & Digital Scholarship.

The Penn Libraries Mapping & GIS club (PennMGIS) presented by Research Data & Digital Scholarship team at the Penn Libraries is a group that meets to discuss, learn, and collaborate on topics and projects related to mapping, geospatial data processing, visualization, and analysis tools through hands-on tutorials, workshops, and presentations.

Beginning February 2021, the group meets virtually (at least for now until the end of COVID-19 pandemic) via Zoom regularly on the third Thursday of the month from 3pm - 5pm. The first hour will feature workshops, talks, and discussions, and the second hour will be reserved for co-working and collaborative project work.

Students, staff, and faculty of UPenn at any level of skill are welcome to PennMGIS Club.

Meeting 02/18/2021, 3pm - 5pm 

  • Brief address by Nicky Agate, Assistant University Librarian for Research Data & Digital Scholarship.
  • Introduction to the purpose, format, and requirements of PennMGIS.
  • Short presentation on Geospatial tools and software.
  • Other discussion, Q&A, and suggestions.
  • Suggest or vote for a topic at

Meeting 03/18/2021, 3pm - 5pm

  • QGIS Basics tutorial: We will explore GIS data models and formats, and the various components of the free and open source QGIS interface and tools.
  • Requirement: Bring a laptop with QGIS preinstalled from
  • Recommended: QGIS Standalone installer 3.16 (also known as "Hannover"), long term release (LTR).

Meeting 04/15/2021, 3pm - 5pm

  • Building interactive Web maps.
  • We will explore how to build interactive Web maps and applications using the ESRI's ArcGIS-online and Web AppBuilder.
  • We will also learn how to create simple web maps using OpenLayers and Leaflet. Both are free and open source JavaScript libraries.
  • Requirement: Bring a laptop with QGIS preinstalled from and should signup for an ArcGIS online account.
  • Recommended: QGIS Standalone installer 3.16 (also known as "Hannover"), long term release (LTR).
  • If you don't have an ArcGIS online organizational account setup yet, drop me an email at with "ArcGIS online" subject line.

Meeting 06/17/2021, 3pm - 5pm

  • Digitizing and Editing Spatial Data: 
  • Oftentimes, you might need to create your own vector layers by digitizing from scanned maps or images to use in your analysis. In this meeting we will explore the on-screen digitizing and editing capabilities of both ArcMap and QGIS to create polygon, line, or point vector layers. 

Meeting 07/15/2021, 3pm - 5pm

A workshop on Accessing and Visualizing Census Data focusing on various ways of obtaining Census Data for use in GIS analysis and mapping.

  • Access census data through Social Explorer,
  • Access directly from Census Bureau's website and visualize in desktop GIS software (ArcGIS and QGIS),
  • Access through python based census API wrapper..