Computer | GPS | Software | Texts

What computer hardware will I need for this program?

Face-to-face program:

Students in the face-to-face program will be required to have their own laptop computer capable of running ArcGIS 10.3 Desktop and storing large geo-referenced databases. Under an agreement with ESRI Canada, Vancouver Island University’s IT department will make the software available to students and will have the software available on an appropriate server. Students, however, will be responsible for maintaining and backing up their own laptop computers.

Students are required to purchase their own laptop computers. The system has to meet ESRI requirements. The system must also run either Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 (Windows XP is no longer supported by Visual Studio, which we use in the program).

Some other notes regarding computer recommendations:

  • We would recommend at least a 15" display. Wide-format screens are particularly nice, since you will want to display your lab assignment on one side, and have ArcMap running on the other.
  • If you can afford it, buy a name brand computer. We recommend Dell, Toshiba, HP, Acer, Asus, Sony, or Lenovo. For this program, you will want a machine that you can really work hard on. You are much less likely to have a problem with a name brand machine.
  • Regarding Mac computers: Whether or not your Mac computer will be able to run the ArcGIS software depends on how new it is. ArcGIS needs a Windows Operating System in order to run. Most newer Macs (with Intel chips) should be able to run a Windows Operating System in a virtual environment using software such as Mac Boot Camp.
  • Building 180, where the lab is, offers wireless web access, so if you wish to use this, you will want an 802.11g compatible card. The room also has jacks for regular network access.
  • You will want to choose a computer that has good battery life, for those times when you will want to work on your computer without access to an electrical socket.
  • Buy your laptop from a reputable dealer who will service their product, or online from Dell. We have had an average of one broken laptop per semester, so make sure that you can get your computer repaired promptly if the worst happens.
  • Many students find it helpful to purchase an external display, so that you can run ArcGIS on one screen, and view instructions and complete your assignment on the other.

Online program:

Students entering the online program require a relatively new desktop or laptop computer (less than 3 years old). The system must run Windows 7 or later.

Online students need a broadband Internet connection so they can qickly transfer data to and from the VIU server computers on which most of their lab work will be done. Please note: A cabled connection between your router and computer is sometimes required for proper operation of the Remote Desktop connection software. Wireless connections (802.11a/b/g or n) can cause disconnections which will significantly interrupt your work.

Regarding Mac computers: Whether or not your Mac computer will be able to run the ArcGIS software depends on how new it is. ArcGIS needs a Windows Operating System in order to run. Most newer Macs (with Intel chips) should be able to run a Windows Operating System in a virtual environment using software such as Parallels for Mac or Boot Camp.

What software will I need for this program?

Under an agreement with ESRI Canada, Vancouver Island University's IT department makes the full suite of ESRI ArcGIS software available to students while they are enrolled in the ADGISA program (including the off-campus GIS project work). Students may also take additional online courses with ESRI at no extra charge. Supplementary GIS and web mapping software will also be used in the delivery of the program. Software supplied by the ADGISA program is for academic use only, both during and after completion of the program.

Students need to have Microsoft Windows 7 or later as their operating system. Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint need to be installed, or their open source alternatives. You may be able to obtain a discount on Office Professional as a Vancouver Island University student.

What additional equipment will I need for this program?

For the Online ADGISA Program ONLY:

For Geography 525 (Global Positioning Systems) students will need to have access to a GPS-enabled mobile Android device. Prior to the start of this course students will be provided with details on the recommended specifications. Suggested tablets typically cost around $200 to $300, although many students are able to use their Android mobile phones instead. GEOG 525 is offered in the third and final semester of the online ADGISA program, so there is no need to acquire this device at the start of the ADGISA program.

Note: GPS units are provided for student use while they are enrolled in the ADGISA face-to-face program.

What texts will I need for this program?

For the Online ADGISA Program ONLY:

Required Textbook:

Paul Bolstad, GIS Fundamentals, 5th edition published in 2016 by Eider Press. You can order the book by going to http://www.xanedu.com and searching for GIS – make sure to select the 5th edition. You can order a printed copy with a digital PDF download for US $38 or just a digital PDF download for US $22. Prices are in US $, but they do ship to Canada for reasonable rates. We will use it in multiple courses (i.e. 501, 521, 525), so you will get a lot of use out of it.

Other Textbooks:

Instructors for each course may assign additional textbooks. These will be posted several weeks in advance of the course start date so that you have time to order and take possession before the class start dates.

Note: No texts are required for the face-to-face program.

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