Data Services staff are available to assist with your geospatial questions. Please visit our online helpdesk hours via Zoom by clicking on the links below:
We are also available by appointment. Please reach out to us via the Data Services Appointment Request form.
This guide will direct you toward spatial data sources as well as connect you with other relevant resources. As you conduct your research, please use these pages to keep up to date on GIS events on campus, new data acquisitions, and library resources for GIS
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are tools to explore spatial questions.
The acronym GIS most commonly refers to Geographic Information Systems, the interconnected hardware, software, users, data, and procedures that together form a system for geospatial analysis. GIS can be used to study, analyze, and visualize any phenomenon that has a spatial component. If location plays a role in your research, GIS offers a way to include these spatial features in your analysis.
See instructions for mapping network drives on Apple computers further down on this page.
The University Libraries Geospatial Data Collection is available as a shared network drive for users connected to the WashU network (either on campus or via VPN). See the University Libraries Geospatial Data Collection Research Guide to request access to this resource.
After obtaining access to the drive, follow the instructions below for mapping a network drive to the collection and creating a connection in ArcGIS products (if desired).
Connect to the WUSTL network (encrypted, not guest)
Open Windows File Manager / Windows Explorer: Start > Computer (or My PC)
Right click on Computer (or My PC) > Map network drive
Select the desired drive letter using the "Drive" drop down menu
In the "Folder" text box, type \\storage1.ris.wustl.edu\libraries_gdc
Check the "Reconnect at logon" box if you wish to create a persistent link
Check the "Connect using different credentials" box
Enter the phrase "accounts\<your wustlkey>" (replace <your wustkey> with your own WUSTL Key) and your WUSTL password to log in.
After connecting successfully, navigate to the Geospatial Data Collection by clicking through the "Active" and "geospatial_data" directories.
1) Open the ArcMap application (Start > All Programs > ArcGIS > ArcMap)
2) Open the Catalog window (Icon located in the Standard toolbar)
3) In the Catalog window, right click on Folder Connections > Connect to Folder
4) In the Connect to Folder dialog, navigate to the mapped network drive "libraries_gdc" and click OK.
5) The libraries_gdc drive is now mapped in the Catalog window. Expand the drive to view its contents.
1) Connect to the WUSTL network (encrypted, not guest)
2) Open Finder > Go > Connect to Server
3) Enter the server address: smb://storage1.ris.wustl.edu/libraries_gdc
4) When prompted, connect as Registered User. Enter your WUSTL credentials:
5) The shared drive 'libraries_gdc' will now appear as a mounted drive in Finder and on the Desktop
Note: If you do not see 'libraries_gdc' as a mounted drive, open Finder and go to Finder > Preferences... Under the General tab, under Show these items on the desktop: make sure that Connected servers is checked. You will then be able to see the 'libraries_gdc' mounted drive on your desktop.
When attempting to add a sheet from an Excel workbook (.xls or .xlsx) to ArcMap, the following error may appear:
"Failed to Connect to Database - Class Not Registered"
This issue stems from Microsoft Office drivers that may or may not be installed on your Windows system. To install these drivers, see the the Microsoft Download here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=23734.
Other methods to bring tabular data into ArcMap:
You add a shapefile or feature class to ArcMap and the following message appears:
This message indicates that the file you are attempting to add does not have any associated spatial information and thus, ArcMap may not be able to place it in the correct place. Spatial reference information can be applied to a shapefile or feature class using the Define Projection tool from the Data Management toolbox.
1) Activate the Search window from the Standard toolbar and type "Define Projection" in the search field.
2) Click Define Project to open the Define Projection tool.
3) Click the folder icon next to Input Dataset or Feature Class and navigate to your shapefile or feature class.
4) Click the pointer icon next to Coordinate System and navigate to the desired coordinate system.
Note: For more information on selecting an appropriate coordinate system, see the following links:
Choosing the Right Map Projection - https://source.opennews.org/articles/choosing-right-map-projection/