[an error occurred while processing this directive]   Computer Resources GIS Manual  

ArcGIS Software Documentation

There are many software packages that you might use for exploring and transforming geographically refernced data. At the Graduate School of Design, and in this GIS Manual, ArcMap, by ESRI is our chief Geographic Information System. ArcMap was actually born at the GSD to learn more about this, see: How Computer Mapping Became Geographic Information Sysstems at Harvard By Nicolas Chrisman, ESRI Press, 2005.

Handling and analyzing geographic data involves a lot of techniques that are not part of our everyday experience. No matter how elegantly a software interface may be, no user will be able to get by without consulting the technical documentation. Thankfully, software vendors have begun to publish their documentation electronically so that you can find it and refer to it when you need to.

Web Help for ArcGIS

The easiest way to find help on specific tasks in ArcMap is to use the web help system.

PDF Formatted Manuals (for Harvard Community)

For those who prefer the linear narrative of a print manual, the complete set of manuals is made available to the Harvard community by the Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis.

  1. go to www.gis.harvard.edu
  2. You must log in using your Harvard ID and PIN.
  3. If you aren't placed there automatically, go to the Software link on the left side of the page, and clicl the sub-category ESRI Resources.
  4. If you are logged in, you will see the links to the ESRI Library at the bottom of the page. Click on the folders to download the various manuals.
  5. It is a good idea to download these pdf files for the manuals you are interested in for quicker reference in the future.

Access to ArcGIS PDF Manuals Through ESRI Web Site

If you do not have a Harvard PIN, you can still get to the manuals through the ESRI web Site.

  1. Go to The ESRI Knowledge Base Gateway You will see headings here for just about every product that ESRI makes.
  2. Scroll Down to find the link to ArcInfo Desktop
  3. There are many useful manuals here. SOme of them will require you to register for an ESRI Global Account. This is easy to do. YOu may end up getting some stuff in the mail, but it is not too much.