Where Should You Ask Your GIS Questions?

Caitlin Dempsey


As the editor of GIS Lounge, I get a lot of emails each day asking for a range of GIS help.  Students wanting help with their GIS assignments, those stuck on a GIS task, questions about which school offers the best GIS program to enroll in, and help finding a job in GIS, there are a lot of GISers out there with a lot of questions.  

In lieu of tapping individual people whose answers will ultimately be limited to their specific experiences, I have found it’s always better to get answers from a range of GIS professionals.  

So, where are the best places to pose your questions about GIS?

Search to see if your question about GIS has already been answered

The first thing to figure out is, has someone asked that question before?  A search on the question (and finding its potentially already existing answer)  can be done by doing a search on the internet.  

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You will benefit from the advice of people that have “been there, done that” and get an answer to your question or a solution to your GIS problem a lot quicker than posting the question again and having to wait for people to respond.

Grayscale map of the world with a question mark inside of a magnifying glass.

Find the best places to ask your GIS questions

If, after searching the Internet, you still haven’t found the answer to your GIS question, then take advantage of the options out there for getting answers from the broader GIS community.

Reddit, StackExchange, and social media all have established GIS communities that share information about GIS.

Before deciding to post your question, decide what category your question falls into.  Is it a question about developing your GIS career or do you have a question that is technical in nature?

If the question is about finding a job, enrolling in a GIS program, or otherwise related to GIS education or a career in GIS, LinkedIn seems to be the best option.  There are quite a few GIS groups on LinkedIn with high numbers of members.  

The GIS and Geography group that I manage on LinkedIn has over 65,000 members.   LinkedIn GIS groups are excellent places to ask questions about your career and get a range of very knowledgeable answers.

If your GIS questions are more technical such as trying to complete a task using QGIS or ArcGIS, GIS Stack Exchange is one the better forums out there for finding solutions. 

Answers are ranked based on votes so the better answers rise to the top of the list.  Esri recently launched GeoNet and moved all of its forums into this new platform.  If you have an Esri software question, this also a good place to have those technical questions answered.

This article was originally written on November 7, 2014 and has since been updated.

Related: Networking in GIS: Peer-to-Peer Support in the GIS Community

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.