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Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Service Guidelines


MIT GIS Services supports the MIT community by providing expertise in the identification and use of data and tools associated with Geographic Information Systems projects both inside and outside the classroom. Our service policy balances demand and available resources in an equitable manner.

Individual Support

  • Support includes in-person GIS drop-in help hours (no appointment needed), help via email, and help in-person or on Zoom via a scheduled appointment.

  • Use the GIS help request form to ask a question or schedule an appointment. You will receive a response within 1 business day, although it may take longer before a GIS staff member can meet with you.

  • We provide limited support for programming in Python, APIs, and web development. Requests will be evaluated on a case by case basis. You are expected to already have a basic understanding of programming concepts or be willing to learn them on your own.

Consultation guidelines

  • GIS services provides consultations to the MIT community only.

  • GIS Services can help with a project, but cannot do it for you.

  • During drop-in help hours, visitors are helped on a first-come, first-served basis. When multiple people need help at one time, GIS staff members will need to limit the amount of time they spend with each person.

  • While providing help for homework assignments, GIS services may refer users to their TA or professor for help on exercises created for a specific class.

  • Please remember the following things are your responsibility:

    • Properly cite all data sources used.

    • Be able to understand, repeat and explain all analysis done and the decision making process you choose.

    • Understand the data you have chosen to use in your project and its limitations.

    • Properly manage and back up your data. The GIS & Data Lab computers are not backed up. Helpful information about data management can be found on the MIT Libraries Data Management guide


GIS Services provides in-class instruction and hands-on workshops for the MIT community.

  • Requests for instruction should be made with sufficient time for us to prepare for the class.

  • Requests will be evaluated on a case by case basis, as the time commitments necessary will vary based on the topic and type of instruction requested.

  • Email your request to

GIS & Data Lab

  • The GIS & Data lab is open whenever Rotch Library is open.

  • Data can be saved on the local computers, but should be backed up. The computers are not an archive and data could be deleted at any time.

Software and Data

  • ESRI software is available via an MIT site license for research and teaching by the MIT Community and is distributed by IS&T. Learn more about installing ArcGIS Pro on your computer.

  • MIT GIS Services supports the MIT Geodata Repository, an international collection of geodata accessible 24/7. It is accessible via MIT GeoData

  • The Libraries may be able to purchase GIS data for a class or research project. Each request is handled on a case by case basis. Obtaining GIS data may take days to months, depending on the data source and if a license agreement needs to be negotiated. Contact GIS Services with data requests.