Research Commons

Connect. Collaborate. Contribute.

Tag: Tools (page 1 of 4)

ArcGIS StoryMaps Workshop Now Available Online

During the spring semester, Katie Phillips (Outreach Coordinator, Center for Urban and Regional Analysis) and I have been working together to develop a workshop introducing Ohio State faculty, staff, and students to the possible uses of the new ArcGIS StoryMaps platform for research and teaching. We originally intended to offer this as an in-person session on March 31, but like many others across the university, have transitioned to instead provide an online learning opportunity.

Since all of this content is now available online, we wanted to open it up to anyone who might be interested in completing (or reusing) the exercise. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. The workshop is now intended as an asynchronous online exercise that can be completed at your own pace. We expect the exercise will take most people about an hour to complete. All of the content is accessible in BuckeyeBox here: The theme of the workshop story map is the U.S. Census, and a completed version is available here for reference.
  2.  In BuckeyeBox, the ArcGIS StoryMaps Exercise folder contains the exercise instructions and all of the content you’ll be adding to your story map. Start with the StoryMaps_Exercise_20200331 document. The other files are referenced in the appropriate task within the exercise instructions. All of the files are available for download.
  3. The Additional Resources folder contains documents that may be useful for planning your own projects and assignments, along with a list of links to other available resources and relevant online training.
  4. We intend to keep these materials publicly available on BuckeyeBox and ArcGIS Online, until at least August 31, 2020If you are an instructor looking for an asynchronous activity to assign to your students as part of the spring semester online transition (and possibly beyond), please feel free to reuse this activity as is or to modify it to best fit your course needs. The exercise instructions and task content files are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. If you would like to reuse this activity and have any questions before doing so, please contact me at
  5. For all Ohio State affiliates, task 1 in the exercise will walk you through the process of creating/signing in to an ArcGIS Online organizational account tied to your OSU name.# and password. For anyone not affiliated with OSU, you should be able to work through the exercise in its entirety if you have an ArcGIS Online organizational account through your place of work. If you are not an OSU affiliate and you are also not part of another ArcGIS Online organization, you should be able to complete most of the activity (with the exception of a few steps related to adding specific types of content) using an ArcGIS Online public account, which you can create here:
  6. If you encounter any issues or have any questions as you work through this activity, please do not hesitate to reach out to Katie ( and myself ( If after the exercise, you would like to speak more about using ArcGIS StoryMaps for your own projects, please let us know how we can help. We’re both available for virtual consultations and would look forward to hearing from you!

Accessing ArcGIS at Home for Teaching, Learning, and Research

As students return to classes and adjust to the transition to virtual learning, many may have questions about how to access software necessary to complete assignments or continue their research. In my role as Geospatial Information Librarian, I often work with students, staff, and faculty utilizing the ArcGIS suite of products to make maps and carry out spatial analysis for research and education purposes. In this post, I will highlight several options for those individuals to access ArcGIS from home so that they may try to continue those efforts.

How can I access ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Pro?

Under our Esri educational site license, Ohio State affiliates are able to download and install ArcGIS Desktop and/or ArcGIS Pro on their personal Windows devices for research and education. The Center for Urban and Regional Analysis (CURA) has done a great job of creating documentation for OSU affiliates interested in downloading one or both of these products. In particular, see the “Get Started” documentation for step-by-step instructions for downloading and installing these programs on your own device. If you’re unsure if your device will be able to support use of these programs, you can review the system requirements for ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Pro on the Esri website.

What if I don’t have Windows?

For Mac users, Esri has created these recommendations for running ArcGIS Pro within a Windows environment using Boot Camp or Parallels. Another option would be to download and install QGIS, which is a well-established, free and open source desktop GIS that runs natively on Windows, Mac, and Linux devices. For the vast majority of desktop GIS use cases, QGIS is a strong alternative to ArcGIS, and new users can get up to speed by completing relevant lessons in the QGIS Training Manual.

Is there a web-based option?

Yes, another cross-platform solution that does not require any software installation would be to use ArcGIS Online. Ohio State affiliates are able to sign up for a free account to access OSU’s ArcGIS Online organization, and the documentation from CURA provides step-by-step instructions. While not as robust as any of the desktop GIS options discussed above in terms of analytical capabilities, ArcGIS Online is the industry leader when it comes to web-based GIS. ArcGIS Online is a very solid option for users looking to create interactive maps (2D) and scenes (3D) and perform some of the more common spatial analysis tasks, or who may be using a tablet as their primary device.

Who should I contact if I need help?

If you have questions or experience any issues when downloading and installing ArcGIS Desktop or ArcGIS Pro or when accessing ArcGIS Online, email the OSU Esri Support team at If you have any other GIS and mapping related questions, including how to carry out specific tasks in any of the GIS programs discussed above, please feel free to contact me at Like many others in the university community and beyond, I’m going to be working from home, but I’ll still be available for virtual consultations to support your work.

For those interested in resources for troubleshooting and self-paced training, I highly recommend bookmarking the ArcGIS documentation website and checking out the free lessons available in the Learn ArcGIS gallery.

What if I don’t have a device?

The options discussed above all assume that you will have access to a personal device appropriate for using a desktop or web-based GIS (and reliable internet access), which I know will not be the case for all of our affiliates and students. If you are a student concerned about not having access to the technology needed for completing your course assignments, the best person for you to speak with is your instructor so you can see what options might be available.

If you have a device, but not one capable of supporting the system requirements of a desktop GIS, please contact with a brief description of the software you need and what you will be using it for (course assignments, research, etc.). While we are currently unsure if it would be possible, our team is evaluating what options might exist for us to provide remote access to some of the more intensive and heavily-utilized software programs that we would otherwise offer in the Research Commons computer lab. As part of the evaluation, it is important for us to know what kind of demands and use cases would exist for this kind of support.

GIS for the Rest of Us (Workshop)

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has revolutionized our ability to visualize and display information connected to locations. Whether you have used Google’s free tools to find aerial photos of your neighborhood, have searched for a friend’s address using the county auditor’s website, or researched the likelihood of your business flooding during a major storm event, GIS tools are at work. This half-day workshop is designed for:

– Researchers from All Disciplines New to GIS
– K-12 Educators
– Informal Educators
– Members of the Non-Profit Community
– Community Members Who Want to Learn More

A team of instructors will provide an overview of GIS and mapping tools from Google, Esri, and Tableau and showcase examples of how GIS can be used for research and education. Breakout sessions will provide training for various levels of experience. Participants are highly encouraged to bring their own devices.

Direct questions to Josh Sadvari at or 614-292-5828. This program is offered through a partnership between the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis, and the University Libraries at The Ohio State University.

Introducing the New DMPTool!

I am very excited to announce that on February 28, 2018 the DMPTool was updated and has some amazing new features! The DMPTool provides researchers with templates to create the high quality data management plans that are required when submitting a grant proposal to federal funding agencies.

Highlighted Features


Researchers now have the option to comment on data management plans rather than directly editing the plan text. This allows researchers to easily coordinate their plan with their collaborators.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Go to
  2. Click on “Get Started” or “Sign In.”Screenshot of home screen of
  3. Select sign in option 1.Screenshot of the sign in options with option 1 highlighted with a red border
  4. Search for Ohio State University in the search box.Screenshot of searching for Ohio State University in the institutional search box
  5. Log in with your OSU name.number.screenshot of logging in with OSU name.number credentials
  6. If you have never logged in before you will be taken to your profile where you can verify your information and add your ORCID IDScreenshot of profile settings page
  7. From your dashboard, select “Create Plan.”Screenshot of dashboard with the create plan button highlighted by a red outline
  8. Fill out the plan details including the title of the project, the primary research organization, and the funding agency.
  9. Select “Create Plan.”Screenshot of plan details filled out with a project title, research organization and funding agency and template selected. The create plan button is highlighted by a red outline.
  10. Fill out the Project Details section, including the name of the data contact person, if this is not the same as the Principal Investigator.Screenshot of project details form
  11. Select the plan guidance information you want to see. This will always default to the guidance tailored to OSU researchers and the general DMPTool guidance. However, if you are collaborating with a researcher at another institution and want to see their guidance language, you can search for the institution and add it. Click Submit after making the necessary changes.Screenshot of plan guidance configuration options with the submit button highlighted with a red outline
  12. Click on Plan Overview to get an outline of the topics you will need to address in your selected template.
  13. After reviewing the instructions, click on Write Plan. Screenshot of plan overview page with the write plan button highlighted by a red outline
  14. Click on “Expand All” or the individual + symbols to open up the text editing area.Screenshot of the write plan section with the expand all button and the + sign highlighted with a red outline
  15. Answer the questions in the text boxes, referring to the guidance language and resources as necessary, and saving your responses as you go.Screenshot of text editing boxes with the guidance language to the right
  16. Click on the Share tab. Set the visibility for your plan, add collaborators, and request expert feedback from the Data Management Services team at OSU.Screenshot of Share section
  17. When your plan is finalized click on Download. Select the download  and format settings, and click on “Download Plan.”Screenshot of download section with the download plan button highlighted with a red outline

If you have any questions about the DMPTool or your data management plans, please consider using the Request Feedback button or contact us at for personalized assistance.

Research and Bibliometric Assessment (Workshop)

A variety of tools and methods exist for individual researchers and institutions to analyze research productivity, outputs, and impact. One such tool is InCites, provided courtesy of support from the Office of Research, Industry Liaison Office, and accessible through the University Libraries’ catalog here: Throughout the day, there will be three sessions offered under the theme of Research and Bibliometric Assessment, including a broader overview of citation tracking and research metrics and two sessions exploring various functions of the InCites platform. Participants are encouraged to register for any of the three sessions that they find of interest.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own laptop or tablet for hands-on participation. First-time users are also encouraged to register for a free InCites account prior to the event, and short instructions for doing so are available here: InCites – Signing In.

Session 1: Using InCites for Institutional Research (10:00am – 12:00pm)
InCites functions to be covered in this session include:

– Institutional benchmarking
– Departmental comparisons
– Change in research performance in a field over time
– Funding agencies supporting work in a particular field
– Collaboration tools and analyses

Session 2: Citation Tracking and Research Metrics (2:00 – 3:00pm)
Learn how to track citations to your work and gather research metrics such as h-index, journal impact factors, and alternative metrics. This hands-on workshop will center on tools such as Web of Science, Journal Citation Reports, Scopus, Google Scholar, and altmetric information available from Altmetric and PlumX. This session will be led by Nancy Courtney, Research Impact Librarian.

Session 3: Using InCites for the Individual Researcher (3:10 – 4:10pm)
InCites functions to be covered in this session include:

– Article level metrics for faculty research
– Identifying journals in which researchers are cited the most
– Collaboration tools and analyses
– Funding agencies supporting work in a particular field

Older posts