BayGeo’s Intro to Python for GIS

Python Part 1: Basic Skills

Use Python to build custom tools and perform complex analysis in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications.

This online course is designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to Python programming for GIS. The course is perfect for GIS professionals, geographers, and other individuals interested in learning how to use Python to automate GIS workflows and perform spatial analysis.

Learning Outcomes

  • Gain a basic understanding of computer programming using Python.
  • Understand Python data types and how they are used in GIS and data analysis.
  • Create your own custom geoprocessing script and convert it into a script tool in ArcGIS Pro.

Lesson Plan

    • Intro to programming concepts
    • How computers work, RAM vs. HD memory
    • How code is interpreted in Python
    • Introduce concepts: interpreters, IDEs, command line, Jupyter notebooks
    • Pseudo code and thinking like a computer
    • Intro to Python data types
    • Do in class assignments relating to numbers and strings
    • Continue with Python data types
    • Do in class assignments for lists and dictionaries
    • Example of writing Python in IDLE
    • Example using geoprocessing tool help to get Python format
    • Example of geoprocessing script
    • Intro to iteration (looping)
    • Looping in class assignments
    • Location analysis script example
    • Intro to feature layers and functions
    • Feature layer and function in class assignment
    • Example of converting a script to a script tool


A temporary license of ArcGIS Pro (along with a temporary ArcGIS online account) will be provided to registered students for use during this workshop, and a few weeks thereafter.


  • Location: Online 
  • Instructor: Ian Conroy
  • Continuing Education Units: 1
  • Cost: $417 | $375 for early bird | $250 for BayGeo members

Dates & Schedule

Date Time Location
Tuesday, February 13 6-8:30 p.m. Class meets on Zoom
Tuesday, February 20 6-8:30 p.m. Class meets on Zoom
Tuesday, February 27 6-8:30 p.m. Class meets on Zoom
Tuesday, March 5 6-8:30 p.m. Class meets on Zoom

Your Instructor

Ian Conroy is a native San Franciscan who hasn't strayed far from the Bay Area. He studied GIS at UC Santa Cruz and San Francisco State University with a few seasons snowboarding in the Lake Tahoe area in between.

He's been working with GIS technology for over 10 years. He started out in the habitat restoration field, working on restoring native habitats in the Bay Area and became the crew GPS expert. From there he transitioned into working in the utilities industry, using GIS for desktop analysis of utility infrastructure for public safety.

Ian enjoys the challenge of computer programming and uses Python daily in his work to automate recurring tasks and provide script tools to colleagues to streamline workflows.

Besides programming for GIS, Ian also enjoys programming sounds with his bandmates, currently via Dropbox.


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The University of San Francisco Geospatial Analysis Lab and BayGeo’s GIS Education Center, a geospatial non-profit organization in the San Francisco Bay Area, have designed a geospatial certificate program to offer a skill-based curriculum that addresses the industry's latest technologies.

Take the Next Step

Whether you're a professional seeking to enhance your GIS expertise or a beginner eager to explore the field, you'll gain hands-on experience and invaluable insights to stay ahead in the dynamic geospatial landscape.