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Overview

Geographic Information Science is a field that requires basic computer literacy.

Prior to participating in GIS courses at the University of West Florida, students must have a working knowledge of and ability to practice basic computer skills.

The goal of this page is to help students who are interested in GIS to be certain that they have mastered skills that are necessary to succeed in future GIS courses and beyond.

Reviewing the following material and agreeing to having these competencies are criteria for enrollment in GIS courses at the University of West Florida.

Prerequisites

Certain aspects of GIS software require students to have sight and hand-eye coordination (certain abilities) to practice GIS and use the software (any GIS software).

If you have a disability that impacts your full participation in a course you've enrolled in, please contact the Student Accessibility Resources at 850-474-2387 or by email, sar@uwf.edu for additional support.

Access to high-speed internet and a personal computer or laptop is required to participate in our fully online GIS courses. 

Operating Systems

An operating system is the most important software that runs on a computer. It manages the computer's memory and processes, as well as all of its software and hardware. Without an operating system, a computer is useless. Watch the video from GCFLearnFree.org to learn more about operating systems.

The computer's operating system (OS) manages all of the software and hardware on the computer. The operating system manages all the computer's resources so that multiple programs can run at the same time. Operating systems typically come with the computer you purchase, but it's possible to upgrade or even change operating systems. The three most common operating systems for personal computers are Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

Most operating systems use a graphical user interface, or GUI (pronounced gooey). A GUI lets you use your mouse to click icons, buttons, and menus, and everything is clearly displayed on the screen using a combination of graphics and text.
Each operating system's GUI has a different look and feel, but are generally easy to use.


Identify the requirements for an internet connection

To succeed in this program, you will need a broadband internet connection. These classes require large files to be downloaded and uploaded. Due to the amount of data and the need to connect to a virtual desktop, it is not recommended to try and complete classes over a dial-up or 3G/4G/5G connection. You'll want a connection speed of at least 5 Mbps or higher for this program. Cable or Fiber is recommended, but if you can download music or stream videos, you'll probably be ok, but it can vary from connection to connection. For more information, contact your local service provider such as AT&T, Cox Cable, Mediacom, Dish, DirecTv, etc. Watch the video from GCFLearnFree.org to learn more about internet connections.

Hardware needed

If you have a computer, you're almost ready to connect to the internet. Most service providers include a modem (often for a fee) when you establish service. You also have the option of purchasing your own modem if you want a better or cheaper model. If you find that your connection is slower than it should be and your modem and internet cables are several (around 5 or more) years old, you might want to consider replacing them. Just like with computers, phones and TVs, modems get old and perform more slowly and get replaced by new technology.

Optionally, you can have a router to complete your home network. Some modems come with a built in router, which might be called a gateway by your service provider, but if not, you may want to consider purchasing one. A router will allow you to connect several computers and other devices (such as phones, tablets, smart TVs, gaming consoles, etc) to a single internet connection via a wireless, or Wi-Fi, network. 

Sometimes, if you have a large or multistory house, you might need to purchase a WiFi extender if you notice poor signal in rooms that might be far from your router.

Modem                  Router

              Modem                                                                        Router                                

Download and save files

  • There are several ways to download files, depending on the files you want. Some PDFs will automatically download while others will just open in a new window. If it opens in a new window, search for the save button in the viewer and save it to a location on your computer. 
  • Some browsers do not automatically allow you to choose where to put some downloaded files. This can be changed under settings or advanced settings.
  • The most basic way to save a file, such as an image, is to right click on the file and choose Save or Save as.
  • For specific help in your browser, perform a google search.

If you would like to practice downloading a file, download the PDF below.

Congratulations.pdf

Zipping and unzipping compressed files

GIS and remote sensing data are often very large files, so there are ways to compress these files to easily group, organize, move, or share them. While there are many different compression file types seen in GIS, a common compression file type seen in all areas of information technology is the .zip. Please review the Working with zip files tutorial from GCFLearnFree.org to learn more about working with compressed files.

Uploading files

Our GIS classes will require files to be uploaded to the internet and cloud services via submission through Canvas Learning Management System as well as file uploading files to Google Drive. Watch the videos from Canvas LMS and GCFLearnFree.org to learn more about uploading files.

         

Managing file and folders

A successful geographic information system application or map should involve various layers and data. This means proper organization of the files behind these layers and data is a must. This applies to files saved to a local drive on the computer or a network or cloud drive like Google Drive. Watch the videos from GCFLearnFree.org to learn more about managing files and folders.

         

Resize windows and navigate among multiple windows

How to Resize a Window

resizing a window

Before a window can be resized, make sure it is not maximized. A maximized window cannot be resized. If the window is maximized, click the Maximize / Resize button, as shown in the example below. Also, keep in mind that not every window can be resized.

  • Once a window is not maximized, you should be able to move the mouse cursor to any edge or corner of the window until a double-headed arrow appears.
  • Once this arrow appears, click the mouse and drag it up, down, left, right, or diagonally if you are at the corner of the window to make the window larger or smaller (depending on what edge of the window is being dragged). If this double-headed arrow does not appear, the window cannot be resized.
  • Below is an animated example showing a double-headed arrow on the bottom, left, and corner of a window and how clicking and holding the mouse with this arrow allows you to resize a window. If you only want to make the window horizontally bigger, move the cursor to the left or right edge of the window until it turns into the double-headed arrow. If you want to make the window vertically bigger, do the same thing at the top or bottom of the window. If you want to resize both horizontally and vertically, use one of the corners of the window.

Moving a window using the mouse

moving a window

Once a window has been resized so it is not fullscreen, it can be moved anywhere by clicking and holding the left mouse button down on the title bar and then dragging it to where you want it displayed. Below is a visual example showing how this is accomplished. When clicking the title bar at the top of the window try to click on an empty portion of the title bar or the title of the window. Other buttons that may be on the window like the minimizemaximize, and close will perform the action of those buttons.

Managing and snapping multiple windows

The snapping features built into Windows 10 & 11 allow for windows to be easily organized on screen. Please review the tips for managing multiple windows tutorial from GCFLearnFree.org to learn more about snapping windows on screen.

Troubleshoot peripherals: i.e. camera, microphone and speakers

Sometimes, a computer and extra devices like a webcam, microphone, or speakers will not work well together the first time. If this occurs, you can try troubleshooting. Some basic steps to do so are below. For more specific help, read the user guides that came with your device or do a Google search such as “Troubleshoot microphone windows 10”.

  • If your device has a USB connection, try unplugging it and plugging it in again. If that doesn’t work, try a different port. If that doesn’t work, try a different computer. If it functions when connected to another computer, you have a driver or recognition error. If it does not function when connected to another computer, you might need to replace the device.
  • If the device has a jack, or analog, connection, make sure the jacks are connected correctly. Some computers have separate connections for microphone and headphones, these will require a headset with two jacks. Some computers have a single headset jack, which will need a headset with only one jack connection. Adapters are available to turn a two jack headset into a single jack or usb.
  • The first step when troubleshooting is to search for and open the Device Manager. Double click Sound, video and game controllers. Right click the name of your device and select Update Driver Software. In the next screen, select Search automatically for updated driver software. If there is an update, let Windows install it. If not, continue below.
  • The next troubleshooting step is to search in Windows and open Troubleshooting. Select the correct troubleshoot option for your issue under hardware and sound and follow the instructions of the next window.

It is recommended to at least have a headset for your GIS classes so that you can participate more effectively in online office hours.

Analog headsets vs USB headsets

Instant messaging and video chat

Virtual office hours are conducted online through Google Meet or Zoom. See your syllabus to determine which method your instructor will use. Virtual office hours offer the opportunity for an entire class to meet at a scheduled time to speak with the instructor. Participants can communicate there through instant messages, voice chat, webcam, and screenshare. As long as you are familiar with the basics of instant messaging and video chat, you will be able to navigate these programs. Your student email account is a google product, so you automatically have access to Google Hangouts to message and video chat.

IM, short for Instant Message, allows people to send text messages to each other instantly via the internet. This differs from texting, which happens primarily via your phone, although you can download apps such as Skype, Google Hangout, or Facebook Messenger to IM someone. When instant messaging, you typically need to have an account with the same service as the person you want to talk to. In other words, you can't talk to someone on Skype from Google Hangout. IM differs from email in that the message is sent instantly, and typically when the person is online. With email, you have to wait for the person to check to see if they have new messages, but emails are good for longer, more detailed messages and sending files. IMs also tend to be shorter messages than email. 

With video chat, you are able to actually see the person you are talking to and can communicate by speaking rather than typing. However, depending on your internet connection the video connection may be slow, choppy, or might not work. To video chat, you need a webcam. These might be built in to your computer or might need to be purchased separately. Depending on your messaging service, you might also be able to use a phone as a webcam via a messaging app downloaded on your phone. It is also possible to join a video chat with just a microphone, and your image will not be displayed.

Both IM and video chat can be between two or more people, depending on your service.  

When video chatting, be sure to be aware of your surroundings and appearance. The video below will cover some common Do's and Don'ts of video chatting.

Taking a screenshot in Windows

Screenshot shortcut 1

Taking a screenshot is simple, regardless of which version of Windows you’re running. There are only a few steps — assuming you haven’t fiddled with the default keyboard controls — and you should already have access to all the image-editing software you need.



  • Capture the image in one of two ways:
    • Press the Print Screen (often shortened to “PrtScn”) key, typically located in the upper-right corner of your keyboard, to capture a screenshot of your entire display. 
    • press Alt + Print Screen to capture a screenshot of the active window.
  • Open Paint or other image-editing software
  • Paste your screenshot
  • Save your screenshot


Laptops

If you’re on a laptop, you may need to press Fn + Print Screen if your laptop has another feature assigned to that particular key.

Taking a screenshot in MacOS

You can capture your entire screen or just a selected portion of it. The screenshot is automatically saved to your desktop.

Using Keyboard Shortcuts to take a screenshot of your entire screen

  • Press Shift-Command (⌘)-3.
  • Find the screenshot as a .png file on your desktop.

Using Keyboard Shortcuts to take a screenshot of a selected portion of your screen

crosshairs for taking screenshots

  • Press Shift-Command-4. The pointer changes to a crosshair.
  • Move the crosshair to where you want to start the screenshot, then drag to select an area.
  • While dragging, you can hold Shift, Option, or Space bar to change the way the selection moves.
  • When you've selected the area you want, release your mouse or trackpad button. To cancel, press the Esc (Escape) key before you release the button.
  • Find the screenshot as a .png file on your desktop.

Using Keyboard Shortcuts to take a screenshot of a window

mouse pointer as camera

  • Press Shift-Command-4. The pointer changes to a crosshair.
  • Press the Spacebar. The pointer changes to a camera.
  • Move the camera over a window to highlight it.
  • Click your mouse or trackpad. To cancel, press the Esc (Escape) key before you click.
  • Find the screenshot as a .png file on your desktop.


Questions and Comments?

If you have questions regarding the content on this page, help is easy to find. Simply contact the GIS Office via phone (850-474-2648) or email (geo@uwf.edu).

Your questions will be answered as quickly as possible.

Application Software

Consider a situation where you want to buy a television. There are many brands and models available in the market. You need to make a decision based on the features that you want and the price of the product. Similarly, there are different types of personal computers available on the market. They differ on the basis of features such as price, size, and speed. In addition, these factors affect the overall performance of the computer.

After you buy a television, you need to choose from different kinds of channels that are available. These channels may offer entertainment, sports, or news. You can choose to view a channel based on your preferences. In the same way, after you start using a computer, there are different types of programs available that help you perform different tasks. You can use a word processor to create documents or a spreadsheet to perform mathematical calculations. Communications programs can help you talk to people at distant locations. With entertainment programs, you can watch movies, listen to music, or play games. Watch the video from GCFLearnFree.org to learn more about applications.


Using Windows Snipping Tool

Sometimes the easiest way to make a copy of something is to take a snapshot of your screen—this is what Snipping Tool does.

Image result for Snipping tool

Capture all or part of your PC screen, add notes, save the snip, or email it from the Snipping Tool window. You can capture any of the following types of snips:

  • Free-form snip. Draw a free-form shape around an object.
  • Rectangular snip. Drag the cursor around an object to form a rectangle.
  • Window snip. Select a window, such as a browser window or dialog box, that you want to capture.
  • Full-screen snip. Capture the entire screen.


After you capture a snip, it's automatically copied to the Snipping Tool window. From there you can annotate, save, or share the snip. The following procedures show how to use Snipping Tool.


  • Open Snipping ToolSelect the Start  button, type snipping tool in the search box on the taskbar, and then select Snipping Tool from the list of results.
  • Capture a snip - In Snipping Tool, select Mode (in older versions, select the arrow next to the New button), choose the kind of snip you want, and then select the area of your screen that you want to capture.
  • Annotate a snip - After you capture a snip, you can write or draw on or around it by selecting the Pen or Highlighter buttons. Select Eraser to remove the lines you've drawn.
  • Save a snipAfter you capture a snip, select the Save Snip button. In the Save As box, type a file name, location, and type, and then select Save.
  • Share a snipAfter you capture a snip, select the arrow next to the Send Snip button, and then select an option from the list.

Using Windows Snip & Sketch

Snip & Sketch is the modern version of the Snipping Tool. You are likely to find Snip & Sketch on new or fully updated versions of Windows. The basic functions are the same, but Snip & Sketch offers some updated ways to edit your screenshots with drawing, highlighting, etc. 



Messaging and Video Chat

Virtual office hours are conducted online through Google Meet or Zoom. See your syllabus to determine which method your instructor will use. Virtual office hours offer the opportunity for an entire class to meet at a scheduled time to speak with the instructor. Participants can communicate there through instant messages, voice chat, webcam, and screenshare. As long as you are familiar with the basics of instant messaging and video chat, you will be able to navigate these programs. Your student email account is a google product, so you automatically have access to Google Meet to message and video chat.

IM, short for Instant Message, allows people to send text messages to each other instantly via the internet. This differs from texting, which happens primarily via your phone, although you can download apps such as Skype, Google Hangout, or Facebook Messenger to IM someone. When instant messaging, you typically need to have an account with the same service as the person you want to talk to. In other words, you can't talk to someone on Skype from Google Meet. IM differs from email in that the message is sent instantly, and typically when the person is online. With email, you have to wait for the person to check to see if they have new messages, but emails are good for longer, more detailed messages and sending files. IMs also tend to be shorter messages than email. 

With video chat, you are able to actually see the person you are talking to and can communicate by speaking rather than typing. However, depending on your internet connection the video connection may be slow, choppy, or might not work. To video chat, you need a webcam. These might be built in to your computer or might need to be purchased separately. Depending on your messaging service, you might also be able to use a phone as a webcam via a messaging app downloaded on your phone. It is also possible to join a video chat with just a microphone, and your image will not be displayed.

Google Chat

Both IM and video chat can be between two or more people, depending on your service.  

When video chatting, be sure to be aware of your surroundings and appearance. Please review the video below from Omega Digital Technologies that will cover some common Do's and Don'ts of video chatting.

For additional information regarding video conferencing software and services, please review these videos from GCFLearnFree.org.

         

Our assignments are typically delivered in .pdf file format. This document type allows for us to easily update text, graphics, and images within the lab assignments and share them. Please review the What is a PDF tutorial from GCFLearnFree.org to learn more about working with .pdf files.

Microsoft Office will be used throughout our GIS programs. MS Word will be used to answer questions for laboratory assignments, MS Excel will be used to manage and analyze data, and MS PowerPoint is a means to execute or deliver a presentations that will be required in some courses. It its imperative to be able to understand and execute the fundamentals of these programs prior to enrolling in our GIS programs. Watch the videos from GCFLearnFree.org to learn more about Microsoft Office applications.

                   


As GIS projects and data tend to be rather cumbersome with large files, it may be necessary to archive older projects or work from the Google Drive cloud service for additional storage space. There is the option to use the Google Drive application as a storage solution.

Web Browser

Once you are connected to the internet, you can access websites using a web browser. A web browser allows you to connect to and view websites. It is not the internet itself, but displays pages on the internet. Each website has a unique address called a URL. Typing a URL into a browser will allow you to connect to the website and your browser will display it. Websites often contain links to other pages on their site or other websites. These links are called hyperlinks and show up in the text or sidebars of webpages. They may appear a different color than the rest of the text, or may be bold, underlined, or italicized. Clicking a link will cause the URL to change in the address bar or open a new window or tab. A tab appears in browsers that support tabbed browsing. This allows the user to browse multiple pages in a single window. Watch this video from GCFLearnFree.org to learn more about web browsers.

browser tabs


There are several different types of browsers and most people have a favorite they use. The most common browsers are Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. Each browser is designed by a different company and comes with their pros and cons. Different computers will come with different browsers set as the default. If you would like to change the default, search your computer for default settings, navigate to Web Browser, and then select your preferred browser.

Save Favorite Websites

A bookmark, or favorite, is a method of saving a web page's address. These can be saved to the main bookmark bar or to a bookmark folder on your browser. While taking GIS classes, you will find it helpful to bookmark certain websites that you visit often such as eLearning, MyUWF, Gmail, ESRI Help, etc. View the video for your preferred browser on how to bookmark websites. On most browsers, Ctrl + D will bookmark a page. Watch these videos from GCFLearnFree.org to learn how to favorite and bookmark in the previously mentioned browsers.

                           


Effectively find information using keywords and search engines

Being able to search for information online is one of the most important skills you can have. In GIS you will often have to perform searches for help topics or data, even after you leave the classroom. Knowing how to find information effectively will take you a long way in your GIS career. Searches can be performed across the internet by using a search engine such as Google or Bing. Specific websites may also have search boxes to help you find topics or keywords on that website only. For example, if you were to visit the  GIS Dictionary, and enter into the search bar "raster", this website would take you to their page containing the raster entry rather than making you manually navigate to the R page and scroll until you find raster, then click the link to take you to the page.

Searches also do not need to be complete sentences. On Google, you don't need to type What is the definition of a raster? Instead, you just need to search raster definition. However, this search does not seem to bring us any GIS related results, only television. So, if we search raster definition -television, this will bring us back all the raster definitions not relating to television. These results seem to deal mainly with graphic design though, rather than GIS. To get results specifically for GIS then, lets change the search to raster definition "gis". As you can see, this brings back the results we were trying to get to. Instead of showing us all the definitions of a raster like the first search, it shows us only the web pages that contain a raster definition and the specific phrase "gis". Watch this video from GCFLearnFree.org to learn more about using search engines.


Again, being able to find information online is a key skill both as a student and later as a GIS professional. If you want to learn more about searching online, and evaluating if your search result is credible, please visit GCF's Using Search Engines and Search Better tutorials.

How email works

Email is an important method of communicating in this day and age. It sends messages instantly from one person to another and can send large files that would otherwise need to be mailed or delivered in person. As a student of UWF, you now have a student email address. This is how the university, your professors, and your peers will primarily communicate with you during your time here. You should use your student email for all university and class related communications rather than your personal one.

An email address contains two parts. A user name and an email provider

abc123@students.uwf.edu

The user name is your unique identifier. At UWF, this is typically your first two or three initials followed by 1-3 randomly generated numbers. The email provider is who is providing the email service. You are probably used to seeing providers such as Gmail, Hotmail, or yahoo. The UWF email system is supported by Google's Gmail.

It is important when sending an email to make sure you get the address completely correct. If you send an email abc123@student.uwf.edu (forgetting the s at the end of students), it won't send. Gmail will be able to help you through by being able to autofill most UWF email addresses from it's internal directory. You still have to be careful though. There might be two people with the same name. If that happens, make sure to verify the address of the person you are emailing to make sure your message gets to where it needs to go.

If you would like to learn more about how to navigate in Gmail, view Google's Help or view GCF Learn Free's Gmail tutorial.

Sending an email

When you want to write a new email, you start by clicking the compose button on the left side of the screen. This opens a new compose window in the bottom corner of your window. Here, you add the recipients, the subject, the body, and any attachments. When you are done writing, hit send.

Sending to multiple recipients

When you create a new email, you have three options To, CC, and BCC. Whoever you send the email To is actively part of the conversation. They are people the message directly affects and who you require action from. To can be used for as many addresses as you like. CC stands for Carbon Copy. Whoever listed here may not necessarily be a part of the conversation, but they are being kept in the loop. BCC is used when you want other people to receive the message, but you don't want other recipients on the email to know. You can see recipients in the To and CC fields, but not in BCC. This is often used when emailing large groups.

Undo Send

Send your email too early? There is an option to Undo Send, but it has to be enabled first. Click the gear icon in the top right and select Settings. Under General, scroll to Undo Send and Enable Undo Send. Set your cancellation period and save changes. Now, when you send a message, and undo button will appear at the top of the page for the amount of time you selected.

Watch this video from GCFLearnFree.org to learn more about using sending emails in Gmail.

Replying to an email

Any new email you receive will go to your inbox. Unread emails will appear to be bold and you can see the name of the sender, the subject, and the first couple of words. When you are ready to read an email, click it and the email will open. Clicking the down arrow next to 'me' will give you more details about the email. You can use arrows on the right side to navigate though emails. When you are ready to go back to your inbox, just click inbox.

In Gmail, replying to an email is extremely easy. You just click in the response box and begin typing. You also can choose exactly how you want to respond. 

  1. Reply or forward: Open the email and in the box under it choose to Reply, Reply to all, or Forward.
  2. Respond inline: to see the previous email within your reply, scroll down and click the show trimmed content, symbolized as ...
  3. Respond to an earlier email in the thread: Select the email you want to reply to then click the down arrow to choose how to reply.
  4. Forward an entire conversation: In the menu bar above the conversation, click more>Forward all.

You can also add or remove recipients and edit the subject line. When your done composing your reply, hit send.

Watch this video from GCFLearnFree.org to learn more about using replying to emails in Gmail.

Attachments

Many times you will need to attach a file to an email. In Gmail, there are two ways to do this. First is to attach via the paper clip icon in the compose window. This opens up a file browser where you navigate to where the file is saved on your computer to attach it. The second method is to attach a Google Drive file. Make sure that your Google drive file is correctly shared though. If it isn't, you should get a warning with an option to change sharing permission when you hit send, but it's always good to verify first. Also, if you have very large files that you attempt to attach via the paperclip, Gmail will automatically upload it to Google Drive and attach it that way. Finally, it's always good to give your recipient a heads up that you've attached something and what it is.

When you get an attachment, the email will show up in the inbox with a paperclip next to it. Many attached files can be viewed in the browser window. You also have the option to download files or open them with Google Drive. Only open files from trusted sources. If you don't know the sender or why someone is sending an attachment, it is safest not to open it.

Identify correct email etiquette

Communicating online can be difficult. Most communication occurs through what we write, and it's easy for someone to misinterpret what you write without the audio and visual cues that occur during normal face to face conversation. Nettiquite needs to be practiced not only in your email communication, but on the discussion boards as well. A good rule of thumb is to not send or post anything when you are angry or upset. Following these tips will help you avoid common errors.

  • Just as with letter writing, it is polite to begin an email with a greeting such as “Dear Sue” and end with a closing line, such as “Thanks,” followed by your name.
  • Include a clear subject line that indicated what the email is about.
  • Avoid sarcasm in your emails. Without tone and body language to convey what you mean, your words could be misinterpreted. 
  • Do not use profanity. 
  • Check to make sure you are replying to who you mean to, the original sender, or everyone who was CC’d on the email. 
  • Spell check your emails and make sure you have the correct email address. 
  • Don’t write IN ALL CAPS. Online, this is equivalent to shouting.
  • Ignore chain emails. Many are hoaxes and annoying to recipients.
  • Be sure to mention when you’ve attached something to an email and be aware of large files that may download slowly. ZIP up files or upload to Google Drive to make sharing easier. Share files with common extensions like .pdf or .png instead of files for specific programs like .pages (Mac word document editor) or .psd (Photoshop file).
  • Avoid sending sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords, and social security numbers. If an email seems suspicious, delete it. If you think you might have clicked on a phishing link, close the window and notify ITS immediately. Sometimes these phishing links can grab your contact list and send out more links that look as if they come from you. 

Messaging and Video Chat

Virtual office hours are conducted online through Google Meet or Zoom. See your syllabus to determine which method your instructor will use. Virtual office hours offer the opportunity for an entire class to meet at a scheduled time to speak with the instructor. Participants can communicate there through instant messages, voice chat, webcam, and screenshare. As long as you are familiar with the basics of instant messaging and video chat, you will be able to navigate these programs. Your student email account is a google product, so you automatically have access to Google Meet to message and video chat.

IM, short for Instant Message, allows people to send text messages to each other instantly via the internet. This differs from texting, which happens primarily via your phone, although you can download apps such as Skype, Google Hangout, or Facebook Messenger to IM someone. When instant messaging, you typically need to have an account with the same service as the person you want to talk to. In other words, you can't talk to someone on Skype from Google Meet. IM differs from email in that the message is sent instantly, and typically when the person is online. With email, you have to wait for the person to check to see if they have new messages, but emails are good for longer, more detailed messages and sending files. IMs also tend to be shorter messages than email. 

With video chat, you are able to actually see the person you are talking to and can communicate by speaking rather than typing. However, depending on your internet connection the video connection may be slow, choppy, or might not work. To video chat, you need a webcam. These might be built in to your computer or might need to be purchased separately. Depending on your messaging service, you might also be able to use a phone as a webcam via a messaging app downloaded on your phone. It is also possible to join a video chat with just a microphone, and your image will not be displayed.

Google Chat

Both IM and video chat can be between two or more people, depending on your service.  

When video chatting, be sure to be aware of your surroundings and appearance. Please review the video below from Omega Digital Technologies that will cover some common Do's and Don'ts of video chatting.

For additional information regarding video conferencing, please review these videos from GCFLearnFree.org.

         

As GIS projects and data tend to be rather cumbersome with large files, it may be necessary to archive older projects or work from the Google Drive cloud service for additional storage space.  For additional information regarding browser based Google Drive, please review these videos from GCFLearnFree.org.