HASS GeOSPATIAL Skills Workshop


Welcome to the Humanities Arts and Social Science (HASS) Geospatial Skills workshop, held in partnership between AURIN and Tinker.

The purpose of this workshop is to provide HASS researchers with some basic geospatial skills that they may deploy in their research. 

Geospatial data, analysis and visualisation are increasingly important components of humanities and social sciences research. Location and references to parts of the Earth can allow researchers to better understand the often complex interrelationships existing between humanity and space over time.

Bookmark this page!

This page will be your go to resource for the lead up to the workshop, and the workshop itself. On it, you will find instructions on all of the software that you will need to be familiar with, links to all of the datasets that you will be working with, and video tutorials for the workshop.


As the most important technical requirement for this workshop, you will need to have access to a laptop or a computer during the workshop that has internet access, and preferably Chrome, Safari, or Firefox installed as your browser.

You will also need Microsoft Excel installed on your computer.

Working with geospatial data requires a specific tool – know as a Geographic Information Systems (GIS). For this workshop, we will be using three different Geographic Information Systems. These are each described below, with specific instructions on what you need to do get up and running with them.

The AURIN Portal

The AURIN Portal is a free online GIS (as opposed to a desktop program). It is free to use for academic and government researchers.

It can be accessed here: https://portal.aurin.org.au

More information about logging in to the AURIN Portal can ben found at this handy help page

If you are a staff member or student at a university in Australia, you will be able to log in to the AURIN Portal by selecting your institution from the list

If you are not a staff member or student at a university, we will have set up an AURIN Portal Account for you, either permanently, or temporarily for the workshop.  To log in with these details, select AAF Virtual Home from the top of the list of institutions, and enter your user name and password.

Please feel free to explore the AURIN Portal prior to the workshop. There are a large number of user guides and tutorials at your disposal here 


QGIS (formerly Quantum GIS) is a free open source desktop GIS. It is completely free to download and to use. Being open source, it has a large user community continually building new functions for it. 

Please download and install QGIS on your laptop or computer prior to the workshop. You can download it here:


Once you have downloaded it, you won’t need to use it prior to the workshop, but if you want to explore, please feel free to do so – there is a large amount of free online documentation around QGIS here: https://qgis.org/en/docs/index.html


ArcGIS is a proprietary piece of software produced by ESRI. It is widely used in academia, government and industry. Most universities have a site license for ArcGIS, while a number of government organisations also have it. 

We will be incorporating ArcGIS into this workshop in some of the tutorials

If you have access to ArcGIS in your organisation, please ensure that it is ready to go prior to the workshop.

If you do not have access to ArcGIS, do not worry – each of the tutorials will show how to undertake the specific tasks in both QGIS (free to download) and ArcGIS, so that you are not disadvantaged by not having access to this software.



Exercise One: Pre workshop Homework Exercise

Software Required: Microsoft Excel, AURIN Portal

Click here to download the dataset required to complete this video tutorial

Exercise THREE: joining points and polygons

HASS Geospatial Workshop Feedback Survey