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GIS & Geospatial Data Services

Troubleshooting Resources

GIS Troubleshooting Resources

GIS projects and geospatial research is seldom carried out without a few unexpected issues cropping up that hinder progress in one way or another. If you have consulted the appropriate documentation for the software, API, program language, etc. that you are using and are still stuck trying to get past a particular issue there is still hope for finding help online. Fortunately, there are several extremely helpful troubleshooting online resources that GIS users and geospatial researchers can take advantage of to learn from others who have already solved the same problem they are experience or to ask for assistance from a large community of knowledgeable GIS users. Unless you are attempting something completely new and unique, it is likely that you are not the first person to run into any particular GIS problem that you might run up against and the odds are fairly good that others who have had the same problem have discussed it online on one of the platforms listed below. The best approach to take when you run into a new issue is 1. consult the relevant documentation for the technology you are using to check and see if you are making any obvious errors 2. search for previously posted questions on the platform below using key terms that describe the important characteristics of your problem (software, programming language, API, error code/message, etc.) to see if these questions have received any helpful answers 3. if you cannot find any useful answers on one of these platforms, perform a search using a regular web search engine to see if helpful information can be found somewhere else online (other less popular question answer platforms, blogs, etc.) 4. if no one else has had the same problem or you cannot find a helpful response anywhere online, submit a detailed question to one (or more) of the platforms below. Keep in mind that if you are submitting a question of your own you increase your chances of receiving a helpful response by being extremely detailed in describing the problem you are running into so that others who might want to help can try replicating the problem (if you are having scripting trouble, posting portions of the code you are having problems with is highly recommended), being courteous in responding to others, and by quickly following up with any users who provide recommendations to let them know if their advice was or was not helpful and why.

Frequently Asked GIS Questions at UT

Why can't I upload attachments to an editable feature layer in an ArcGIS Online webmap?
If you are using a Mac computer, this issue is likely do to the default security settings of your operating system preventing your web browser from accessing files on your system. If that is the case, you can fix the issue by adjusting your operating system Security and Privacy settings to all Full File Access for the web browser you are using. Additional details regarding this problem and solution can be found at
What software should I use to manage/process/analysis/map geospatial data for my research project?
Desktop GIS software like QGIS and ArcGIS Pro are both good options for general management, processing, and managing of geospatial data. QGIS has the advantage of being free and open source, in addition to being cross platform compatible which enables it to run on Mac, Windows, and Linux computers. For geospatial workflows that are complex, will be updated or re-run frequently, need to be documented, or need to be shared with others, it is ideal to use Python to carry out the work required so that the script you develop can be easily updated, shared, commented, and run in exactly the same way each time. If you are curious about all of the other geospatial software tools that are available and which might be useful for specific geospatial research tasks, visit the GitHub page maintained at provides a very comprehensive list of geospatial tools that are organized by application type.

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