GIS Textbooks

So I've been using the GIS Tutorial book by Wilpen L. Gorr and Kirsten S Kurland (ISBN-13: 978-1589482593) to teach Intro to GIS since 2010 at Frederick Community College. I have liked the book for the most part. This year I taught the lab section of a Forestry Software Applications class at Allegany College of Maryland and we used a book called Getting to know ArcGIS Desktop by Tim Ornsby, Eileen Napolean, Robert Burke, Carolyn Groessl, and Laura Bowden (ISBN-13: 978-1589482609).

My take on these two books is that the latter book is much easier to teach with. It is essentially foolproof. The GIS Tutorial book has some well developed tutorials but I ran into several problems with it. For one thing the current version has some material that looks like 10.0 and other material that looks (and works) like 10.1. It isn't a big deal but it can be confusing. It also has students downloading data from a census bureau website that is very different from the one that was redesigned (presumably just after the book was printed).

Both books have some good tutorials but for the sake of teacher sanity, I'd recommend “Getting to know ArcGIS Desktop”. You won't have to spend hours re-writing tutorial 5 like I did.