When I started learning GIS about 5-6 years I go, I actually started in a university second year course. People say “textbooks” are probably one of the most marked up resources, and they are. So below I am sharing some of the resources I have used and some that I might recommend.
If you’re planning on starting to use GIS, a number of the ESRI-related resources do come with a 6-month trial version with all the lovely bells and whistles. Personally, I find the ESRI software more “value-added” with the software and tutorials with matching datasets.
Textbook from second-year course:
Cartography: Thematic Map Design by Borden D. Dent
(Older version) Cartography: Thematic Map Design by Borden D. Dent
Books that are avail through ESRI press (comes with tutorials, datasets and 180-day trial version of ArcGIS 10 software)
GIS Tutorial 1: Basic Workbook, 10.1 Edition by Wilpen L. Gorr, Kristen S. Kurkland (for ArcGIS 10 users)
GIS Tutorial 2: Spatial Analysis Workbook by David W. Allen (for ArcGIS 10 users)
GIS Tutorial 3: Advanced Workbook by David W. Allen (for ArcGIS 10 users)
GIS Tutorial: Workbook for ArcView 9 by Wilpen L. Gorr (For ArcGIS 9 users)
You can’t go wrong with a Dummies book.
GIS For Dummies by Micael N. DeMers