If it's difficult to get your hands on Arc GIS software, to make your own maps and create your own mapping applications, there are several options around campus- including the libraries.
The Borchert Map Library has ArcView software installed on the ten computers in our Automated Cartographic Information Center. The hours for the Map Library can be found here on their website. They also provide some assistance for creating and manipulating your data. Also, I've been told that ArcView software is on the computers in lab HHH 50 (open 8am to 6pm, M-F) in Blegen.
We have GIS data too. Take a look at the list of GIS information that the library subscribes to at http://map.lib.umn.edu/gisdata.html