Stuck?  Confused?  Ask for help!

The Map & Imagery Laboratory provides free reference service to all. UC students and staff doing UC research have access to a number of additional services for free. Fees are charged for non-UC sponsored research and commercial use of our collections.

On-site assistance in MIL is available by appointment only. To view maps, make arrangements to retrieve materials from storage, use our computer workstations to access restricted resources, or get help identifying useful data and tools for your projects, please contact us to make an appointment. We can be contacted via email at milrefdesk [at] library [dot] ucsb [dot] edu or phone at (805) 893-2779.  

Research Assistance

Need help identifying relevant GIS data or printed maps for a project? Ask MIL! MIL has one of the nation's largest collections of spatial information ready for your use. However, only about half of our collection has been cataloged. To get the most out of our collection, talk to MIL staff about the type of resources you are looking for. MIL staff will help identify relevant maps, GIS data, aerial photographs and remote sensing imagery. See our Collections page for information about our available resources.  Research assistance and access to the Network Data Collection is also available in the Library's Interdisciplinary Research Collaboratory, open Sunday through Thursday 1-8, Friday and Saturday 1-5 during the academic term.

Assistance with GIS projects is available from MIL. We are most prepared to discuss:

  • Spatial data resources purchased, licensed, or created by MIL, including vector and raster data and our extensive collection of historical aerial imagery
  • The conversion of analog cartographic materials into digital formats
  • Locating spatial data online and evaluating that data for use in your projects

We also host the UCSB Campus GIS email discussion list.

Spatial Help Desk

The Map & Imagery Laboratory works closely with the Center for Spatial Studies' Spatial Help Desk.

This consultation program offers assistance from simple cartographic design to complex, multi-step spatial information modeling.  Since 2008, the Help Desk has complemented the support that MIL is able to offer Library users, and we frequently refer users. Help Desk is prepared to assist where MIL generally stops:

  • selecting appropriate GIS tools or spatial analyses for projects
  • identifying spatial patterns that might be hidden in datasets
  • the design and construction of spatial databases
  • advanced mapping & geovisualization

Geography PhD candidate Song Gao runs the Help Desk, and is available by appointment and email at sgao [at] geog [dot] ucsb [dot] edu.