UCSB Campus GIS Services and Activities

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) services and activities take place in a number of different arenas on campus.  This page describes some, but by no means all, of the resources available to UCSB affiliates and the local community.

Center for Spatial Studies

Spatial@UCSB is dedicated to promoting campus-wide spatially related events, research, and teaching for all disciplines that share interest in the importance of spatial thinking in science and in artistic endeavors, the development of spatial analytic tools, and the importance of place in society.

Spatial Minor

Undergraduate students can choose to minor in Spatial Studies.  More than 150 courses, on diverse topics such as religious studies and cognitive psychology, qualify towards the minor.

Help desk

Since 2008, Spatial has sponsored a drop-in consulting service for research design and implementation for faculty, staff, and graduate student projects. The help desk serves as a starting point to connect with spatial resources available around campus, such as expert personnel, instructional materials, and software.  Geography PhD student Song Gao (sgao [at] geog [dot] ucsb [dot] edu) leads the held desk effort for the 2013-14 academic year.

ThinkSpatial Brown Bags and other special events

Spatial@UCSB hosts a regular series of lunchtime research presentations and technical talks.  More information is on their events page.  The Spatial Center also coordinates UCSB's GIS Day, celebrated each spring with a gathering of GIS specialists from around the Santa Barbara region.  spatial @ ucsb.local.2014 will be held June 6, 2014, with the theme "Spatially Enabled Smart Places."

Geography Department

The Geography Department is home to UCSB's signature GIS (176-A-B-C) and remote sensing (115-A-B-C) course sequences.  Teaching labs have full suites of ESRI, ENVI, and other geo-analysis software tools.  

Undergraduate and graduate education

Offering BA, BS, MA, and doctoral degrees, the Geography Department is widely acknowledged as one of the world's best.  See their website for information on admissions and course offerings

The Interactive Campus Map

A project of the Geography Department, the ICM offers the most comprehensive view of campus in an easy to use web interface.  MIL can provide you with the current data that is used to create the map, along with snapshots of earlier versions.

Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

Offering the two-year professional Master of Environmental Science & Management (MESM) and PhD in Environmental Science & Management degrees, the Bren School is home to many researchers employing GIS systems for their work.  Along with a dedicated course (ESM 263), Landscape Ecology (ESM215) includes a strong GIS component.

ESRI Site License

Several departments share responsibility for providing an educational license for the ESRI suite of desktop and server GIS software. The license is administered jointly by the UCSB Library and the Geography Department.

  • Any UCSB user can install the software on UC-owned equipment. 
    • Geography, Marine Science Institute, Bren School, and Library faculty and staff should contact their departmental technical support personnel for access to the software and support.  
    • All other departments should contact MIL for information about the license.  milrefdesk [at] library [dot] ucb [dot] edu. 893-2779.
  • Students, faculty, and staff are eligible for 12-month licenses for their personal computers.  Contact milrefdesk [at] library [dot] ucb [dot] edu from a UCSB email address to request a license or just stop by the Library!