Spatial Center Receives NSF Grant

Center for Spatial Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara participating in NSF C-Accel Pilot

View the complete news release at:

The Center of Spatial Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara is receiving research funding under the Open Knowledge Network track of the new Convergence Accelerator Pilot (C-Accel) by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Prof. Krzysztof Janowicz leads a diverse team of partners from academia, industry, and federal agencies. The team will develop Artificial Intelligence based models, methods, and services for representing,  retrieving, linking, and predicting spatial and temporal data from a highly diverse set of public knowledge graphs that range across topics such as soil health and the historic slave trade. 

This new NSF Convergence Accelerator Pilot program is set to “bring teams together to focus on grand challenges of national importance that require a convergence approach […] and have a high probability of resulting in deliverables that will benefit society within a fixed term.” NSF is funding several teams under this program in an effort that will lead to the development of public knowledge graphs which in turn have “the potential to drive innovation across all areas of science and engineering, and unleash the power of data and artificial intelligence to achieve scientific discovery and economic growth.” The funding program is highly competitive and had an acceptance rate of only 8.5%.

GIS Help Desk Workshops

Past Workshops

Introduction to GIS using ArcGIS

Date & Time: Monday, May 23, 2016, 09:00am–11:00am
Location: UCSB Library Collaboratory
(2nd floor on the mountain side near the courtyard entrance, map)
Description: No prior knowledge of GIS is necessary to attend. This is a 2-hour introduction to digital spatial data in which you will learn to:

  • Visualize spatial data in a geographic information system
  • Explore different ArcGIS tools for spatial analysis, including overlay analysis and choropleth mapping
  • Identify 7 common file formats used with spatial data
  • Learn about data resources available to you at the UCSB Library
  • Produce a map to print or share online

Laptop Introduction to ArcGIS Pro

Date & Time: Wednesday, February 17, 2016, 11:00am–1:00pm
Location: UCSB Library Collaboratory
(2nd floor on the mountain side near the courtyard entrance, map)
Description: ArcGIS Pro, the newest application included with ArcGIS 10.3 for Desktop, is designed to help GIS professionals complete their projects and share their results more quickly and easily than ever before. With its modern ribbon interface and tight integration of 2D and 3D capabilities, ArcGIS Pro will streamline the way you do your GIS work.
Instructor: Song Gao

Laptop Installation of ArcGIS Desktop

Date & Time: Friday, January 22, 2016, 1:00–5:00 pm
Location: UCSB Library Collaboratory
(2nd floor on the mountain side near the courtyard entrance, map)
Description: Hands-on tutorial on installing Esri ArcGIS Software
Instructor: Song Gao

Architecture and Mind Research Focus Group

The UCSB Architecture and Mind Research Focus Group (RFG) is a forum comprised of faculty, graduate students, and design practitioners. Convened for the 2015-2016 academic year by Professors Volker Welter (History of Art and Architecture), Mary Hegarty (Psychological and Brain Sciences), and Daniel Montello (Geography), the group discusses design, aesthetics, and human experience.

The group is dedicated to readings about and discussions of the various ways in which the humanities, cognitive psychology, and behavioral/cognitive geography examine and think about human comprehension of space and place, orientation within a designed environment, perception of architectural and aesthetic details, and architecture’s relations to both the human body and mind.

During a recent visit to Los Angeles, the group enjoyed an exploration of the Schindler House, in West Hollywood, and the Eames House, in Pacific Palisades, taking a break for lunch at the L.A. Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax. Experiencing these homes and public spaces brought this year’s readings on spatial orientation, social interaction, and perception to life.


The Schindler House, constructed in 1922, is notable for its extension of indoor space to outdoor living areas and is one of Rudolph Schindler’s most important surviving works. It also notable for its experimental domestic design, intended to support the co-habitation of two married couples, Rudolph and Pauline Schindler, and Clyde and Marian Chace. The research group engaged with the home by writing their impressions of the physical spaces within the home. The group also learned about preservation efforts during a tour of the home.


Following the visit to the Schindler House, the group toured another experiment in domestic dwelling. The Eames House, finished in 1949, was part of the The Case Study House Program, constructed with modular industrial-grade materials and intended to serve as both a home and an artists’ studio. The theme of transparency, extending interior space to the exterior, was reinforced by the house’s characteristic glass walls.

At the next Architecture and Mind meeting, members of the RFG look forward to assessing the group’s reactions to the spaces, and discussing the role that these homes played as microcosms of greater social shifts revolutionizing the modern domestic sphere.

The Interdisciplinary Humanities Center (IHC) supports this research group, and the Center for Spatial Studies subsidized the cost of the field trip.

For more information about the RFG, please see:

GIS Day@UCSB Geography

geo_awareness_weekGIS day is the third Wednesday of November in each year, during the Geography Awareness Week. As a global event, GIS day provides a great opportunity for GIS users and researchers to exchange ideas and present works to a wide audience. To celebrate this special day for spatial studies, we will hold a lightning talk on Wednesday November 18 at 12pm at the UCSB Center for Spatial Studies.

Pizza and drinks will be served. RSVP via

Workshop on Spatial Thinking CFP @ COSIT

The Center for Spatial Studies invites you to participate in the

Workshop on Teaching Spatial Thinking from Interdisciplinary Perspectives (SPATIALTHINKING2015)


When: October 12, 2015
Where: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
Collocated with Conference on Spatial Information Theory XII (COSIT 2015)
Workshop URI:
Hashtag: #SpatialThinking2015

Summer Workshop on Spatio-Temporal Analysis

logoSEDr. Giuseppe Amatulli of Yale University will be hosting a summer workshop on “Spatio-temporal analysis and big data processing using free and open source software“, open to anyone with interest. The class will be 1 week long from July 16,17 and 20-22 and no previous experience with programming or command line interface is assumed or required. Cost is $450 and more details can be found here:

Please email with any questions.

geo_linux_leyersOver the last few decades there has been an explosion in the availability of data for environmental research, and in particular for spatio-temporal analysis. We are now able to address a number of important questions, both new and old, with unprecedented rigor and generality. Leveraging these exciting new data streams requires tools and increasingly complex workflows. This 6-day course introduces a set of free and open source software (BASH, AWK ,GDAL, GRASS, R, Python, PKTOOLS, OFGT) to perform spatio-temporal analysis and modelling of environmental data in a Linux environment. We also introduce multi-core, cloud and cluster computation procedures using High Performance Computing – Amazon Web Services. The course consists of a set of lectures and practical hands-on sessions in which participants perform spatial and temporal analysis using Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing concepts. Although courses focuses on the command line instead of the graphical user interface, no prior experience with programming or command line interfaces is assumed or required. To cater to students with prior programming experience, we will hold parallel sessions that introduce more advanced material (e.g. parallel processing) . Our main focus is on teaching self learning and problem solving more than the use of specific tools so participants will be able to progress and adapt to learn the newest available data science techniques.

Energy Challenges in the Developing World

Friday, February 6, 2015 from 12pm to 2pm in SSMS 2001, UCSB

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Sponsored by: Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies (Research Cluster); Interdisciplinary Humanities Center (Research Focus Group); and the College for Letters & Science.

“Join us for an Open House with faculty and graduate students working on research related to energy issues as these intersect with themes of development. Scholars from all backgrounds are welcome, particularly in the humanities and social sciences.

As climate change threatens communities worldwide, how to transition to cleaner sources of energy remains a global challenge. For developing countries, the stakes are high: they must simultaneously respond to climate change impacts and strive to develop using more expensive, fossil fuel-free energy sources. In this context, what have been developing countries’ approaches to energy policy and fuels? How are these challenged by the current pressure to switch to cleaner energies, and with what effects? What have developing countries been doing to participate in new markets for fuels and energy technologies, and respond to new energy challenges, like for mobile technologies that are increasingly important not just in cities but also in rural areas across Africa and Latin America? Can developing countries benefit from new energy sources, like lithium used in electric cars? Or are fossil fuels still black gold, as Brazil’s and Ghana’s recent oil discoveries suggest? These are some of the questions our research cluster is thinking about, and we hope you will join us.”


UCGIS Webinar: Spatial Universities

The University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) invites you to join for their next webinar, The How and Why of Spatial Universities, on Tuesday, December 2, 4-5pm EST (1-2pm PST).

The How and Why of Spatial Universities (link)

by Dr. David Cowen, Professor Emeritus of Geography, University of South Carolina

As the presence and use of geospatial technologies expands in higher education, the idea of a “spatial university” is emerging. Many believe that the identification of exemplary universities that foster spatial thinking and research across the campus would elevate the structure of our discipline, provide an avenue for highlighting particularly strong programs, and add prestige to selected universities. These ideas have begun to be explored during a recent Specialist’s Meeting at UC Santa Barbara and by Esri, but the final vision remains open. Ideally the process would encourage innovation and provide examples of best practices to be replicated across other institutions. First, however, there must be wide-spread acceptance by a broad GIS community of criteria and metrics that reflect success and quality.

This webinar will focus on the merits of identifying spatial universities and describe scenarios and alternatives for their selection. We will present feedback on this initiative that has been gathered at previous forums, and provide an opportunity for UCGIS members and others to express their opinions about the concept.  Read more.

Spatial Cognition 2014

The Center for Spatial Studies invites you to participate in Spatial Cognition 2014.

Bremen, Germany, 15–19 September 2014

Spatial Cognition is concerned with the acquisition, organization, and utilization of knowledge about spatial objects and environments, be it real, virtual, or abstract, human or machine. Spatial Cognition comprises research in different scientific fields insofar as they are concerned with cognitive agents and space, such as cognitive psychology, linguistics, computer science, philosophy, and education. Research issues in the field range from the investigation of human spatial cognition to mobile robot navigation, including aspects such as wayfinding, spatial planning, spatial learning, internal and external representations of space, and communication of spatial information. SC 2014 will bring together researchers working on spatial cognition from all these perspectives. Read more.