GIS Help Desk

Consultations by appointment:
help-desk@spatial.ucsb.edu

Do you need help with GIS?

As part of the Center’s effort to promote spatial thinking, techniques, and tools across campus, spatial@ucsb offers “GIS help desk” research consultations. The free service is staffed by a Center graduate student and is open to the entire campus community. The primary focus is on research design and implementation for faculty, staff, and student projects. Also, the help desk serves as a point of departure to connect to the spatial resources available across campus, such as expert personnel, instructional materials, and software.

Since the consultation program began in 2008, support requests have ranged from simple cartographic design advice to complex, multistep spatial information modeling. Sample projects that have received technical support include:

  • inferring geographic location from documentary screenshots (Film & Media Studies)
  • estimating a parking capacity surface by integrating polygon- and polyline-based data (Department of Geography)
  • areas of endemism for insects (NCEAS)
  • assessing crime patterns near various categories of media distribution sites (Department of Communication)
  • routing police patrols to disrupt gang activity (Department of Economics)
  • identifying dangerous bridges with respect to pedestrian traffic (Department of Political Science)
  • assessing cartographic arrangement against spatial cognition (Department of Psychology)
  • prescribing maintenance schedules for campus roads, parking lots and paths by quantitatively modeling condition (Design and Construction Services)

Students and interested researchers are encouraged to contact help-desk@spatial.ucsb.edu for a consultation appointment.

For support with Esri software licenses and ArcGIS Online, and additional support finding and using appropriate spatial data, please contact the Map and Imagery Laboratory at milrefdesk@library.ucsb.edu.

Visitor Presentations

Date Speaker Title Abstract
11/29/2012 Paul Wilson,
General Electric Digital Energy
Mission-Critical Mobile Mapping [PDF Document]
05/30/2012 Pinde Fu,
ESRI
WebGIS: Principles and Applications [PDF Document]
02/23/2012 Markus Knauff,
University of Giessen
Space to Reason [PDF Document] [PDF Document]
02/09/2012 Simon Scheider,
University of Münster
Grounding Geographic Information in Perceptual Operations [PDF Document] [PDF Document]
02/03/2012 Werner Kuhn,
University of Münster
spatial@world—what concepts of spatial information are essential for science and society? [PDF Document]
10/06/2011 Ashton Shortridge,
Michigan State University
Spatial Data Uncertainty For the Masses [PDF Document]
02/05/2009 Jennifer Light,
Northwestern University
Taking Games Seriously [PDF Document]
05/29/2008 Shashi Shekkar,
ESRI
Evacuation Route Planning: Novel Spatio-Temporal Network Models and Algorithms [PDF Document]
05/29/2008 Jack Dangermond, President of ESRI
Shoreh Elhami,
Co-founder and Chair, GISCorps
University to Inaugurate spatial@ucsb—Connecting our Region through GIS and Geospatial Technologies [PDF Document]
05/12/2008 Ann Harding,
NATSEM, University of Canberra
Creating Socio-Economic Household Data at the Small Area Level An Introduction to Spatial Microsimulation [PDF Document] [PDF Document]

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TeachSpatial

Teachspatial

TeachSpatial (http://teachspatial.org) implements suggestions from a multi-disciplinary Symposium on a Curriculum for Spatial Thinking. The symposium, organized by Diana Sinton, Mike Goodchild, and Don Janelle, was hosted by the University of Redlands in June 2008. Its purpose was to discuss the merits and content of a general curriculum course on spatial thinking. One of its recommendations was to establish a wiki site to promote the discussion and sharing of resources among instructors. TeachSpatial followed in early 2009—a collaborative web site devoted to promoting applications of spatial concepts and spatial tools in teaching and learning. The site features four parts:

  • Part 1 enumerates and defines core concepts of spatial thinking, presented in the original words of authors from (so far) 20 source documents.
  • Part 2 presents schemas that interpret, synthesize, and model aspects of spatial thinking that draw on and interact with selected concepts from Part 1.
  • Part 3 provides a venue for dialog within this community of interest, in individual and collective blogs and a discussion forum.
  • Part 4 will provide an archive of user-contributed resources for teaching and learning. An NSF-funded project to turn the Resources section into a spatial thinking Collection for the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) is under way.

For more information, visit  teachspatial.org

Spatial Courses at UCSB

In developing the UCSB academic Minor in Spatial Studies, the Center for Spatial Studies discovered that many courses offered at UCSB invoke spatial reasoning or concern spatial themes.

The Upper-Division undergraduate courses presented in this listing are approved for meeting credit requirements for the Minor in Spatial Studies. More than two dozen academic departments are represented, illustrating the pervasive presence of spatial thinking across knowledge domains.

Instructors and departments are encouraged to suggest courses that should be listed for the Minor. Please contact the Center for Spatial Studies.

See UCSB Spatial Courses.

Data Visualization

Data Visualization

The representation of statistical data is both art and science. Resources listed here provide examples of best practice and highlight innovations in visual display of information.

ColorBrewer is a web tool for selecting color schemes for thematic maps, used mostly for choropleth maps.

Gallery of Data Visualization. Michael Friendly displays examples of the best and worst of statistical graphics.

Explore innovative examples of data and knowledge visualization from the Parsons Institute for Information Mapping (PIIM), including the cartogram gallery, visual complexity, and the atlas of cyberspaces, and timeline of timelines.

A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods, from an article by Ralph Lengler & Martin J. Eppler; see Visual-Literacy.org for more information.

Smashing Magazine’s Data Visualization: Modern Approaches. Explore innovative approaches to data visualization.

Visual Complexity provides a resource about the visualization of complex networks as a means of leveraging a critical understanding of visualization methods, across a series of disciplines as diverse as biology, social networks, or the Web.

Online Map Viewers and Map Making

Online Map Viewers and Map Making

Web-based GIS mapping services are readily available for exploratory use, offering interactive map displays of selected variables.

American Fact Finder logo

American FactFinder provides tools for creating, viewing, printing, and downloading reference and thematic maps based on U.S. Census data. An online tutorial leads users through the mapping procedures.

ArcExplorer is ESRI’s GIS data viewer that lets you perform basic GIS functions (free).

GeoCommons provides tools enabling non-technical professionals to create interactive maps and to access geographic data in different formats (free). Also, explore current events with maps of the news.

Mapzen was a community-based mapping tool that allows contributions to OpenStreetMap and links with social networking sites. For related mapping tools within the framework of neo-geography for interactive Web and mobile mapping, see CloudMade.

Social Explorer logo

Social Explorer allows for visualization of demographic information about the United States from 1790 to present. Free edition and a more advanced subscription service.

      The Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, named

Social Explorer

      as an “

Outstanding Reference Source

    ” (the only online research tool featured among awardees in 2010)

US National Atlas Map Maker permits selection and mapping of multiple thematic layers.

Santa Barbara County Online GIS, My Property, allows users to access and map land and property data in relation to County Zoning, Land Use, Voting Precincts, School Districts, Political Boundaries, Flood Zones, and Fire Severity, etc.


Spatial Data & Map Links

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The following offer comprehensive listings of websites featuring diverse geo-spatial information at local to global scales from government, academic, and commercial sources:

[/learn_more] [learn_more caption=”Portals and Clearinghouses to Spatial Data and Imagery” state=”open”]

The Alexandria Digital Library (ADL) is named for the library of Alexandria, Egypt, once considered the center of all knowledge/learning. ADL is a digital library of geographically referenced materials that provides services to access these resources.

Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies and the University of Arkansas Libraries.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Resources for creating public health maps and for GIS and spatial analysis.

DATA.gov, established in 2009, gives access to raw data in multiple formats (XML, CSV/Text, KML/KMZ, Shapefile, etc.), data mining tools, and geospatial datasets from all agencies of the U.S. Federal Executive Branch. Extensive metadata are provided and users can search by keywords, general themes, and source agencies.

GIS Data Depot. Access to a broad range of data, some free and some fee based; requires proficiency in GIS software.

Go-Geo! Portal. An online resource discovery tool to identify and retrieve records on the content, quality, condition, and other characteristics of geospatial information within the U.K. and internationally.

Harvard Data Resources is from the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University.

Rutgers Cartography. Links to sources of maps, images, and data (GIS, transportation, Census, etc.).

GIS at Stanford

GIS@Tufts

[/learn_more] [learn_more caption=”International” state=”open”]

Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) is a WDC Clearinghouse for environmental data, metadata, and data tools relating to human interactions in the environment.

IPUMS-International. Census microdata samples from 44 countries from 1960 to the present.

NASA’s Global Change Master Directory enables users to locate and obtain access to Earth science data sets and services relevant to global change and Earth science research.

OpenStreetMap. A wiki map that allows users to view, edit, and use worldwide geographical data in a collaborative way.

ICSU World Data System provides access to a wide range of solar, geophysical, environmental, and human dimensions data covering timescales ranging from seconds to millennia.

World Wide Web (WWW) Virtual Library. Links to social sciences directories and data archives.

[/learn_more] [learn_more caption=”United States” state=”open”]

DATA.gov, established in 2009, gives access to raw data in multiple formats (XML, CSV/Text, KML/KMZ, Shapefile, etc.), data mining tools, and geospatial datasets from all agencies of the U.S. Federal Executive Branch. Extensive metadata are provided and users can search by keywords, general themes, and source agencies.

Historical Census Browser. Retrieves and maps U.S. Census data. Developed by the Geospatial and Statistical Data Center at the University of Virginia.

National Atlas

National Historical Geographic Information System. Provides aggregate census data and GIS-compatible boundary files for the U.S. between 1790 and 2000.

Minnesota Population Center is host to several significant data infrastructure projects, including IPUMS-USA (samples of the American population drawn from 15 censuses).

U.S. Census Data.

USGS National Geospatial Data Clearinghouse. Geospatial data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

QUADS is a web-based service for visualizing USGS quadrangles in Google Earth that provides an easy-to-use framework for retrieving georeferenced PDF topo maps from the USGS Store.

California Geographical Survey—exploring the world, one map at a time . . . Dr. William A. Bowen, professor of geography emeritus (Department of Geography, California State University, Northridge) has created a superb collection of digital maps and atlases, wall maps, flight movies over California landscapes, and other mapping resources. These materials are copyrighted and may only be used for teaching without expressed approval from Dr. Bowen. See the site for further details.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

[/learn_more] [learn_more caption=”California” state=”open”]

California Spatial Information Library

California Gap Analysis Project: Statewide Datasets

California Geographical Survey—exploring the world, one map at a time . . . Dr. William A. Bowen, professor of geography emeritus (Department of Geography, California State University Northridge) has created a superb collection of digital maps and atlases, wall maps, flight movies over California landscapes, and other mapping resources. These materials are copyrighted and may only be used for teaching without expressed approval from Dr. Bowen. See the site for futher details.

DATA.gov, established in 2009, gives access to raw data in multiple formats (XML, CSV/Text, KML/KMZ, Shapefile, etc.), data mining tools, and geospatial datasets from all agencies of the U.S. Federal Executive Branch. Extensive metadata are provided and users can search by keywords, general themes, and source agencies.

USGS Topographic Maps of California

Shaded Relief Map of California

[/learn_more] [learn_more caption=”Santa Barbara” state=”open”]

The City of Santa Barbara’s MAPS, Mapping Analysis and Printing System) delivers custom maps and reports of the City’s geographical information.

DATA.gov, established in 2009, gives access to raw data in multiple formats (XML, CSV/Text, KML/KMZ, Shapefile, etc.), data mining tools, and geospatial datasets from all agencies of the U.S. Federal Executive Branch. Extensive metadata are provided and users can search by keywords, general themes, and source agencies.

Santa Barbara County Spatial Data Catalog, Download local GIS data on agriculture, boundaries, culture, demographics, environmental hazards, hydraulics, planning, and transportation.

Santa Barbara County Online GIS, My Property, allows users to access and map land and property data in relation to County Zoning, Land Use, Voting Precincts, School Districts, Political Boundaries, Flood Zones, and Fire Severity, etc.

Historical maps and text on the Goleta Slough. Explore the collection of Professor Harry Nelson (UCSB Department of Physics). Also, see the circa 1782 map of what is now the campus.

[/learn_more] [learn_more caption=”Historical Maps and Cultural Data Resources” state=”open”]

David Rumsey Map Collection has over 20,000 maps and image, including rare 18th- and 19th- century North American and South American maps and other cartographic materials.

The Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative (ECAI) is an international project to develop and distribute digital data on historical and archaeological resources.

[/learn_more] [learn_more caption=”Human-environment Interactions” state=”open”]

Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) is a WDC Clearinghouse for environmental data, metadata, and data tools relating to human interactions in the environment.

NASA’s Global Change Master Directory enables users to locate and obtain access to Earth science data sets and services relevant to global change and Earth science research.

ICSU World Data System provides access to a wide range of solar, geophysical, environmental, and human dimensions data covering timescales ranging from seconds to millennia.

[/learn_more]

Spatial Analysis Research Tools

A portal to software tools for the analysis of geographically referenced data, including cartographic display, geographic information systems, remote sensing, spatial econometrics, and space-time modeling approaches.
Geospatial Analysis

Access free web version of Geospatial Analysis: A Comprehensive Guide to Principles, Techniques and Software Tools, 3rd Ed., by Michael J. de Smith, Michael F. Goodchild, and Paul A. Longley (2006–2009).

The NIH Advanced Spatial Analysis Training Program (Pennsylvania State University and the University of California Santa Barbara) provides information about selected tools in spatial analysis, updated in August 2013 with links to free or for-pay software, tutorials, and suggested guides, books, and articles.

[learn_more caption=”Geographic Information Systems” state=”close”]

ArcGIS is an integrated collection of GIS software products that offer a standards-based platform for spatial analysis, data management, and mapping.

IDRISI is a comprehensive GIS software for analysis and display of spatial imagery and data.

My World is a GIS designed to support inquiry-based learning for middle-school through college classrooms.

GRASS (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System) is a free GIS software for geospatial data management and analysis, image processing, graphics/maps production, spatial modeling, and visualization.

Quantum GIS is a free open-source Geographic Information System.

uDig stands for User-friendly, Desktop, Internet, GIS. It is a Java-based open-source desktop GIS that requires familiarity with Java.

GDAL is a Geospatial Data Abstraction Library for translating raster geospatial data

A listing of GIS commercial software products

A listing of open-source GIS software products

A listing of GIS Software on Wikipedia.

For more information on GIS, see GIS Resources.
[/learn_more] [learn_more caption=”Spatial Statistics and Spatial Econometrics” state=”close”]

AI Geostats Software FAQ. A starting point for any search for general GIS and spatial analysis software, maintained by Gregoire Dubois.

CrimeSTAT is a spatial statistics program for the analysis of crime incident locations and other data represented as points. Runs in Microsoft Windows and should be used with a desktop GIS.

FragStats provides computation of a wide variety of landscape metrics for categorical map patterns.

GeoDa provides exploratory spatial data analysis tools developed by Luc Anselin and colleagues.

Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) is a statistical technique that allows variations in relationships over space to be measured within a single modeling framework. The output from GWR is a set of surfaces, each surface depicting the spatial variation of a relationship.

MLwiN provides tools for multi-level modeling and analysis.

R is a programming language for statistics and related graphics that is in wide use for research and instruction. As open-source software, it is free of charge and expandable with user-created packages. Roger Bivand maintains an excellent overview of contributed packages for the analysis of spatial data in R.

SaTScan is a free software that analyzes data using spatial, temporal, or space-time scan statistics.

Spatial Analysis for Macroecology. SAM provides statistical tools for the analysis of patterns and processes that are geographically structured; it is used mainly for applications in Macroecology and Biogeography.

STARS (Space Time Analysis of Regional Systems) is an exploratory data analysis package designed for variables measured on geographical units over time.

TerraSeer provides a suite of software packages, for analyzing spatial clusters, bounary effects, and space-time patterns.

WinBUGS / GeoBUGS allows for estimation of models (including spatial models) by means of the Gibbs sampler/Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods.
[/learn_more] [learn_more caption=”Geo-visualization” state=”close”]

ColorBrewer is a web tool for selecting color schemes for thematic maps, used mostly for choropleth maps.

GeoVista Studio Project. An open software development environment for geospatial data analysis, exploratory spatial data analysis, and knowledge discovery.

Tobler’s Flow Mapper allows for depiction of flows on a map by arrows scaled to the levels of interaction among spatial units (e.g., migration flows).
[/learn_more] [learn_more caption=”Global Positioning System (GPS) Learning/Research Resources” state=”close”] Trimble: All About GPS

USDA Forest Service GPS

SwopNet GPS Waypoint DataBank

The GPS — A Revolution for Cars!
[/learn_more]

Research Resources

Linked Data for GIScience

This page is a starter pack for faculty, students, and developers, who are interested in applying Linked Data solutions in the context of GIScienceRead more.

e-Scholarship, Spatial Archives

The Center for Spatial Studies is creating an archive through the California Digital Library’s e-Scholarship initiative to preserve in perpetuity, and to enhance access to, the publications of NCGIA and CSISS… Read more.

UCSB Spatial Review

The UCSB Spatial Review is a web resource about spatial perspectives in research at UCSB that is intended to build connections across campus to spur research development, consultation, and innovation. It will feature vignettes about the research of departments, programs, centers, and individual scholars. Download the Tools for Map Making Resource Review for UCSB [PDF]

Spatial Analysis Research Tools

A portal to software tools that facilitate analysis of geographically referenced data, including cartographic representation, geographic information systems, remote sensing, spatial econometrics, and space-time modeling approaches. Read more.

Spatial Data & Map Links

This provides starting points for finding geo-referenced data, boundary files, and digital maps. It includes links to comprehensive web portals and to data collections for selected geographical regions and for a broad range of thematic topics.

Online Map Viewers and Map Making

Web-based GIS mapping services are readily available for exploratory use, offering interactive map displays of selected variables.


Classics in Spatial Thinking

The foundations of spatial analysis span many disciplines over many generations of researchers and practitioners. CSISS Classics provides summaries and illustrations of major contributions to spatial thinking in the social sciences. Primary emphasis is given to research before 1980, with an attempt to capture and acknowledge the repository of spatial thinking in the social sciences for the last few centuries. The summaries, along with key references, are intended as guides for those interested in exploring intellectual inheritance from previous generations.

CSISS Classics: available on eScholarship as part of our Spatial Archives.