spatial@ucsb is committed to sharing its developments with professional organizations, researchers, instructors, students, and the general public. We can assist in the following ways:

  • Provide contact information to UCSB experts in various areas of spatial analytic science and spatial thinking
  • Identify speakers for presentations on spatial and geographical topics as well as experts for commentary on news events from spatial and geographical perspectives
  • Assist with tours of UCSB research facilities related to spatial@ucsb
  • Host meetings and events for both campus and non-campus groups to share technologies, perspectives, and experiences (see our spatial@ucsb.local events).
spatial@ucsb brochure

Local GIS Community

spatial@ucsb offers geo-spatial support to local-area and UCSB planners and policy makers seeking to integrate GIS and information-communication technologies for spatial analysis and planning to meet land use, environmental, transportation, and hazard-response/community-safety objectives. For this reason, we organize annual spatial@ucsb.local events.

CrisisCamp Santa Barbara

Daily, people across the world can find themselves in crisis. Whether it is caused by a natural disaster or an ongoing situation of social distress, and whether it is for a day or a month, we all experience a common need to connect with loved ones, access information, and offer humanitarian assistance to those in need.

CrisisCamp, organized by CrisisCommons.org and spatial@ucsb (Center for Spatial Studies, UCSB), is a project intended to bring together domain experts, developers, and first responders to collaborate in improving technology and practice for humanitarian crisis management and disaster relief. CrisisCamps are hosted in a barcamp style, where great minds come together to share their knowledge and expertise for social good.

The first CrisisCamp in Santa Barbara was held on Saturday, February 20, 2010, from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Volunteers came together to collaborate on technology projects that aim to assist in relief and recovery efforts by providing data, information, maps, and technical assistance to NGOs, relief agencies, and the public. This camp focused on two very relevant themes: Haiti relief and Santa Barbara-area crisis preparedness, applying the technology created and lessons learned from the OSM Haiti coordination to our local area.

The event was free of charge and open to the public, including both technical and non-technical experts. Workday volunteers included Micah Brachman, Jason Burgdorfer, Chad Catacchio (Crisiscommons.org), Zach Chehayeb, Kitty Currier, Andrew Fox (USDA APHIS), Linna Li, Alan Glennon, Rhonda Glennon (ESRI), and Nick Santos. Catacchio and Li worked on online tools and workflows to better share real-time crisis information. Geography undergraduates Jason, Zach, and Nick made great strides in an open source map of Santa Barbara-area police, fire, and medical facilities. Results and project updates can be found at: http://osm.org and http://crisiscommons.org.

For more information, please contact Chad Catacchio: crisiscampsb@gmail.com. Additional information can be obtained at CrisisCommons: http://crisiscommons.org or CrisisCamp on Twitter: @CrisisCampSB.

Marking the 120th Meridian—May 24, 2008

120th Meridian plague held by Michael Goodchild 120th Meridian Marker

A mere 8 miles west of Goleta, California lies a monumental (and previously invisible) geospatial point of reference: 120 degrees west, or more simply put, 1/3 of the way around the earth. This longitudinal line is a major global point of reference for projection systems, serving as the dividing line between zones 10 and 11 in the Universal Transverse Mercator projection system. It also has the disadvantageous effect of being the dividing point between many local geospatial datasets. As such, this line has been a source of vexation for local GIS professionals and students who have had to spatially merge datasets divided by it. Rather than focus on the functional difficulties presented by the proximity to 120 degrees west, Dr. Michael Goodchild and the spatial@ucsb staff decided to locate, mark, and then celebrate this local geo-celebrity. Twenty robust revelers gathered on May 24, 2008 to permanently erect a plaque on the exact point that the 120th meridian crosses the south side of the historic Camino Real near US Highway 101 exit 116. The location, identified through a high-precision GPS survey done with the help of Dr. Douglas Burbank and doctoral candidate Brian Clarke (UCSB Earth Sciences), lies on private land; permission should be obtained before visiting this location. The spatial@ucsb research associates and staff thank Dr. Burbank, Brian Clark, Condor Precision Machining, and Santa Barbara Industrial Finishing for their help and support of this project.

SCALE: Spatial Connections around our Local Environment—2006–2009

Studying a map

Children looking at sand underwater

Children today have few opportunities to freely explore open fields, meadows, creeks, woods, or even the neighborhoods in which they live. Unorganized and unsupervised exploration, however, teaches them spatial reasoning skills in geographic space-skills that cannot be learned by indoor play or passive vehicular movement. As more traditional outdoor activities have less and less place in children’s daily routines, educators in K-12 and higher education face the challenge of teaching basic geographic principles that in the past were obtained as a matter of course by outdoor play and pensive observation of nature. Although an initiative like spatial@ucsb cannot give back children’s freedom to roam the woods and fields freely, we are making a conscious effort to teach them both awareness of natural processes in the outdoors and technical skills of spatial literacy that help them record, interpret, and communicate those processes. In response to an initiative by Kate Eschelbach, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ventura, we are facilitating students’ hands-on learning experience by developing a lesson plan for 6th graders through collaboration with science teachers in two local schools in Guadalupe and Ventura. In addition to teaching about environmental topics (e.g., watersheds) and basic concepts of spatial literacy (e.g., scale), our goal is to encourage students to ask critical questions about the environment in which they live, and to teach them how to present their newly acquired knowledge in a peer-to-peer learning environment.

SCALE is beginning its third year of project work in 6th grade classrooms. During the previous two years, 6th grade students have been exposed to critical spatial thinking skills both in the classroom and out in the local environment. The classroom activities focus on spatial theory and techniques with local species, habitats, and land uses in their watershed as the theme for application. A field component allows the students to visit the areas they see on the maps to understand the connections between people, habitats, and wildlife, and to use spatial techniques first hand. The capstone of the curriculum is a final presentation where the students present both the data they collected and their findings about their research topic.

spatial@ucsb sees its involvement in this initiative as an opportunity to share the resources UCSB has to offer to the wider community, and to contribute to children’s heightened awareness of natural phenomena that can potentially lead to career development and citizen involvement.

Last modified: September 8, 2014