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Specialist Meeting

The Center for Spatial Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara organized and hosted a specialist meeting about the smart campus. The meeting brought together academic and industry representatives with interest in conceiving, designing, and building a smart campus. It combined “thinking big” (asking what will make campuses smarter in the future) with “acting small” (focusing on specific organizational and technological measures and their evaluation).

Call for papers  [PDF Document] View the Flyer  [PDF Document]    View the Final Report  [PDF Document]

Advancing the Spatially Enabled Smart Campus

December 11–12, 2013


Making our daily environments smart through technologies has been on research and political agendas for more than three decades, with a primary interest in the outdoor environments of cities. Smart city projects are now found worldwide, focusing on sustainability, e-governance, transportation, health, etc. by deploying innovative technologies for sensing, social networking, and knowledge integration. To some extent, campuses can be seen as “small cities,” raising similar concerns for a particular kind of population. Additionally, smart campuses have their own challenges and opportunities, e.g., the support of creativity and interdisciplinary collaboration in science or the involvement of technologically savvy students. Spatial thinking and computing are thought to be key enablers for all these aspects of smart campuses, but this case needs to be made more effectively with university administrators and domain scientists.

Participants  addressed three general categories of questions:

I. General Perspectives on Smart Campuses:

  • What services should a smart campus provide?
  • How do smart campuses contribute to sustainability?
  • Are there best-practice examples of smart campuses?

II. Geospatial and Technological Pre-requisites for Smart Campus Implementations:

  • What sensor and other networks are needed to enable smart campus services?
  • How are mobile information and communication technologies (ICT) best integrated into the implementation of the smart campus?
  • What are the design features of a dashboard for organizing and displaying the availability and results of smart campus implementations?
  • How might volunteered geographic information (VGI) inform the design and evaluation of smart campus services?
  • How can geospatially enabled ICT/VGI contribute an understanding of diurnal and seasonal demographics of campus buildings and spaces?

III. Integrating Smart Campuses into the Intellectual Mission of Educational Institutions

  • How do smart campus implementations contribute to intellectual development of educational institutions?
  • How might smart campus databases and resources contribute to teaching and research opportunities for students/faculty?
  • What strategies are most successful for engaging students in the implementation and assessment of smart campuses?
  • How are the possibilities and accomplishments of smart campuses transferred to broader communities (cities, states, nations, industries, etc.)?


This meeting outlined new frontiers for smart campus research and deployment. It  formulated scenarios of future campuses, defined a prioritized list of services, and identified research needs to realize them. Experiences with smart cities and scenarios from that area will serve as inspiration and reality check. The unique challenges resulting from academic environments were identified and related to the radical transformation of how universities enable learning, discovery, and invention. A particular focus combined state-of-the-art smart campuses with spatially enabled knowledge infrastructures and sensor networks.


About 35 experts and graduate students convened to share and develop visions, insights, and best practices for future smart campuses. Plenary presentations and intense exchanges in small breakout discussion groups offered opportunities to develop:

  • alternative and complementary scenarios for a “Smart Campus 2025”;
  • research agendas in several areas (technology, institutional, and social aspects); and
  • a repository of ongoing smart-campus projects, highlighting best practices.

The meeting will achieve long-term impact by:

  • publishing on research that enables smart campuses;
  • exchanging best practices in a globalized Linked Universities network (http://linkeduniversities.org/); and
  • formulating the case for space to university administrators, highlighting sustainability, knowledge sharing, student involvement, safety, and other perspectives.

Location, Dates, and Organizers


      Upham Hotel
      1404 De La Vina St.
      Santa Barbara
      California 93101



Wednesday, December 11 and Thursday, December 12


Donald Janelle, Werner Kuhn, Mo Lovegreen (Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara) Michael Gould (Esri)

Last modified: September 11, 2014