The Nexus of U of M's Spatial Community
U-Spatial is a nationally recognized model that serves and drives a fast-growing need for expertise in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing, and spatial computing across the University. This infrastructure eliminates duplication and fragmentation of resources by providing a framework of spatial data, equipment, and expertise. In its first five years of operation, U-Spatial has supported over 2,000 researchers across 150 departments and centers at the University through the help desk, training, consulting, and events. U-Spatial has been integral to making the U of M one of the world’s first "Spatial Universities" at a time when public and private sector interest in spatial thinking and approaches is increasing exponentially. A dedicated hub site demonstrates the depth and breadth of our university's commitment to thinking spatially:
While we collaborate closely with large research centers and programs, U-Spatial also seeks to serve researchers working in the so-called “long tail” of the scientific enterprise. These are often smaller projects that cannot support full-time spatial research staff, but with a little help from U-Spatial, cumulatively provide a good deal of critical research that advances the many missions of a land-grant university and offer disproportionately great benefits.
U-Spatial is part of Research Computing, a center in the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) at the University of Minnesota that consolidates management of research computing services. U-Spatial collaborates with a variety of departments and centers, seeking to meet the fast-growing demand for core services such as the help desk and training, while creating new opportunities and synergies around spatial research, teaching, and service. U-Spatial has been nationally recognized in many venues as a leading model for how universities can successfully integrate spatial data, visualization, analysis, and spatial thinking.
U-Spatial has two locations, our lab in 420 Blegen Hall on the Twin Cities campus and U-Spatial @UMD, located in 389 Kirby Plaza. The help desk can be reached via email ([email protected]).
Building The Spatial University
Featuring authors and editors from all over UMN, this book from Springer centers on the development of U-Spatial. Against a backdrop of the changing nature of research, teaching, and service in higher education, the story of U-Spatial anchors a broader discussion of what it means to be a spatial university. This narrative framing demonstrates—with specific examples—the importance of institutions offering dedicated spatial research infrastructure. This volume discusses the concept of The Spatial University as part of the broad growth of spatial science and the need for spatial infrastructure in colleges and universities.
U-Spatial Advisory Committee
The U-Spatial Advisory Committee convenes twice a year to provide expert feedback on U-Spatial’s ongoing commitments, developments, and initiatives. The faculty and staff that serve on the U-Spatial Advisory Committee are listed on the Governance page of the Research Computing website.