Support for Spatial Research
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).