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 a help desk, training, consulting, and events (see Table 1). U-Spatial has been integral to making the U of M one of the world’s first “Spatial University” at a time 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 purposely 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 is a lean center that collaborates with departments and centers, seeking to meet 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.
Table 1. U-Spatial Central Core Contacts
|Year||Help Desk||Training Workshops||Events|
U-Spatial was originally funded for $2.5 million over 2011-2016, two-thirds of which is from the Office of Vice President for Research (OVPR) Infrastructure Investment Initiative and one-third is contributed by the units listed below. Learn more about U-Spatial from this book chapter, “U-Spatial: Support for Research and Teaching at the Spatial University.”
College of Design
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
College of Liberal Arts
College of Science and Engineering
Center for Urban and Regional Affairs
Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Institute on the Environment
Minnesota Population Center
Office of Information Technology
School of Public Health
UMD Geospatial Analysis Center
University of Minnesota Extension Service
University of Minnesota Libraries