The Geospatial Analysis Center (GAC) in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota Duluth is a student workforce-driven geographic information systems (GIS) services organization with statewide visibility and relevance. GAC has a decade-long record of external contract work with state agencies, counties, and regional organizations. The Center's staff also provide assistance in classrooms and research projects across campus. GAC supports the UMD GIS program by raising its visibility and demonstrating high-quality consulting services as well as supporting the development of a workforce that is well-prepared for graduate school and the GIS industry.
Services may include project design, identification of system and data needs, data acquisition, budget estimates, analysis or oversight of a project. Data storage and hardware checkout is also available. The Center is also a resource for technological advancement information in the fields of remote sensing, geographic data analysis, and global positioning systems.
The mission of the GAC to "promote and facilitate the sustainable integration of geospatial tools and perspectives into UMD teaching, research, service, and operational activities"
GAC maintains 10 workstations with dual 24” monitors, featuring state-of-the art hardware and software. Four virtual data servers provide data storage and web-mapping software. A 4-terabyte server provides file storage for the spatial data library, student workspaces (including GIS program students), and password-protected project directories. A second virtual server hosts the ArcGIS Server software and production applications and live web services and an identical server provides the ArcGIS Server development environment for teaching and research projects. The fourth server is a satellite DNR drs (data resource service) server. This server is owned by GAC but managed and updated by the DNR remotely. GAC benefits from local stores of DNR data and the DNR application “Quicklayers” to access these data. The data and application are used widely in GAC and GIS courses.
Virtual desktops are also available for overnight or intensive processing as needed. Peripheral hardware available includes a large format printer and scanner (44”), Trimble GeoXT GPS, 12 Trimble Juno GPS units with ArcPad, and portable hard drives.
The Center utilizes a variety of GIS software packages in addition to specialty image analysis, mapping, digitizing, graphics, and presentation software. GAC benefits from the system-wide Esri software site license, which provides access to almost all of Esri’s software for academic use.