A Geographic Information System (GIS) is software for overlaying, integrating, and analyzing geographically referenced data, often assembled from different sources. While the concept is not new, its merger with today's capabilities of digital computers has revolutionized approaches to land use planning, natural resource management, as well as housing and demographic analyses. In the last 40 years, GIS technology has expanded rapidly and found a home in a number of additional applications – cartography, environmental assessment, real estate management, ecological research, transportation analysis, business applications, market analysis, and more.
GIS technology provides powerful tools for understanding and analyzing important problems we face today such as rapid urbanization, neighborhood dynamics, sprawl, habitat changes, and the impacts of land use change on the global environment. Recognizing the centrality of GIS problem-solving capabilities, Clemson University has significant capacity for GIS research and training with a multimillion-dollar facilities expansion. Five student-computing labs with 72 dedicated GIS workstations are located in Lee, Barre, and Lehotsky Halls.
These GIS labs accommodate classwork and research projects in the design, development, and analysis of spatial databases, remote sensing images, as well as the latest in modeling techniques. They provide a "hands-on" learning environment. Students enjoy low faculty-to-student ratios and access to a GIS workstation without having to share with another student.
All the GIS computers on campus are connected. Clemson's GIS facilities provide essential information tools so that faculty and students can:
Clemson is committed to offering our students the finest in higher educational GIS facilities. Labs at 2-212 Lee Hall and B108 Barre Hall are Planning's primary GIS facilities. These labs have 24-hour access. They contain a "smart classroom" equipped with a video and data projector. The Lee lab has 15 Dell quad processing workstations with 23-inch monitors and 8 GB of memory. The Barre planning lab has 14 Dell workstations with the same features as the Lee lab. Each lab has a HP 4600 color laser printer and network access to Barre's HP DesignJet 36" plotter. All labs can access multi-terabyte GIS databases for research on regional, state, national, and international issues.
The workstations run Windows 7 Professional and use the most current ESRI ArcGIS and ERDAS Imagine software. With this arrangement, students have access to the world's most popular GIS and remote sensing software and latest computer hardware. While connected to the University network, the labs have their own sub network and server where students can access their data from anywhere on campus. In Fall 2012, the labs will be connected with VM software allowing student to have virtual computers. They can use any computer as well as their own PC and use Clemson’s GIS software and data.
Clemson has a premier site license for all Esri developed products. They are maintained by CCIT. Through this site license, faculty and students have free access to most Esri Virtual Campus online courses. In addition, student can have free copies of ArcGIS and its extension on their own personal computers.