Geography GIAL

A photo of GIAL facility

The Geographic Information and Analysis Laboratory (GIAL) is a multipurpose computing facility shared by the Department of Geography and the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA). This laboratory supports the teaching and research needs of student and faculty with site licenses of various GIS, remote sensing and modeling software packages. There are also a limited number of computers with environmental software for natural resources management and conservation, assessment of processes in earth systems, landscape ecology, soils, geomorphology, and hydrology. The GIAL is managed by College of Arts & Sciences Educational Technology (CASet).

Important GIAL Policies

This lab is available for Geography faculty, staff, and graduate students, and any non-major graduate or undergraduate students currently registered in Geography classes who require use of GIAL facilities for assignments. In addition, faculty associated with the NCGIA can make arrangements to use GIAL resources for Center-related research.

The GIAL is not open to the general university public. We are very proud to offer this facility to our students and expect each of you to maintain its security and integrity. Please adhere to the policies and rules of good conduct posted in the GIAL regarding food, drinks, and lab schedules.

On this page:

Services Provided

The lab is managed by the College of Arts & Sciences Educational Technology (CASet). CASet provides basic computing services for all departments, computing labs, and research centers in the College of Arts & Sciences. This includes hardware and software installations, upgrades, support, and maintenance. The GIAL also provides services to faculty for graphics and illustrations, mapping services to external constituents, and software documentation.

Access to the GIAL

Access to the GIAL is via a door swipecard system using your valid UB card. You are entitled to GIAL access if you are a Geography Department graduate student and/or enrolled in any Geography course utilizing the GIAL. You will be given access to the GIAL, GIAL corridor, and Wilkeson Quad exterior. Graduate students have 24/7 access. Undergraduate students have access Mon-Fri, 8am-10pm. Please contact Dawn Raffel in room Wilkeson 105E if your swipecard (UBCard) access is not working.

Computer Accounts

All students of the University are automatically provided a UBIT account when first registering for classes. If you did not receive one or are having trouble accessing it, you must inquire in person at the User Liaison Office, Room 215 - Computing Center - North Campus. Your UBIT name and password will be used to log-in to computers in the GIAL as well. Procedures for logging in to the GIAL will be explained at the graduate student orientation and by your Teaching Assistant/Lab Instructor if you are enrolled in a Geography class with a lab session.

Printing Charges

The GIAL is not a public lab, and therefore, is not funded by your student technology fee. In order to cover printer paper, toner, and maintenance costs you will be charged per printed page. If you wish to print for free, please visit a public computing site.

All printing is done on a pre-pay basis. Payments can be made to Joe Murray in the main office (Wilkeson 105) and you can print immediately. Black & white laser printing costs $.05 per page and color laser printing is $.40 per page. Printing that has been paid for is NON-REFUNDABLE but funds on your account will carry over each semester!

You are permitted to print on transparencies but they MUST be purchased from the main office (b&w - $.25/each; color - $.65/each). There are many different kinds of transparencies.

Please see Joe Murray in the main office (Wilkeson 105) to use larger-format plotters.

You will be held financially responsible for damage caused by using material in the GIAL printers that was not purchased in the Geography department office. For printing on a transparency or letterhead, please review the documentation (manuals) available with the printers. If you do not know what you're doing, please enlist the help of a member of the technical support staff.

Reserving GIAL Equipment

Any of the computers (PC and Sun) may be reserved in advance.

At any time, unreserved workstations will be available on a 'first come, first served' basis. Classes are held frequently in the GIAL. On these occasions, users who are not involved in the class are asked to relinquish their seats during the course of the class. See the schedule posted on the door to the lab for more information.

Faculty can reserve GIAL equipment for class instruction or demonstrations. In order to avoid conflicts with other class use, you should contact the department scheduler first to arrange reservations on a regular schedule. After that, the instructor or a TA can request the reservations as needed.

Non-research Applications

There is no charge to anyone for using the lab for schoolwork and thesis research. However, charges may apply if the lab is used for externally sponsored research, for profit-making endeavors and outside contracts. If you would like to use any of the lab equipment for such a project, you must contact Linda Doerfler (Wilkeson 301). There are state-mandated hourly and project rates that must be adhered to and which are changed yearly. Also, the name and/or logo of the GIAL must appear on any products.

Additional Information

Disk Quotas: Please keep track of your disk space usage!!! If you ignore your quota for too long in UNIX you will be locked out of the system. Use the command 'quota -v' (without the quotes) to check your quota in UNIX.

NT: The PCs link to your UNIX directory via the z: drive. Store all work here and you will be able to access it on a PC or on a UNIX machine. If you do not type in your proper UNIX password in the black box that pops up when you login to a PC, the z: drive will not be mapped properly.

UNIX: 100mb of disk space is provided in each user's home directory. Additional space is available on request.

Back-ups: Backups are conducted of the NT and UNIX servers on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. However, we recommend that you backup your work to a storage device in the event that we have hardware problems and cannot restore your work. We realize it is an extra step that you must take, but we do NOT guarantee full restores of your work and your instructors will not accept that as an excuse for late or incomplete work.

Safe Computing: Remember to always log off when you're done at a workstation. If you don't do this, others have access to your files and can maliciously delete your work as well as incur print charges to your account.

Food: No food or drinks are permitted in the GIAL. You are expected to discard any food or drinks at the door. If not done, you will be asked to leave the lab. The equipment is extremely expensive to replace, so please observe this policy.

Propping Doors: Doors should never be propped open for any reason. If caught propping open any of the doors to the GIAL, your lab access will be revoked for the remainder of the semester. If a door is found propped open, it will be closed.