The University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) is a non-profit scientific and educational organization comprised of 60+ member and affiliate institutions. It was established in 1995 to advance research in the field of Geographic Information Science, expand and strengthen multidisciplinary Geographic Information Science education, and advocate policies for the promotion of the ethical use of and access to geographic information and technologies, by building and supporting scholarly communities and networks. UCGIS is the hub for the GIS research and education community in higher education in the United States, and serves as a national and international voice to advocate for its members’ interests.
Institutional membership in UCGIS provides many benefits, described in detail below and available for download here (pdf).
Participation in formulation of cutting edge research and educational activities
- UCGIS has published a digital copy of the original GIS&T Body of Knowledge. This framework is a guide for students, educators, professionals and regulators, and UCGIS members will have open access to analytical functionality to be released in 2017.
- Graduate students and junior faculty are able to apply to our members-only Summer School sessions, such as the upcoming May 2017 session on CyberGIS and Big Data at University Illinois - Urbana-Champaign;
- UCGIS awards merit-based travel support to students from member organizations to encourage and promote sharing of their research at our Symposia.
Collaboration and networking for successful research
- Students from UCGIS institutions can access our GIS Projects Database, a collection of projects from around the world that are suitable to be part of their applied curriculum. This initiative is currently in its beta testing phase in winter 2017 and will be ready for all in summer 2017.
- Scholars from UCGIS member institutions form small teams and collaborate for funding for research projects. Recent successes include an NSF-funded CyberGIS project on high performance computing and collaboration software integration directed at developing an environment to support community-wide geospatial education and research activities. A second area has been a series of professional development activities for Women in GIScience. By serving as the lead for group proposals, UCGIS resources are leveraged to produce proposals that are competitive in their budget yet reach a far wider audience in their scope.
- Partnerships with HUD and the Department of Homeland Security resulted in funding and support for scholars from UCGIS member institutions to conduct exploratory research to develop a national network of regional GIS nodes, supported by a GeoSpatial Extension Program to support workforce development.
- Through our Symposia and other avenues, young scholars are able to network and connect with established scholars and journal editors to receive advice and feedback in a supportive environment. Our Graduate Student Research Award is exclusively for those within our member network.
Access to the most current information about the greater geospatial community
- UCGIS Board of Directors and appointed representatives are active in a variety of national geospatial organizations, such as the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO) and the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI), so that we can monitor current trends and identify key issues that will impact GIS researchers and educators. We convey this pertinent information to our membership, including topics such as certification, accreditation, new federal research trends and policies, education priorities, legislation related to geospatial issues; and funding opportunities, among others.
- UCGIS coordinates Memorandums of Understanding with sister geospatial organizations worldwide, such as the Association of Geographic Information Labs in Europe (AGILE), the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo), the International Cartographic Association (ICA), and the Australasian Spatial Information Education and Research Association (ASIERA). Partnerships with these organizations allow us to provide our Delegates and members with the most current news and opportunities;
- Through our Webinar series, UCGIS offers its members free access to information, resources, and inspiration for a diverse range of relevant geospatial topics that support research, education, and professional development.
Connections with the Higher Education GIScience Community
- UCGIS maintains list-servs that allow individuals from member institutions to post new job positions, announce Calls for Papers, and share other GIS and GISci information with an audience that is ideally aligned with those interests. Members must be logged in to post to these.
- UCGIS hosts a Symposium each year at which participants learn about the most current in GIScience ideas and issues. Research and Education Awards are granted, and our discipline’s highest achievers are honored as new Fellows. This environment is optimal for networking, and registration is discounted for participants from member institutions. All pre-Symposium Workshops are always available at no charge to those from member institutions who attend the Symposium.
Contributing to the Higher Education GIScience Community
- UCGIS has a long history of recognizing leaders and excellence in GIScience through our series of hallmark Awards (Education, Research, and Mentoring), Awards for Graduate Students, and our Fellows Program. Scholars worldwide are eligible for our hallmark Awards and our Fellows Program, but nominations for all of these can come only from within our membership community.
- All of our activities are possible because of our members, and UCGIS in-turn creates the opportunities for the students and faculty of our member institutions to participate and contribute. Our size allows us to be both flexible and responsive in support of our members, while our scope reaches throughout the geospatial academic community in higher education. Have your voice be heard within that community by being part of the UCGIS network.