Spatial Analysis Lab

The Department of Geography, Environment, and Sustainability is home to the Spatial Analysis Laboratory (SAL), a hub of geospatial knowledge distribution, research collaboration, and external engagement at the University of Richmond. The SAL is dedicated to promoting spatial literacy and competency across different disciplines by empowering students with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) science and technologies. The SAL creates a working environment for students to discover and construct knowledge as they engage in real-world projects that contribute to their campus, local, regional, and global community.

The SAL has a lab space on the 3rd floor of Carol Weinstein International Center with state-of-the-art hardware and the latest GIS, Global Positioning System (GPS), and Remote Sensing (RS) software programs. The SAL houses a comprehensive collection of instruments for studying geography, an extensive digital library of spatial data, and the University’s rapidly growing Web GIS platforms such as ArcGIS Hub.

The SAL welcomes all faculty, staff, and students interested in using geospatial technology in their courses, research, or work. Workshops, guest talks, career panels, and other social events are organized by the SAL to not only promote geospatial science and technology, but also help establish a collaborative community of geospatial learners, scholars, and professionals.

At the SAL, students apply geospatial technology in their coursework, innovate and collaborate with faculty researchers, university staff, community outreach groups, and one another. Our experiential, student-centered operational model establishes in-depth knowledge transfer through hands-on, facilitated, project and problem-based approaches. It transfers knowledge through theoretical content, software demonstrations, case studies, project work, and peer-to-peer learning. Our paradigm has proven successful in helping students develop both technical and critical-thinking skills needed to develop creative and innovative solutions to spatial problems.

Students with strong GIS skills are hired by the SAL to pursue advanced research projects under the guidance of faculty members in the department and in other disciplines. Currently, SAL-trained student interns provide research support, data development, and consulting services across campus in areas as diverse as urban planning, landscape ecology, transboundary geospatial analysis, environmental justice, conservation, and climate science. Each year select students present their research at prestigious conferences including the American Association of Geographers' annual meeting. The SAL has successfully served as a springboard for many former SAL student interns to launch their professional careers or pursue graduate degrees in areas related to spatial analysis.