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Geospatial Data and Scanned Maps: Geospatial Services at Virginia Tech

What is a Geographic Information System or GIS

GIS is a computer system that allows you to map, model, query, and analyze large quantities of data within a single database according to their location. GIS gives you the power to:

  • create maps
  • integrate information
  • visualize scenarios
  • present powerful ideas, and
  • develop effective solutions

GIS is a tool used by individuals and organizations, schools, governments, and businesses seeking innovative ways to solve their problems. GIS stores information about the world as a collection of layers that can be linked together by a common locational component such as latitude and longitude, a postal zip code, census tract name, or road name. These geographic references allow you to locate features on the earth's surface for analysis of patterns and trends. Dozens of map layers can be arrayed to display information about transportation networks, hydrography, population characteristics, economic activity, and political jurisdictions.

GIS Research Projects here at Virginia Tech:

  • Center for Geospatial Information Technology (CGIT)
    CGIT has become a focal point for Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and students who specialize in or use geospatial information technology as part of their research, teaching and learning, and outreach missions.  Geospatial technologies provide an integrative platform for activities in a variety of disciplines; as an interdisciplinary research center, we apply our expertise to a wide array of projects.

  • Enterprise GIS Group
    Enterprise GIS facilitates access to central IT resources supporting storage and hosting of GIS data for academic and administrative uses within the university community.  The group also provides training that lowers barriers to entry to the use of GIS tools, analysis processes, and other resources as the state-of-the-art in geospatial sciences continues to advance. 

  • Center for Environmental Applications of Remote Sensing (CEARS)
     Is Virginia Tech’s focal point for interdisciplinary research, instruction, and outreach focused on remote sensing applications.  Center researchers have extensive expertise with a wide variety of data types (i.e., active and passive microwave, multispectral, hyperspectral, lidar, and aerial photographs) and application areas.

Additional applications of GIS:

Library Services

What we do
The University Libraries offers assistance in discovery and use of geospatial data in Newman 2030, office of Ed Brooks, Geospatial Data Consultant and  in Torgersen 3320, Port: digital research commons. Library data services supports Virginia Tech faculty,staff, students, and the larger community on assignments and research in two main areas:

  • Data services
    The University Libraries collects and maintains a wide range of data through agreements with the US federal government, Commonwealth of Virginia, Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), and other public and private sources. New sources become available via the Internet daily and we assist in discovery and procurement of sources on an as needed basis.

  • Geospatial services
    Geospatial data is also available from the Federal Government, Commonwealth of Virginia, other governments both domestic and international, and private sources. We provide access to Virginia aerial photographs, US Geological Survey maps and publications, and serve the Town of Blacksburg and Montgomery County geospatial datasets to the public. We actively pursue discovery and procurement of geospatial data as requests arise and work with the Virginia Tech Center for Geospatial Information Technology (CGIT) and the Virginia Tech Enterprise GIS Group.

Campus-wide Services

  • GIS labs and facilties
    A number of computer labs in the library, around the Blacksburg campus, and in the National Capital Region provide access to GIS-related software.

  • Instruction and courses in GIS
    Check the following course catalogs, GIS related classes are taught in many different colleges and departments on campus.

  • Other resources
    Links to Virginia Tech centers and institutes that provide support for GIS research, GIS-related organizations on campus, and listservs and blogs on GIS topics.

  • Software
    Software packages from ESRI  ArcGIS Desktop Education Suite are available for free to Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and students.

Geospatial Data Consultant

Ed Brooks
Room 2030 Newman Library

Virginia Tech
560 Drillfield Drive
Blacksburg, Va. 24061
(540) 231-9225

GIS/Data Request Form

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