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GIS and Data Lab now open in Rotch Library

MIT Libraries offer expanded resources in geographic information systems, data visualization, data management, and more for the Institute community.
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The new GIS and Data Lab has expanded computing capabilities, more workstations, and expanded software offerings.
Caption:
The new GIS and Data Lab has expanded computing capabilities, more workstations, and expanded software offerings.
Credits:
Photo: Bryce Vickmark
An alcove in the new lab is dedicated space for creating and testing virtual and augmented reality projects.
Caption:
An alcove in the new lab is dedicated space for creating and testing virtual and augmented reality projects.
Credits:
Photo: Bryce Vickmark

A new GIS and Data Lab for the MIT community is now open in Rotch Library, bringing together the MIT Libraries’ programs in GIS (geographic information systems) and data management services in one location and expanding resources for statistical analysis, data visualization, text mining, image processing, and virtual and augmented reality.

A redesign of the first floor of the Rotch Library addition (Building 7A) this fall allowed the libraries to expand service space as well as create a vibrant community workspace. The GIS Lab, which had previously been located on the third floor of Rotch Library, has moved to the first floor and now shares space with the libraries’ data management services. The new space combines an area for teaching and learning, open study or collaboration space, and staff offices.   

“Libraries are about the intersections of people, information, and technology and how those intersections generate new knowledge and lead people to discover it,” says Howard Silver, head of data and specialized services at MIT Libraries. “The new GIS and Data Lab exemplifies how the MIT Libraries actively participate in creative work and will help us continue to explore the best uses of our resources in this evolving area.”

In the new GIS and Data Lab, the MIT community also has improved proximity to the libraries’ expert staff and access to an expanded variety of workshop offerings in both GIS and data management.

Other new features of the lab include:

  • expanded computing capabilities and more workstations;
  • increased software offerings to support statistical analysis, data visualization, text-mining, and image processing;
  • open space for collaboration and study; and
  • space dedicated to creating and testing virtual and augmented reality projects.

“The GIS Lab has given me the space and support to learn and improve my research in political science,” says PhD candidate Jesse Clark. “The lab has allowed me to be much more efficient with my work with their in-person help and office hours, and GIS librarians have taught me new skills and ways of looking at data. I am very excited to use the new space to lead GIS seminars as well as for my own research.”

The GIS and Data Lab may be accessed through the main entrance of Rotch Library (7-238) and is accessible to the MIT community during the library’s regular operating hours.

Through Dec. 12, the lab is staffed for one-to-one GIS help Monday through Thursday, 1-5 p.m. and Friday 2-4 p.m. Data management help is available Tuesday and Thursday 2-4 p.m. and Wednesday 2-5 p.m.

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