The Landscape Analysis Lab, or LAL, is a GIS (geographic information system) research and teach lab that provides support for spatial analysis for faculty, students, and staff at Sewanee: University of the South. The LAL maintains spatial data for the Domain and provides GIS support for faculty, staff, and students in departments and offices across the university, local community, and regional organizations.
GIS, or a Geographic Information System is “a computer-based system to aid in the collection, maintenance, storage, analysis, output, and distribution of spatial data and information” -- GIS Fundamentals: A First Text on Geographic Information Systems (Bolstad, 2005). GIS is used to map all aspects of the Domain, including trails, buildings, roads, and sidewalks, as well as to conduct spatial analyses that help map plant and animal habitats, model surface water runoff, and keep campus safe for the police and fire departments.
The software and related skills to use GIS are taught in two courses. Environmental Studies 217: Fundamentals of GIS is an introductory GIS course taught each semester that focuses on helping students learn the basic tasks, skills, and methodology of GIS. Fundamentals of GIS has no prerequisites. Environmental Studies 317: Advanced GIS is a more project-based GIS course where students work through various GIS projects through the semester from start-to-finish to introduce more sophisticated GIS tools, analyses, and methods. Advanced GIS is taught every fall semester and requires ENST 217 as a prerequisite or permission of the instructor.
Students, faculty, and staff looking for GIS help should contact the LAL Manager, Dr. Christopher Van de Ven via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or at his office in Snowden 105. Students looking for access to a computer GIS software will find it in the PC Classroom in DuPont Library in G10. GIS is also available for University of the South faculty and staff for research, teaching, and other non-commercial purposes. To get the software contact the Help Desk.