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Home / About Us / Policies / GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Services Policy

GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Services Policy

Library’s goal in providing GIS services:

Rod Library’s goal in providing GIS services is to provide additional points of access for the campus community to ArcView and to provide elementary help at a level that would be useful to most UNI students. The ArcView software is available free of charge through a statewide license for State of Iowa agencies which includes the Regent Universities. Non-university library users are not allowed to use the ArcView software because of license restrictions.

Definition of GIS:

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a system for the management, analysis, and display of geographic information. GIS involves many elements including hardware, software, and data which allows the user to create
customized, detail maps on a variety of topics.

GIS services in Rod Library:

It is NOT the intent of Rod Library to be the campus expert and leader in GIS technologies. The current leader of geospatial technologies at UNI is the Geography Department. The Geography Department has faculty with related
Ph.D. degrees and a new GIS computer laboratory. They also offer GIS courses to the university community. Rod Library’s role is to enhance GIS services to the university community by providing supplemental resources and to actively refer the UNI community to the UNI Geography Department and to other related campus units for more extensive instruction or help. In this way, Rod Library actively supports the growing GIS network of individuals within the university community.

Rod Library has GIS software (ArcView) installed on some computer workstations to provide greater access to GIS technologies by offering an additional campus location where individuals can use GIS software and by providing longer hours of access to the software.

Rod Library has at least one individual who is familiar with GIS software and has had some training on the use of the software. Library staff can help students at a very basic level where students may create a map from an interactive mapping website or produce a very simple map using the ArcView software. For more extensive help, students will be referred to the UNI Geography Department. Rod Library will not offer library instruction sessions on the use of ArcView software.

Student use of the ArcView software is on a first-come, first-served basis. Appointments for help can be made with the reference librarian who has some familiarity with GIS and ArcView software. This is similar to what is done with
other specialized library services.

Where in Rod Library is ArcView software located?:

Rod Library has recently installed ArcView software onto computers located in some of the Group Study Rooms and on laptop computers available at the MultiService Center. Both the Group Study Rooms computers and the laptop
computers only check out to currently enrolled UNI students and can be used only within the building, keeping Rod Library in compliance with the site license for the State of Iowa. The decision to install ArcView onto these computers was made because the computers have fewer security features on them than the other public computers, thus allowing students to use the program. These computers have additional software programs such as Word and Excel installed on them that the other public computers do not have and these computers allow for Internet access and downloading of data to a USB drive.

Providing GIS library services supports the following:

a) Objective 3.1 found in the Rod Library’s strategic plan:
• Provide in-library and online service points in response to changing
user needs and the nature of information resources.
b) Objective 1.2 found in the University’s strategic plan:
• Provide a personalized learning environment that responds to needs,
encourages growth, and recognizes achievements of individual
Related documents:
• Rod Library User’s Guide Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Maps
Resources at
• University of Northern Iowa GIS Campus Referral Document at [in process]

Adopted by the Rod Library Reference and Instructional Services Department on
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Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614
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