Until recently, the university had no place where all spatial knowledge, infrastructure and effort could come together to focus on the spatial-thinking theme. With the 2008 inauguration of spatial@ucsb, the campus now hosts one of the world’s leading centers devoted to the possibilities of analyzing, understanding and describing the world in multiple dimensions. spatial@ucsb offers new capacity for growth through its strong existing programs and facilities. It expands their scope and effectiveness by creating new opportunities for collaboration. In addition to building on the strengths of the present, it looks to the future by growing the young science of spatial thinking into a major field of research and teaching. Its goals are to:
• Integrate spatial thinking into the corpus of reasoning across the domains of knowledge for research and teaching.
• Frame curricula to equip UCSB graduates with the concepts, methods, and applications of spatial thinking.
• Provide a Web portal to curriculum and learning resources and a Web forum for exchange of ideas and training opportunities for faculty, researchers, and students.
• Promote research on new tools and applications of spatial thinking.
• Sponsor advanced research seminars, specialist meetings, workshops, and other events that serve the UCSB academic community and its national and international leadership role.
Faculty, Students, and Visitors all Benefit from the spatial@ucsb Resources.
As initiatives to further our understanding of spatial thinking and to expand its uses, spatial@ucsb offers:
• Resources for research. spatial@ucsb is your source for data, applications, and training in all types of spatial analysis and display. It provides access to advanced technology such as geographic information systems (GIS) to students and faculty in all departments. It also incorporates the expertise of the UCSB Department of Geography, one of the highest-ranked geography faculties in the nation. It is affiliated with a number of outstanding research centers at UCSB, including the Alexandria Digital Library, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, the Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science (CSISS), the Center for Nanotechnology in Society, and the primary site of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis.
• Sharing of knowledge. Spatial thinking and its related technologies are powerful tools of discovery and understanding, with exciting potential in virtually all the scientific and humanistic disciplines. spatial@ucsb helps turn that potential into reality by providing a forum for faculty and students at UCSB (and beyond) to share the results of their spatially-focused work. The center’s public lectures, brown-bag presentations, and networking all act to create an ever-widening spatial community of scientists and scholars.
• New avenues for collaboration. Along with the sharing of knowledge, spatial@ucsb fosters new partnerships and networks devoted to the study and use of spatial thinking. Few centers have such wide interdisciplinary reach, from computer science and psychology to religious studies and the arts.
• Creative tools. spatial@ucsb is part of the university’s multimedia infrastructure, with close ties to the Four Eyes Lab at the Department of Computer Science and the AlloSphere at the California Nanosystems Institute.
For one thing, it is the ability to apply concepts like height, depth, and distance to comprehend the natural and social universe. The concept of spatial thinking isn't new, although the identification of the need to promote spatial literacy is. Introduced early in a student's education, the development of spatial literacy can open new doors to learning and help unveil the complexity and dynamics of real-world problems.
At the university level, spatial technologies such as geographic information systems (GIS) can be applied to a huge range of problems to reveal previously unseen patterns and trends. Insights from seemingly unrelated disciplines-black studies and computer science-for example, can be applied to emerging questions.
Spatial thinking TRANSFORMS the way we solve problems
Shows us SOLUTIONS
Opens up new POSSIBILITIES
Leads to new CONNECTIONS in sciences and the arts
Most of us have been taught to think and talk about the world using words, lists, and statistics. These are useful tools, but they do not come close to telling the full story. Thinking spatially opens the eye and mind to new connections, new questions, and new answers. It can be as simple as taking economic or demographic data off tables and putting them on a map. It can be as complex as positing new physical laws in five or more dimensions.
Spatial thinking gives us the crucial awareness of WHERE things and people are WHAT surrounds them WHAT is far and near
Spatial thinking also can link disciplines, such as literature and mathematics, biology and computation, or geography and cinematography. Spatial thinking offers solutions to the world's most pressing issues and is the key to powerfully creative problem-solving techniques.
Tapping the potential of spatial thinking is the mission of spatial@ucsb, the leading center devoted to the possibilities of analyzing, understanding, and describing the world in multiple dimensions.
The creation of spatial@ucsb is helping to catalyze global interest in integrating spatial thinking into a host of disciplines for teaching and research. It is helping educators to identify what curricula and resources are needed to better teach spatial thinking. It is stimulating research on tools for and applications of spatial thinking. It is encouraging disciplines at UC Santa Barbara and beyond to consider how the application of spatial thinking will enhance their teaching and research. Further, it is bringing together the world's leaders in spatial thinking through research seminars, workshops, and other events.
Meetings on cutting-edge topics that bring groups of researchers to Santa Barbara to discuss the state of knowledge on a particular topic, formulate a research agenda, and build a research community; these meetings have been featured by the Department of Geography at UCSB for the past 20 years
Proposal Development spatial@ucsb seeks opportunities to help strengthen proposals, either by partnering in projects or by advising on spatial aspects.
Information on courses, tools, data, and concepts that support spatial thinking.
Support for the Santa Barbara Region spatial@ucsb offers geo-spatial support to local-area and UCSB planners and policy makers seeking to integrate GIS and information-communication technologies for spatial analysis and planning to meet land use, environmental, transportation, and hazard-response/community-safety objectives.