Welcome to the Spatial Sciences Institute! We are a nimble and eclectic group of faculty, staff and students dedicated to the promotion and adoption of spatial thinking across the curriculum.
Spatial thinking, which you might think of as the opportunity to conceptualize, analyze and visualize key natural and human processes and outcomes through a spatial lens, is a simple but important imperative. We live in an ever more crowded and connected world, and our success in all its various guises (the arts, economics, human health, politics, sustainability, etc.) will depend on our ability to better understand and anticipate the opportunities and constraints afforded by specific places and the connections between them. Fortunately, we live in an era when we have an unprecedented range of technologies and tools to help us with these tasks.
The fundamental geoprocessing tools (Geographic Information Systems, Global Positioning Systems, Remote Sensing, and Location-Based Services) have evolved tremendously during the past three decades, and we now live in a world in which some think of geographic information as one among a small set of fundamental or core infrastructures. It increasingly permeates our everyday lives, but the adoption and effective use of spatial thinking and methods in our instructional and research programs lags far behind. We aim to change this by encouraging and supporting faculty, staff, and students across the university to explore, analyze and visualize the topics that characterize their fields with the help of a spatial lens.
We have already started down this road and you will find on subsequent pages numerous examples of our work – ranging from collaborative research projects that connect numerous USC Dornsife faculty and students with colleagues in the professional schools to the rapidly expanding online Geographic Information Science & Technology graduate programs and our administration of the Esri™ campus site license program – to name a few.
We hope these materials will encourage you to explore the ways in which these rapidly evolving geospatial technologies, datasets, and the underlying spatial analysis methods might be employed in your own work.