Who We Work With

The SAL provides a plethora of teaching and learning opportunities, tailored towards faculty, students, and research. 

Faculty & Classes

We support faculty teaching as well as scholarly research. For a list of current and past faculty who have utilized the lab, see Faculty Engagement. To see how GIS is incorporated in different courses, take a look at Classes. The lab can enrich classes in many ways: 

  • Teaching and collaboration space – A modern and mediated computer lab with 20 workstations, which can also serve as collaboration or discussion space. The lab can be reserved for classes using mapping concepts or spatial software. To make a reservation, please email Jon Caris (Director) at jcaris@smith.edu, or Tracy Tien (Post-Bac Spatial Analysis Fellow) at htien@smith.edu.
  • Course consultation and curriculum development – For faculty who wish to introduce a spatial component to a course, but are less familiar with the technologies themselves. SAL staff will discuss and develop spatial thinking or analysis exercises conducive to enhancing class material and skill goals.
  • “Guest lectures” – SAL staff will meet with classes, either in the SAL or the course classroom, to deliver a guest lecture about one of our areas of expertise that is in line with the course goals. Examples include:
    • GPS field data collection
    • Cartography and using maps to communicate data
    • Spatial statistics
    • Using online maps to explore cultural/socioeconomic patterns
    • Satellite imagery interpretation and analysis


We assist Smith or Five College students currently enrolled in classes using geospatial technologies and/or the SAL, as well as students interested in applying these techniques to their projects, studies, or internships.

  • Regular lab and office hours – Administered by the SAL staff. See hours and availability on the Home page. 
  • Workshops – A variety of topics each semester, from GPS data collection to humanitarian mapping. For all students, faculty, and staff who would like a better understanding of these subjects for their projects or scholarly work — or for fun!
  • Additional help – Group or 1-on-1 instructions or assistance for an independent class project, thesis, special studies, research assistantship, or internship.


We work with faculty and students who are integrating GIS in their research, providing the following:

  • Research planning with a spatial component – GIS analysis/data collection and guidance on relevant tools, extensions, and software.
  • Maps and figures – Cartography and spatial data-based figures for presentation or publication.