In addition to the extensive software resources, the GIS Lab is equipped with some specialized hardware as well. The lab has 13 Dell Precision Workstations with Core 2 Duo processors, 4 GB RAM, and 256 MB Video Cards. We have a high quality flatbed scanner with a 12″ x 18″ scanning surface and transparency adapter for slides or negatives. We have a 36″ x 48″ digitizing tablet. These resources are available to anyone from the University community. Please contact the Lab Manager to make an appointment.

Our printing resources include a color printer capable of printing to 11″x17″ paper and a 36″ wide color plotter. These resources are available at a small fee to cover the cost of ink and paper. Please contact the Lab Manager to make an appointment for printing.

In addition to these office resources, the GIS Lab also has a suite of resources for field use.

Because the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Lab is a University Resource, the software is available to all members of the University Community.

Thanks to the terms of a site license with ESRI, the GIS software ArcGIS is available in all student computer labs, as well as the GIS Lab. Another benefit of the site license is that registered students, faculty, and staff may take classes at ESRI’s Virtual Campus. These are online GIS courses on a variety of topics. The list of qualifying courses is available at the ESRI website. Contact the GIS Lab if you are interested in taking a Virtual Campus course.

In addition to ArcGIS, the computers in the GIS Lab are equipped with the following specialized, licensed software that is available in few other places on campus.

  • ERDAS Imagine and Photogrammetry Suite
  • Trimble Pathfinder Office

Additionally, the lab has a variety of open source software packages installed and regularly updated. These offer students additional options beyond the conventional packages. These include:

  • Google Earth
  • DNR Garmin (GPS software for handheld GPS units)
  • Quantum GIS
  • PointVue LE (Lidar processing utility)

Data collection is an integral part of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The GIS Lab has a suite of field mapping equipment capable of collecting data at a wide range of accuracies. The equipment is available for loan within the USM Community.  Contact the lab for specific details or to make borrowing arrangements.

Garmin GPS units (6): The Garmin GPS units are termed recreation-grade because they can collect points with an accuracy of about 5 meters. These are used for GPS demonstrations, geocaching, and data collection where high accuracy is not required. These units are available to anyone who has attended a brief training with the GIS Lab Manager.

GPS-enabled PDAs running field GIS software (6): These are the newest addition to the Lab’s resources. They are a streamlined alternative to traditional data collection. They are used in the Digital Mapping Class as well as by guest lectures in non-GIS courses. These units are available to anyone who has attended a brief training with the GIS Lab Manager.

Trimble GeoXTs (6): The GeoXTs are termed mapping-grade because they can collect data with an accuracy better than 1 meter with post-processing. These units are often borrowed for field projects and available to anyone who has taken a GIS Course. 

SpectraPrecision Total Stations (3): These high precision instruments can accurately measure locations to within centimeters. They are heavily used by the Digital Mapping Class. These units are available to anyone who has taken a GIS Course. In addition, a member of the Lab Staff will accompany the equipment into the field.

Real Time Kinematic (RTK) GPS (3): The RTK units are termed survey-grade because they can measure locations with an accuracy of centimeters with no postprocessing required. They too are used by  the Digital Mapping Class. These units are available to anyone who has taken a GIS Course. In addition, a member of the Lab Staff will accompany the equipment into the field.

NOAA NGS CORS : Access to CORS data

USM Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has developed a series of modules for a variety of courses, designed to facilitate the incorporation of GIS, GPS, and Remote Sensing technology and techniques into non-GIS courses. Modules typically last for one or two class lectures or lab sessions. Activities can take place at the GIS Lab, in other computer labs or classrooms, or in other locations on campus.

In the past, we have worked with professors in the following departments and programs: Political Science, Environmental Science, Geosciences, Geography and Anthropology, Honors, and Self-Designed Major.

Students have used GIS to investigate and analyze literacy rates and energy consumption per capita on a global scale, distribution of volcanoes and seismic hazards in the western United States, proposed routes for the Gorham bypass, and the spread of HIV/AIDS and avian influenza.

If you are a faculty or staff member who is interested in incorporating GIS into one of your courses, contact USM Geographic Information Systems (GIS). We will work with you to customize a module that fits your syllabus and course goals.

USM Geographic Information Systems (GIS) periodically offers workshops to the University and the general public. Past topics have included GPS data collection and post-processing using Trimble GeoXT GPS units, Basic Introduction to ArcGIS with a focus on acquiring and using census data, and an overview of GIS and GPS applications for forestry.

There are no workshops currently scheduled at the GIS Lab.

The USM Geographic Informations Systems (GIS) Staff is also able to customize workshops to fit your needs. Do you want to learn about online data resources? Open source software options? Contact the Lab Staff to discuss your ideas and to learn more.

If you would like to use USM Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Resources to host a GIS Workshop of your own design, contact the Director of USM Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to make arrangements.

The Digital Atlas is a teaching tool available to all members of the University of Southern Maine community. Building on data from MEGIS and others, it was compiled and developed by USM Geographic Information Systems through the efforts of Matthew Bampton, Matthew Cadwallader, Jay Desmond, Sean Neely, Michele Tranes, Thea Youngs, Michael Gammon, Jordan Heath, Jordan Lessard, and Vinton Valentine.

With this version, either ArcGIS or QGIS can be used to view and explore the Digital Atlas.

Download the Digital Atlas of Maine

Content available in ArcGIS Online


The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Lab has a wide format plotter which can print posters up to 36 inches wide on plain or high gloss photo paper.

Our current rates are $3.333/sq ft for University related printing, and $6/ sq ft for the general public.  A standard 36×48″ poster is $40 for USM, and $72 for others.


We also have a color laser printer capable of printing 11×17″ documents.  Our rates are $0.50/sheet for University printing, and $1.00/sheet for other printing.


Turnaround times vary depending on the lab schedule and volume of printing.  We are not always able to accommodate last minute requests.  Please contact us to arrange for printing.