Geospatial Analysis and Mapping (GAM) Laboratory

The GAM Lab (located in Social Sciences Building, 1170) is a state-of-the-art computer lab used to teach Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing, spatial analyses, geospatial data management, and cartographic principles.  The GAM Lab is open to students enrolled in GIS Program courses, non-GIS courses interested in using GIS software as part of a class activity, or geospatial-related research. The lab is also used for trainings in the realm of GIS, and to host visiting students who are considering a future at the University of Michigan - Dearborn. 

The GAM Lab is equipped with 22 high-end networked workstations, instructional support technology and an array of special purpose peripherals and software (e.g., ArcGIS, large format printers and laser printers, large map scanner, GPS units, iPads, etc.).

Student and Faculty Lab Access

Use of Department of Natural Science’s GAM Lab is restricted to UM-Dearborn students (both undergraduate and graduate) actively enrolled in a GAM course, the GIS certificate program or, collaborating with faculty/staff on GIS-related research. Lab access for students can occur either during open hours (GAM Calendar), when the GAM Lab has a proctor, or by requesting access off hours to work on projects or assignments. This is done by submitting a request to the GAM Program Director, who will formally request security clearance to UM-Dearborn Campus Safety via card swipe for a maximum of one semester (or less). This clearance can be renewed on a semi-annual basis (or over summer), if necessary. Open weekend access to the Lab is limited and may require Campus Safety to unlock the Social Science Building. Students must be able to show ID, if requested by GAM Lab proctors, staff/faculty, or Campus Safety.  Student access to the Lab is subject to review and can be removed for issues related to conduct or security.

Faculty and staff are also welcomed to use the GAM Lab for geospatial projects and teaching. Lab access can be during normal Lab hours, and either be informal (i.e., Lab is open for other students to use) or formal (i.e., GAM Lab is “reserved” specifically for their class). Formal usage requires sending a request to the GAM Lab Director to update the calendar and block time for specific day/time. The faculty can request proctor presence/assistance.  Alternatively, faculty interested in ongoing access to the GAM Lab (faculty conducting geospatial research or involved in GIS teaching) should submit a request to the Director for security clearance to UM-Dearborn Campus Safety via card swipe.

Course scheduling for the GAM Lab also requires permission from NSCI Department Chair and/or GAM Program Director to avoid conflicts. GIS Certificate courses have precedence over other courses or learning experiences in the Lab.

Lab Conduct and Security

Rules of conduct in the lab are designed to keep the GAM Lab in good working order, and to provide a beneficial and safe working environment for students. Violators of these policies will be asked to leave the lab and may have their security access limited or suspended.

  • No food or open-container drinks.
  • The lab must be kept neat, clean, and secure at all times.
  • When through working, clean up, return books, manuals and maps to their proper home and push in chair.
  • Music or videos must be listened to through personal headphones; loud socializing must be kept at a minimum as it can disturb others working in the labs.
  • No cell phone use in the labs. If you must make or take a call, step outside of the Lab.
  • If a student in the Lab is asked by GAM staff or faculty or Campus Safety to show their UM-Dearborn ID card, identify themselves, and/or to leave the lab, the student must comply with this request.
  • Students working in the lab must log off and leave the lab before the beginning of any class scheduled to meet in that lab.
Disk Quotas and File Storage

Students have three options for disc storage for their work: the local C: drive; the M: drive; and a personal storage device. The best way to store your GAM work is to use the M: drive as your departmental storage space, and to use a personal storage device as your own copy.

M: drive:

The M: drive is a dedicated storage area for GAM classes and research.  Each user has access to the M: drive from the lab computer through the local area network. This is the primary storage location in the Lab for your work. The M: drive is backed up by ITS once each week. The M: drive is subdivided into two folders: Users and Courses. If you are in a class, there is usually a dedicated folder (e.g. GEOL340_2018) within Courses in which students can create a working folder for course materials. It is recommended the folder name avoids spaces and symbols. If working on a project, then a personal working folder can be created within Users. Following completion of courses and projects, folders are moved to archive storage (eliminated from M: drive), where it remains for 3 years before being deleted.

C: drive:

The C: drive is the local drive found on the individual computer that you are using. Users can copy temporary files to the local C: drive. However, the C: drive is meant to be used as temporary storage while using that computer. Other users may be able to access any files on the C: drive, and the C: drive will be wiped clean periodically without notice to users. The C: drive is not backed up.

Personal storage device:

This includes thumb drives or any sort of external hard drive owned by individual users. Users are strongly encouraged to back up their work on an external storage device, which they can then take home with them. NSCI also recommends that you put a file on your personal storage device entitled "I-belong-to…" in which you keep your name and email address. This will enable GAM personnel to track down and return devices to the correct user!


In addition, Google Drive and M+ Box offer numerous storage options and sharing capabilities, although they are somewhat limited with efficiently handling GIS data. 

Lab Assistance

Students enrolled in classes requiring use of the GAM Lab who have questions about geospatial technology should direct their questions to the class instructor or GAM Lab proctors. GAM Lab proctors are experienced GIS students (typically in the GIS Certificate program) that have several key responsibilities:

  • Assisting students and faculty using GIS software, printing, scanning and large format plotting.
  • Maintaining a clean, organized GAM lab.
  • Providing lab users with advice and guidance in resolving minor hardware/software problems.
  • Communicating with ITS regarding major technical issues. This includes submitting a detailed Service Desk Ticket when problems arise.
  • Collaborating with GIS faculty to provide lab support in conjunction with course lesson plans (e.g., assisting enrolled students in meeting course requirements).
  • Performing others duties as assigned by the GAM Lab Director.

Proctors are NOT to give answers to assignments or problems; rather, they are there to provide basic support for students working on GIS projects.

Faculty needing very basic help with integrating GIS into lesson plans or generating maps/ getting relevant spatial data can enlist the support of GAM Proctors. Requests should be sent directly to the GAM Program Director to ensure the most qualified and/or available Proctor can contribute. It is advisable to articulate the specific tasks and deadline for work to be completed, so the GAM Director and Proctor(s) can budget time and finish in a timely manner.

Students interested in working in the GAM Lab as a proctor should send an email of inquiry to the GAM Program Director.

System Backups & Restorations

The information that you store on the M-drive is backed up at least once a week. No other storage locations are backed up by the GAM Lab. It is the GAM Lab user’s responsibility to save and properly manage their data.


The GAM Lab is equipped with a 42” color plotter and two standard printers (color and black and white). Printing on the black and white printer follows UM-Dearborn Information Technology Services (ITS) printing policies, which be found at

Color printing is reserved for GAM faculty and students. Draft copies should be printed in B/W before final draft to minimize usage of color ink.


Along with the terms and conditions of use of SSB1170, users are subject to and expected to know and adhere to the UM-Dearborn Computing Policies that can be found at, and the ITS Computer Use Policies at that can be found at

Non-compliance with the rules of the lab or the terms and conditions of lab usage will result in the suspension of accounts. The Department of Natural Sciences reserves the right to change these terms and conditions at any time without notice.

Geospatial Analysis and Mapping Laboratory

Social Sciences Building
Back to top of page