This post will be a short update of some of the challenges I have run into with services available to students on campus in relation to servers and Esri’s ArcGIS.

I’ve been working on two projects this semester which pair historical maps and planning documents for the city of Atlanta with present day data using Esri’s ArcGIS Online. One of the limitations of ArcGIS Online is that you are not able to host raster images on the Esri servers; you need to host them on your own servers. Server upkeep and support for ArcGIS was previously provided by a technical advisor/GIS coordinator in the Department of Geosciences. For a number of reasons, this position is currently empty within the department and, to my knowledge, there is no one at any level of campus providing the necessary support to GSU’s established GIS. Since the completion of these projects hinges on the ability to host this data, and given the mission of CURVE for supporting the research and digital scholarship of students, I think it would be appropriate to explore possibilities of a server being available to students as a service of CURVE.

This topic brings to light an interesting aspect of SIF that I had not previously considered: longevity in the sense that a project can continue once the current SIFs have graduated and moved on. To “continue” just doesn’t apply to a scenario where it has not yet been completed and the torch needs to be passed for the completion to be achieved. “Continue” also means understanding how to update, migrate, or expand the project. Maybe the blogs can serve as a point of reference for offering this type of longevity, but I am not so confident. I think it may be useful for each project to come with a “Final Report” at the time of its completion that outlines the project in detail. This type of report would provide a safety net for avoiding any gaps in knowledge caused by a person leaving.

Thinking in terms of longevity, the SIF program will be able to provide services to the students, faculty, and staff at GSU without getting its foot stuck in any unintended creations of knowledge gaps along the way. Because, as has been demonstrated through my experience with the servers, these types of gaps can cause real hindrances to our desire to be innovative on campus.

*Ignite, Inspire, Involve* – Amber