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January 26, 1998

Sun Microsystems donates 10 workstations for specialized computing lab

By Jennifer McNulty

In a gift valued at more than $90,000, Sun Microsystems Computer Company has donated 10 workstations and related equipment to the campus. The gift will enable UCSC to greatly expand its capabilities in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology and is the linchpin of a lab expansion that will more than double the size of the campus's existing GIS facility.

"We launched our GIS lab three years ago in part through the generosity of Sun Microsystems and are delighted to be able to build on the success of that facility with this new gift," said Marc Mangel, director of the GIS Laboratory and a professor of environmental studies at UCSC.

GIS technology facilitates the analysis of spatial questions and problems by allowing users to visualize alternatives through a powerful set of tools that manipulate and display multiple geographic datasets. GIS is becoming a widely used tool in a range of fields, including engineering, planning, ecology, and marketing. At UCSC, the technology is being used by a number of professors in ongoing projects on subjects as diverse as monitoring of oceanographic conditions, researching open-space preservation patterns in California, and studying wildlife habitat and coastal erosion rates.

UCSC's new Applied GIS Laboratory will house the workstations, providing space for 10 students to work on individual computers with access to GIS and other advanced technologies.

"It is important to make this new technology available to students so they can use it in their classes, projects, and theses," said Mangel. "These students will graduate with a useful skill that will not only facilitate their entry into the job market but will also enhance their careers over the long run."

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