UC San Diego Makes GIS Accessible Across Campus
Students across fields as diverse as business, data science, oceanography, and urban planning are accelerating their geographic information system (GIS) adoption with the help of synergy between the University of California (UC) San Diego Library and its Information Technology Services (ITS) department. Amy Work, GIS librarian, collaborated with Michael Stuart, library IT operations manager, and Maryam Sarkhoush, ITS information system analyst, to streamline access to ArcGIS through a single sign-on (SSO) experience.
So far, this has resulted in a dramatic increase in ArcGIS use by students, faculty, and staff. Known as enterprise login, SSO provides a seamless way to authenticate users based on their university ID, which also is used to access email, computer labs, and other resources. This integrated login experience benefits both users and administrators by reducing the number of user names that must be remembered and managed.
Since UC San Diego enabled SSO, the adoption rate of the ArcGIS suite of software has grown exponentially throughout the university, giving students the technology and skills they need to thrive academically. Ongoing collaboration between the Library and ITS department is key to meeting increased demand by students, researchers, and faculty members for GIS technology access and support.
The previous manual workflow resulted in a low adoption rate, especially for the Web GIS technology delivered by ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Pro. This posed a major challenge and impacted students, who will need the geospatial skills gained from using the latest ArcGIS technology as they enter the workforce.
"Before SSO, we were adding new users manually to ArcGIS Online. It was a tedious job, taking our time from other productive tasks such as helping students and researchers with GIS workflows, issues with data, or discovering new approaches," said Work.
Case Study Snapshot
University of California San Diego
The university needed to streamline access to ArcGIS campus-wide by implementing single sign-on.
Collaboration and partnership between the UC San Diego Library and campus ITS enabled enterprise login, dramatically increasing ArcGIS use by students, faculty, and staff.
Students and educators benefit from accelerated growth through the use of GIS in projects and courses.
UC San Diego implemented enterprise login, or SSO, by linking its ArcGIS Online system with the university's Active Directory (AD) system. Now, across the campus community, people can use their AD accounts to get access to ArcGIS technology. Since the implementation of SSO, the number of ArcGIS users across campus greatly increased. In the first three months after enterprise login was enabled, the number of users grew from 300 to 1,000. In the following academic quarter, the number of ArcGIS users rose to 1,230, and the upward trend continues.
The key factor to successfully enabling enterprise login was the supportive partnership between UC San Diego Library and campus ITS. While ITS handles back end license and access components, the Library staff has more time to support users by troubleshooting technical issues on the front-end.
"The ability to collaboratively work and communicate with campus ITS has been the key factor to success because we are now able to divide and conquer incoming requests from our users," Work said.
The most dramatic result of enabling enterprise login was the exponential increase in adoption of ArcGIS by students and faculty members from various departments, some new to GIS technology. Notable examples include ArcGIS Pro users in oceanography, ArcGIS Enterprise implementation by the Healthy Strategy Office, adoption of ArcGIS Notebooks in data science courses, and use of ArcGIS Business Analyst by the Rady School of Management. Many other departments are using a variety of maps and apps including ArcGIS StoryMaps for student projects and ArcGIS Survey123 and ArcGIS QuickCapture for field data collection.
With the growing number of users, the UC San Diego Library supports a much larger GIS community and continues to be a GIS resource center. Students can work in the Data & GIS Lab, receive support for technical questions, and attend workshops and training sessions. The Library extends outreach to educators by proactively communicating through email updates, classroom visits, and periodic geospatial user meetings.
"The Library is that centralized place that is discipline agnostic that anyone can come to and seek services like geospatial support," Work said.
The collaborative teams at UC San Diego plan on continuing the positive impact of campus-wide GIS. They are monitoring the usage and growth of GIS with a dashboard that displays which departments are users, based on enterprise logins. This approach helps the university by demonstrating the return on investment in GIS technology, which can lead to more funding for the Library's GIS activities. It also helps the team understand user needs to plan future services.
If you'd like to discuss how enabling enterprise login can help your institution, fill out the form below to connect with the Esri education team.
As a GIS instructor, having SSO has saved many hours of frustration concerning software access for students. Using their existing credentials, students can immediately sign on to ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Pro. The partnership between Information Technology Services and the UC San Diego Library has provided a tremendous resource. Accounts are now consistently managed, and technical support and data access are readily available to all.
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