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Scroll below for details of the Plan and how to sign up:


Service Plan Description

    A GIS (Geographic Information System) is a software package capable of managing and processing geographically referenced data.

    The GIS and Computing Services Center account provides accounting support for the following activities within Columbia University:

    • management of GIS software site licenses
    • provision of computing equipment to projects in support of GIS and related computing
    • technical and administrative assistance in support of GIS and related computing.

This plan describes the services associated with this account, and how rates are established.

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Organizational Chart

The GIS Service Center is operated by CIESIN on behalf of Columbia University users of GIS and related computing services.

Services are executed by four types of specialists:

1. Administrator. Oversees the execution of services and tracks the assets managed by the Service Center, with the support of a clerical staff person.

2. GIS Specialist. Provides technical support on specific GIS technologies to contributing members of the Columbia community. Also interacts with GIS vendors on technical support issues.

3. Computer Specialist. Provides basic systems administration support for the Service Center. Helps troubleshoot installation problems with GIS software and maintains computer equipment managed by the Service Center.

4. Web Specialist. Provides support for design and implementation of Web-based services delivery of GIS data. If the Service Center were to host GIS-related web sites, the Web specialist would provide support.


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The GIS Service Center offers the following support services to the Columbia community:

1. Distribution of GIS software and data currently licensed.

2. Limited technical support services for GIS.

Technical support is provided via an email support list, expert referrals, and follow up with ESRI on selected issues. All licensees get access to a systems administrator, an applications specialist, and a GIS specialist.

3. Maintenance of a University-wide GIS email list.

A University-wide email list is available to licensees and other parties interested in GIS. One list is a forum for licensees and related parties to discuss GIS topics regarding the site license, e.g., availability of new releases. All license administrators are automatically subscribed to this list;other parties may request a subscription. Any subscriber may opt out of the subscription via email.

4. Hosting of GIS and related computing services.

The Service Center operates a server farm as part of its operations. This farm provides support for GIS and related computing services, typically for Internet access to project or department resources via a GIS. Servers residing within the server farm are managed by CIESIN, and GIS software running on these servers are supported by CIESIN.

5. GIS Web-related services.

Design, coding, maintenance of site, registration of domain names, and other such services related to GIS are made available to the licensees and other interested parties. The fee depends on the level of services required. For example, the fee for designing, implementing, and hosting a Web site would be more than the fee for solely designing a site. Thus, costs are determined after an analysis of the functional and design requirements.

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Service Fees

The annual fee schedule corresponds with the Columbia University fiscal year. If you join after the fiscal year has begun, fees are pro-rated on a monthly basis. Licenses of ESRI software and associated services may be purchased through CIESIN at the following rates:



License Rate

Packages Available


In addition to these services, each licensee gets access to limited technical support via an Applications Specialist, System Administrator, and GIS Specialists.

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Sub-License Agreement

Obtain License


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This page last modified: Jul 27, 2011