Mission and Scope

The University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) is a non-profit organization that creates and supports communities of practice for GIScience research, education, and policy endeavors in higher education and with allied institutions. We are the professional hub for the academic GIS community in the United States, with partnerships extending this capacity abroad.
Our mission is to

  • Advance research in the field of Geographic Information Science;
  • Expand and strengthen Geographic Information Science education;
  • Advocate policies for the promotion of the ethical use of and access to geographic information and technologies; and,
  • Build scholarly communities and networks to foster multi-disciplinary GIS research and education.

This mission statement was initially presented to the UCGIS Council during the 2012 Symposium in Washington DC, subsequently discussed and voted upon by the UCGIS Board of Directors at its Board meeting on October 22, 2012 and voted upon by the UCGIS Council of Delegates during the virtual council meeting on December 13, 2012.  
Here you can find a current copy of the UCGIS ByLaws (last updated December 2023).  
UCGIS emphasizes the multidisciplinary nature of GIS and the need for balance and cooperation among the disciplines listed below, and many others.  

  • CARTOGRAPHY, includes the analysis, design, visualization, and generation of various forms of maps, and can take advantage of animation, user interaction, and analytical processing.
  • COGNITIVE SCIENCE. A significant branch of geographic information science is concerned with how people think about their geographic surroundings. Researchers use this knowledge to make Geographic Information Systems easier to use and to improve the design of navigation systems for vehicles and for the visually impaired.
  • COMPUTER SCIENCE.  The need for better methods of representing geographic information in databases and processing it for specific purposes has led to specialization in such areas as spatial databases, computational geometry, spatial reasoning, and digital libraries
  • ENGINEERING and LAND SURVEYING are the determination and physical protraction of land boundaries to serve as a basis of real estate and taxation
  • ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES, which include disciplines such as Forestry and Soil Science, are advancing research into the spatio - temporal relationships of phenomena in the natural and human - modified environment, the correlation and distribution of physical and biotic resources, and the simulation of trends and conditions under varying assumptions of environmental process.
  • GEODETIC SCIENCE researches new and more accurate methods for determining precise positions on the Earth's surface. GPS units, for instance, can establish their exact position anywhere on the earth by observing the signals of satellites.
  • GEOGRAPHY research focuses on the development and application of geographic information theory and technologies to the discipline's traditional goal of understanding the spatial relationships between
  • LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE.  GIS technologies are aiding the design process as landscape architects address ecological issues and the physical, biological and social characteristics of their sites.
  • LAW and PUBLIC POLICY research addresses ownership rights in digital spatial data, liability associated with the creation and use of geographic information, ethical use of geographic databases, access to the government's geographic data and records, and the effects of detailed spatial data sets on personal privacy.
  • REMOTE SENSING and PHOTOGRAMMETRY focus on the science of interpretation and making measurements using images acquired from a distance. These disciplines are devising new computer-based methods for detecting features, establishing their precise position, and undertaking analysis and interpretation of image content.
  • STATISTICS. Questions about the accuracy of geographic information and the uncertainties associated with coarse-scale maps are being tackled through developments in the recognized sub-fields of spatial statistics and geostatistics