Membership FAQ

1. Who can Become a Member of UCGIS?
  • UCGIS members are institutions rather than individuals. Any college or university, national laboratory, or geospatially-focused professional society, based in the United States, whose mission and activities are consistent with the purposes of UCGIS, are eligible to become a regular member, either at the Full or Basic level.  
  • Affiliate members can be institutions, agencies, or entities that are actively involved in education, research, or service related to the geospatial sciences, but are not eligible for regular membership. These would include:
    • Corporate Affiliates 
    • Government Affiliates
    • International Affiliates (typically, universities or research centers based outside of the United States)
    • Non-Profit Affiliates

2. How do Basic, Full, and Affiliates Memberships differ?
  • The traditional, flagship UCGIS membership is a Full one, designed for an academic institution, organization, or society as a whole. With Full memberships, any individual affiliated with the entity, from any school, department, or program, are all eligible to participate in UCGIS activities and partake of UCGIS representation. This includes all faculty, staff, administrators, and students. Institutions holding Full memberships typically have GIS&T education and research taking place within multiple Schools, Departments, and Programs across their campus. Full members have unlimited access to UCGIS resources, and are entitled to two (2) votes by their designated Delegates on matters of UCGIS interest and concern. Dues for Full Members are $2000/year. 
  • A Basic membership, designed for a single Department, Program, or School within an institution, is an option when a Full membership is not possible.  This category accommodates institutions with GIS&T education and research limited to one School, Department, or Program, and may be suitable for a smaller institution overall. Basic members have full access to UCGIS resources and are entitled to designate one (1) voting Delegate.  Dues for Basic Members are $750/year.
  • Affiliate members may participate in UCGIS activities, and are entitled to many UCGIS resources and benefits, such as serving on committees. However, Affiliate representatives may not vote or hold elected office. Dues for Affiliate Members vary and are set by the Board of Directors.

3. Several universities within our state-wide system are interested in being members. Is there a way to make that happen that takes advantage or our existing administrative connections?
We have a multi-campus category of membership that fits this situation, and have formal guidelines that explain how this works across the institutions. Once you've read through the guidelines, give us a call or send us an email if you have other questions about this membership category. 

4. We are familiar with UCGIS and definitely wish to apply for membership.  How do we begin?
  • Gather and organize information about GIScience and GIS&T use on your campus (or in your department or center). Since this will involve communicating and coordinating with one or more people from your institution or organization to understand the big picture, plan accordingly. The application has questions about the use of GIS and related spatial sciences in research, education, extra-curricular activities, IT and the library, and other venues and situations on your campus. Here is a complete list of the application questions (pdf, last updated August 2020).
  • Contact the Membership Committee Chair or the Executive Director to advise them of your intentions and clarify any questions you may still have about UCGIS membership.
  • Obtain a Letter of Support from a senior administrator at your institution, indicating that they recognize and accept the responsibility for regular financial support of UCGIS membership. If you are applying for a Full Membership, the individual must be a President or Provost. Here is a template for the Full Membership letter of support. For a Basic Membership, a Dean is also eligible. Here is template for a Basic Membership letter of support. For Affiliate Memberships, please discuss this matter with the Executive Director as you prepare your application.
  • Keep track of timelines. The Council votes on membership matter twice a year, in December and in May at our Symposium. Memberships approved in December will begin on January 1, and the May applicants would begin on July 1.
  • Note that there is a $500 processing fee to join UCGIS. This one-time fee is the same regardless of membership category, and is collected only after an institution's application for membership is approved by the Council.  
  • Once you are ready, please submit your responses to the application questions as an emailed pdf sent to both the Membership Chair and the Executive Director.

5. We have a full institutional membership and have arranged to have three different departments contribute to the annual dues. They are all willing to do this because the faculty and students from these departments all enjoy the benefits. But these departments are in different colleges within our university, and coordinating the internal transfer of the funds each year is an administrative hassle. What can you do to help us?
No problem! UCGIS can provide separate invoices for each department, and can even send the individual invoices at different times of the year, if that makes it easier. Just let us know how you would like it coordinated and we'll keep track of it for you.

6. We've joined!  Now what do we do?

Great, and welcome!  We look forward to getting to know you and your campus colleagues more. Begin by watching this brief How to Get the Most from your UCGIS Membership video, and then reach out to us with any questions!  If you have a full campus membership, do all you can to let your colleagues (faculty, students, staff) know about their access and resource opportunities.


7. Our university used to be a member of UCGIS years ago, but we aren't any more. What would we have to do to become members again?

Re-initiating a lapsed membership is simple and requires only a letter of intent.  To begin, please contact the Membership Committee Chair or the Executive Director to discuss your interest.  There is a $250 re-initiation fee, regardless of whether the membership category will change. 


8. I think that our institution would benefit from being a member of UCGIS, but I am not certain.  How can I learn more?
Read through our detailed list of membership benefits (pdf, last updated January 2020), and/or share this membership flyer with your colleagues too (pdf, last updated April 2019). Please contact the current Membership Committee Chair, anyone from our Board of Directors, or our Executive Director, to ask any questions you have and learn more about this organization. We welcome inquires from any and all eligible institutions and organizations!