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Geographic Information Systems (GIS): GIS lab computers & software

GIS Help

The GIS laboratory, housed on the 3rd floor of Rotch Library (7-238), is available for use during Rotch's operating hours. GIS software and one-on-one help is for use by the MIT Community only.

Stop by any of the times listed below for GIS help - no appointment necessary.

June 4th - August 31st: Monday-Friday 2-3pm

If you cannot make these times, email your question or contact us to set up an appointment:

Computer Policies

The GIS lab computers are primarily for use by MIT community members who are actively working with GIS or statistics software. They can be used to run processing tasks for an extended amount of time in certain circumstances. Follow these procedures:

  • Users may run a processing job on one computer at a time and no more than 2 computers should be locked for processing at once, by separate users. Exceptions may be made during quiet periods, such as winter break, over the weekends, and during the summer.
  • If your processing job will take more than 24 hours, email with the dates that you would like to run a process on a GIS lab computer. GIS staff will instruct you as to which computer to use and procedures to follow.
  • If your processing job will take less than 24 hours
    • Begin your process after 5pm so it can run overnight when the GIS lab is not busy. 
    • Lock the computer after you begin processing.
    • Leave a note at the computer indicating that you are processing data. It should include your email address and the date you began processing.
    • Return the next day to export your data and log off the computer.
    • If you do not return within 2 days of the start date and do not have prior permission from GIS staff, the computer will be re-started so that others may use it.
  • Users who are actively working with software in the GIS lab have priority for using the computers. GIS staff will attempt to contact a user who is running a process if the computer is needed by someone else. GIS staff may need to re-start the computer and end the process if the computer is needed immediately.
  • GIS staff are not responsible for monitoring the processes. The GIS lab is open to all MIT community members and is not staffed most of the time. Computers could inadvertently get re-started or unplugged.


The software listed below is installed on all GIS lab computers unless otherwise noted. Software is for use by the MIT Community only.

ESRI Products



Rhino *new*

AutoCAD *new*

PhotoScan (computers #5 & #7) *new*

Drone2Map (computer #4, email to check out a license) *new*

ENVI (computers #1 & #2) *new*

R & RStudio

Stata (installed on all computers, but only two users at a time; look for the desktop icon, not in the start menu) *new*


Geolytics (computer #6)



Seven new computer workstations were installed in the GIS lab in August 2015. All require an MIT Athena login.


  • Dell Precision 7810XC
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM, 2133 MHz DDR4, RDIMM ECC
  • Two Hard Drives: 512 GB solid state drives
  • Processor: Six core XEON processor (2.4GHz, 15M, Turbo)
  • Video Card: NVIDIA Quadro K2200 4GB
  • DVD ROM drive