The goal of the Geographic Information Centre (GIC) is to actively support the teaching, learning and research activities of McGill University in the areas of Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing.

            It is our pleasure to welcome you to the new academic year 2013-2014. After one year of operation the Geographic Information Centre (GIC) has achieved the goals established in our first year and we are moving forward to better serve you. The main milestones related to our mission of providing support in GIS and Remote Sensing to McGill students, faculty and researchers encompassed the creation of a high performance computer laboratory (HPCL BH509) for graduate students and faculty in need of very fast computers to manage large datasets with the main GIS and remote sensing software. This laboratory has a 16 TB server available for data management and back- up of projects supported by the GIC. In addition, we will be offering plotting services for large format map printing at low cost.

            We have created a quiet study area with power connections in the SE wing of the Centre and opened new spaces for group study in the SW wing. Computers in BH511 (teaching classroom) have been updated for better GIS/RS performance. New software procedures have been established to procure maximum usability and stability of the computers. The meeting room, BH512, has moved to the GIC and now booking will be done using the GIC webpage. We shall finalize the equipment (projectors, screens, blinds, etc), so we hope to have the room ready soon.

            To fulfill our objective of training graduate students and faculty, we offered a series of GIS and RS courses during 2012-2013, which were taught at full capacity. During the new academic year we will be providing more courses in GIS and remote sensing and we are excited to announce a series of new courses using Open Source software (Quantum GIS).

            As a new goal of the GIC, the Centre will be providing support to different projects at McGill University. The scale of these projects go from the creation of a database and web interface for peatlands in Ontario to a large input data system for the Indian Ocean World Project to facilitate data entering and analysis for collaborators worldwide. The GIC has become part of the project Mission Airborne Carbon 2013 (MAC13), a three-year research project aiming to develop carbon models for forest ecosystems in Costa Rica, as well as training Canadian researchers in the use of hyperspectral data. In order to achieve our collaborative research goals, we welcome Dr. Ablajan Sulaiman, the new Research Assistant with expertise in database creation, management and web interfaces.

            Finally, as the new academic year starts, we will continue working closely with McGill Libraries in order to guide GIS and RS data requests that commonly come to our front desk service. It is important to clarify that GIS and RS data is still managed by McGill Libraries as they are the data repository.

            Please visit us at to keep you posted with news and events in the Centre, such as GIS Day 2014 (November 19),  courses and others.

Opening Hours

Please check the GIC’s opening hours for the fall 2014 and winter 2015. During opening hours we are glad to support for your GIS and remote sensing needs. We highly recommend users to make an appointment through for specific projects (M.Sc or PhD) since we might not have the time to deal with “urgent” requests on a walk-in basis. Front desk people in the GIC don’t answer or solve assignment questions from students. For help with GIS/RS courses students should address their questions to the TA or course professor.

Outside opening hours, it is possible to request after-hour access for members of the McGill community in need of the facility (specifically for GIS and RS work) by emailing us at Students need a request from a faculty member on their behalf. The GIC can rescind this access at any time if deemed necessary.

On the weekends, the Burnside Hall is closed to the public, but it is accessible to the McGill community with a valid McGill id card that has been programmed for after hours access.

 The GIC team

 Pablo Arroyo – GIC Director

PhDUniversity of Connecticut. USA. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Advisor: Dr. Robin Chazdon. Thesis: “Natural forest management plans in Costa Rica: A potential framework for assessing tree diversity”

M.Sc. University of Alberta Alberta, Canada. Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Advisor: Dr. Arturo Sanchez-Azofeifa. Thesis: “Forest cover assessment, fragmentation analysis and secondary forest detection for the Chorotega region, Costa Rica”

B.Fo. School of Forestry. Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica, Costa Rica. Advisor: Dr. Julio C. Calvo. Honors Thesis: “Ensayos de Adaptabilidad de especies nativas en la zona sur the Costa Rica”

Area of Knowledge: Tropical forestry, Forest ecology, Diversity assessment, GIS, Remote sensing and Landscape ecology, Project management

Contact him by phone at 514-398-6052 or email him at

 Ablajan Sulaiman – Research Assistant

PhD. Montreal University. Canada. Geography. Advisor: Dr. Christopher Bryant Thesis:” Regional Economic Development, Policy and Regional Disparity in Large Territories:   The Case of Canada and China”.

M.Sc. Xinjiang Normal University. China. Geography.  Thesis:” The Study of Sustainable Development of Bugur County

B.Sc. Xinjiang Normal University. China. Geography. Thesis:” Proper Exploitation and Utilization of Xinjiang Natural Resources

Area of Expertise: Geography, GIS/RS, Web Mapping & Design, Web Development and Database Management, Geo-spatial Data Visualization

Interests: GIS Application, Web GIS, Integrative Research, Comparative Data Analysis.

Contact him by phone at 514-398-7438 or email him at

Ruilan Shi – GIS technician

ruilanwebpicM.U.P. – McGill University -School of Urban Planning. Advisers: Jeanne Mary Wolfe and David Brown. Thesis Title : Spatial Analysis of Urbanization in Greater Montreal.

  • Bachelor of Economics - Renmin University, China

Area of expertise: Provide help on using ArcGIS, troubleshooting ArcGIS versions, ArcGIS licenses, GIS software solutions.

Contact her by phone at 514-398-7438 or email her at