About Us

The Spatial Initiative (TSI), formerly known as GIServices, is a unit within the Office of the Vice-President Research (OVPR). In 2010, Karen Chad, Vice President Research, and Scott Bell, submitted a proposal entitled Supporting Geographical Information Systems (GIS) at the University of Saskatchewan. The proposal was discussed by the Provost’s Committee on Integrated Planning (PCIP) on April 19, 2010. The PCIP recognized that GIS is an essential tool for instructional, research, and outreach activities at the university, and approved a permanent funding of $100,000 annually. In October 2010, Dr. Weiping (Winston) Zeng was hired by The Spatial Initiative. The goal of The Spatial Initiative is to provide geospatial technology—including software, data, training, research, and services to faculty, staff, and students in the University of Saskatchewan community.

Geospatial technology (geomatics) is concerned with the collection, distribution, storage, analysis, processing, and presentation of geographic data. It encompasses several fields and techniques, including:

  • Geographic information systems (GIS): computer-based technology that has become the standard tool for capturing, manipulating, analyzing, and visualizing geographically referenced information;
  • Remote sensing (RS): acquisition of data and images from satellites (satellite imagery) or aircraft (aerial photography);
  • Global positioning system (GPS): acquisition of real-time location information from a series of satellites in the Earth’s orbit; and
  • Cartography: the study and practice of map making.

Geospatial technology is mature research technology applied across a broad spectrum of disciplines such as healthcare services (nursing, medicine, kinesiology), marketing, social sciences (sociology, psychology), agriculture, earth sciences, and applied sciences. It is used for everything from organizing and analyzing geographical data for mineral exploration to empowering marginalized communities to improve child health. Geospatial technology provides students and faculty with access to geospatial data—the kind of data available in paper maps. Most updates to national geospatial databases in Canada and elsewhere are now provided solely in digital formats that can be accessed only with geospatial technology. The geomatics support on campus provides ready access to information essential to faculty and students for course work or research.

Our office is available to help with questions or concerns related to geospatial technology, so please contact us if you have a question.

Our mission is to:

  • Provide support for geospatial training and education for students, faculty, and staff;
  • Provide and manage geospatial software and equipment for students, faculty, and staff;
  • Acquire, enhance, maintain, and disseminate digital spatial data;
  • Support and encourage the incorporation of geospatial technology and spatial thinking in the research agenda of the University of Saskatchewan; and
  • Research and develop geospatial tools and technologies for community partners.

Recent Projects



Esri Canada Scholarship

Esri Canada has selected the University of Saskatchewan as one of the institutions to whom it awards a scholarship for an outstanding student. Using GIS in innovative scholarly or research works.The scholarship consists of a cash award, software, books and access to training and Esri conferences. The Spatial Initiative selects the University's recipient.

Other scholarship and fellowship

The Spatial Initiative may offer research assistant fellowship for graduate and undergraduate students in the near future.


October 2019: Congratulations on Colin Minielly, our previous GIS technician, accepted a full time forestry technician job at Prince Albert. Hi Colin, we hope you have much success and happiness in your new position.

October 2019: Congratulations on Yanping Li, our research assistant, accepted a full time internship at Start & Marsh CPA LLP in Swift Current.  Hi Yanping, we hope you have much success and happiness in your new position.