The GIS Laboratory is a well-managed teaching and research environment that integrates geographic data for mapping and spatial analysis. The laboratory supports undergraduate teaching by providing access to the latest GIS software, peripheral input-output devices and storage facilities. To encourage self-guided learning, the Department holds a campus license that grants students the right to install GIS software on their own laptop computers. The laboratory enables basic and applied research using different geospatial approaches at various geographic scales (street, block, neighborhood, nation and world). Dual-screen and high-performance workstations are available with equipment support from the University. Both research and taught postgraduates of the university community can seek access to the laboratory with the Head of Department’s approval.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Laboratory
The Geomorphology & Hydrology Laboratory is equipped with instruments for the analysis of tree-ring, air quality and sediment samples, simulation work within the fields of geomorphology and hydrology, investigation of processes shaping landforms and associated tests to support the Department’s research activities. Equipment includes stereomicroscopes, increment borer, sieving machine, filtering unit, water sampler, dust collector, BOD incubator and current velocity meter.
The Department’s Map Library is one of the most comprehensive of its kind in Hong Kong and nearby regions. It has a collection of almost 61,480 map items (with particular emphasis on Hong Kong and East & Southeast Asia); over 15,800 air photos (especially on Hong Kong); a sizeable number of atlases, wall maps, marine charts, satellite images, cartobibliographies, audio and video tapes and CD-ROMs. The library also houses more than 1,500 geography dissertations and postgraduate theses, completed from 1968 onwards. It has three map browsing stations for HKU users to search for relevant Hong Kong maps in support of teaching and learning as well as research work.
The Soils & Biogeography Laboratory is equipped to carry out research analyses of soil, sediment, water and inspection of wood decay in trees. Equipment includes: CHNS/O elemental analyzer, CO2/H2O gas analyzer, radon detector, rotary evaporator, sonic tomograph, sibert drill, solar radiometer, indoor air quality monitor and a wide range of field equipment. It provides an excellent environment for teaching and learning, as well as the Department’s research works.
Established since 2002, the Urban & Transport Research Laboratory provides support for advanced research about issues related to cities and transportation, including regional, national and international levels. The Laboratory is currently upgrading with advanced computing capacities and information technology facilities to support geospatial artificial intelligence and smart cities research. The facility is associated with the HKU Joint Laboratory on Future Cities and the global network of Global AI FutureCity Lab.
General Computer Facilities
The Department provides sizeable resources to cater for computer needs of staff and students. Two levels of services are available for teaching and research: workstation systems and clusters of PCs. Workstations are housed in GIS Research Laboratories and are dedicated to postgraduate teaching and research purposes. PCs are available for use by students in two locations: GIS Research Laboratories and Map Library. All PCs are equipped with word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software. In addition, PCs in GIS Research Laboratories are installed with applications that provide state-of-the-art capabilities for spatial data processing, modeling, statistical analysis, as well as the manipulation of other essentials such as aerial photographs and satellite imageries. Map Library provides an online catalogue service. It allows users to search most available resources in Map Library through internet.