No research facility is complete without the tools needed to track, model and visualize information and data.

Geographic information systems (GIS), scientific data visualization, mapping and GPS representation, as well as spatial and statistical modeling are all emphasized in the GSC’s Data Science and Visualization Lab. Computers, plotters, scanners, and specialized software platforms are available for scientists, students, and course instructors as well as the local community involved in our outreach programs.

Whatever is needed to do the work, this lab is the backbone of the research conducted in the GSC.

Some of the projects in this laboratory include:

Monitoring and mapping of habitat and spatial analysis of migratory, endemic, and introduced species in Galapagos.

Monitoring and mapping of threats to Galapagos due to plastic pollution.

Biogeographic history of endemic plants such as the Guayabillo in Galapagos.

Observatory of climate change in the islands.

Mapping of habitats of importance located in rural ecosystems.

Use of drones to create real-time mapping and construction of future predictive models of the distribution of native and introduced species.

Land use.

High resolution study on microclimates of various plant zones on San Cristóbal Island.

Monitoring and control of companion and feral animals in urban areas.

Development of proposals to help advise touristic routes in Galapagos.

The Data Science and Visualization Lab is equipped with the following:

  • Two-Way Radios Uniden GMR5089-2CKHS
  • Marine VHF Radios Icom-ICM73
  • Two-Way Radios Motorola MJ430CR GMRS/FRS
  • Two-Way Radios Midland GXT795VP4 with charger
  • GPS Garmin GPSMAP 62sc
  • GPS Garmin eTrex Venture HC
  • GPS Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx
  • GPS Garmin GPSMAP 64sx
  • GPS Garmin RINO700 Handheld with two-way radio
  • Satellite Phone Inmarsat IsatPhone2
  • Hypsometers


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In 2022, the Galapagos Science Center (GSC) and the broader UNC & USFQ Galapagos Initiative will celebrate its 10th Anniversary. We are proud to announce the World Summit on Island Sustainability scheduled to be held on June 26–30, 2022 at the Galapagos Science Center and the Community Convention Center on San Cristobal Island.

The content of the World Summit will be distributed globally through social media and results documented through papers published in a book written as part of the Galapagos Book Series by Springer Nature and edited by Steve Walsh (UNC) & Carlos Mena (USFQ) as well as Jill Stewart (UNC) and Juan Pablo Muñoz (GSC/USC). The book will be inclusive and accessible by the broader island community including scientists, managers, residents, tourists, and government and non-government organizations.

While the most obvious goal of organizing the World Summit on Island Sustainability is to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the GSC and the UNC-USFQ Galapagos Initiative, other goals will be addressed through special opportunities created as part of our operational planning of the World Summit.

For instance, we seek to elevate and highlight the Galapagos in the island conservation discourse, seeking to interact with other island networks in more obvious and conspicuous ways to benefit the Galapagos Islands, the UNC-USFQ Galapagos Initiative, and the world. We will seize the opportunity to further develop the I2N2 – International Islands Network-of-Networks. Further, we wish to highlight and emphasize multiple visions of a sustainable future for the Galapagos Islands and we cannot do this alone. Therefore, engaging the Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Tourism, the Government Council of Galapagos, the Galapagos National Park, and local Galapagos authorities, including government and non-government organizations and local citizen groups, is imperative.

The Galapagos Science Center on San Cristobal Island, Galapagos

Borrowing from Hawaii’s and Guam’s Green Growth Program and the Global Island Partnership, we wish to examine existing global programs that emphasize island sustainability and their incorporation into life, policies, and circumstances in the Galapagos Islands. We will also seek to enhance our connections with the institutional members of our International Galapagos Science Consortium and expand the Consortium through the recruitment of other member institutions. We will also work to benefit islands and their local communities by working with citizen groups as well as important NGOs who seek to improve the natural conditions in the Galapagos and diminish the impact of the human dimension on the future of Galapagos’ ecosystems.

Lastly, we will use the World Summit to benefit UNC & USFQ and our constituencies through a strong and vibrant communication plan about the World Summit, creating corporate relationships as sponsors, identifying funding goals through donors, and benefiting our study abroad program for student engagement in the Galapagos Islands. We plan to develop and issue a Galapagos Sustainability Communique after the World Summit that includes the vision and insights of all its participants for a sustainable Galapagos with applicability to global island settings.

We are eager to hear your perspective and have you join us at the World Summit on Island Sustainability!