The mission of the GIS Unit is three parts. First, to maintain secure, standardized campus geospatial data and provide that data to leaders and staff in support of planning and maintenance activities. Second, provide transparency of university projects to the public. Third, provide data and map layers to students and faculty for academic needs.

Efficiently provide the best geospatial data to the right people, reduce redundancy, guide planning, increase reliability, and improve accuracy of campus spatial information.

The UNC Greensboro campus has a complex utility network which provides lighting, heating, cooling, safety, and services to 19,000 students and 3,000 employees. Set in the middle Greensboro, North Carolina, many city utilities intersect with the campus making management of campus utilities and infrastructure a challenge. At over 250 acres the campus contains 28 residence halls, 27 academic buildings, and several natural areas. This information is in a Geographic Information System allowing university facilities departments to manage, plan, and analyze, campus activities and resources.

Created in 2017 as part of Facilities Design and Construction, the GIS Unit has evolved from simply managing GIS data to producing web-based maps and dashboards beneficial to many departments on campus, NC811 ticket management, and supervision of Facilities Archives.

The GIS Unit is exclusively responsible for three (3) key components: Maps & GIS, NC811 Ticket Management, and Facilities Archive Management.

Early Development

Originally, CAD drawings made up the majority of maps on campus. Those CAD drawings were used to build the first campus GIS. Facilities staff relied on GIS maps on paper or a desktop computer for planning and maintenance. Paper was not interactive and the desktop computer only allowed one user at a time. The desktop computer, using ArcReader, was also difficult to update with newer data.

Current Development

In 2017, the GIS Unit was reorganized and placed under Facilities Design and Construction. The first task of this new GIS unit was to create a standard campus base map for use by anyone needing to make an up-to-date accurate map of the campus. This initiative was known as “One Campus/One Map”. This map was developed in coordination with Space Utilization and Planning (Formally Space Management) to ensure building names were accurate and up to date.

A second project was to update GIS layers for the above and underground utilities for Facilities Operations. GIS layers were updated using as-built drawings and air photos to identify above ground features and correct positional accuracy. These are updated regularly as new information is discovered or changes are made to the utilities.

The previous desktop GIS system (ArcReader) was out of date and was replaced with ArcGIS Online (AGOL). All GIS layers were moved into the cloud-based AGOL service. AGOL allows users to access the layers and maps from mobile devices and office computers. These AGOL map layers are the foundation for all Facilities GIS.

The AGOL layers made it easy to implement online reference maps and dashboards. Reference maps for all campus utilities, base map layers, buildings, and points of interest were produced for staff to access. This has not replaced the PDF or print maps completely. Printed maps are made available for field crews in the event of power or internet outages. Print maps are updated after major changes on campus or by request. Dashboards provide decision makers simplified views of complex data on projects and utilities across campus. Maps and dashboards can provide updates on construction and renovation projects to the public as well.


In 2017 there was no system to maintain a standard set of map information. Many of these maps were distributed online and never updated which led to confusion. It was suggested that UNC Greensboro should have a single base or reference map from which all other maps are created.


The One Campus/One Map initiative was a plan to create and maintain a basemap of the UNC Greensboro campus on which all future maps will be based. The basemap would be kept up to date by the GIS Unit and include locations useful to most mapping applications on campus.


After six months and input from many departments, the Facilities Design and Construction GIS Unit released the first basemap in the summer of 2017. These maps are designed to print at 24×36 inches and can be downloaded and edited in Adobe Illustrator. Maps are now updated annually and after major changes to the campus.


A common basemap is a critical piece of any enterprise GIS. There is a need to manage and monitor campus property, facilities, and resources efficiently as the campus grows or changes. An enterprise GIS will provide a smoother workflow, less chance for error, and timely changes to maps. This campus basemap is the foundation for the future UNC Greensboro campus wide enterprise GIS.

A Geographic Information System (GIS) provides sophisticated software to manage spatial data on the campus. Data, Software, Hardware, Network, and People are the primary components of a GIS.

  • Data are the assets on campus. Locations of underground utilities, academic departments, building footprints, signs, parking spaces, etc. All of the physical assets that provide safety, security, and guidance to Students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
  • Software is the computer program which allow the analyst to manage and manipulate the data creating maps and dashboards.
  • Hardware makes up the input, output, and storage for the data.
  • Network distributes the data, maps, dashboards to the users. Cloud services have replaced desktop and print services for data distribution.
  • People are the experts who manage the above and users who rely on the networks to interact with the data and map products.

All of these components are consolidated in the GIS Unit, a part of Facilities Design and Construction. This GIS Unit provides a means to organize and distribute data and maps for assets across campus. The GIS Unit manages the data on assets, supports facilities operations and capital projects, assists in way finding, and supports operational and academic needs. As the campus grows, the GIS services must grow with it, maintaining an accessible record of assets and real-estate. Concurrent with this growth is the need for a well-organized set of geospatial data which provides secure standardized data to decision makers and staff.



These map products are for reference and inventory purposes only and may not have been prepared for or be suitable for legal, engineering, or surveying purposes. It does not represent an on-the-ground or underground survey and represents only the approximate relative location of property boundaries, utilities, structures, and any other cultural or natural features that may be present on the map.

Prior to digging, the locations of all underground utilities in the project area should be verified through a utility locate service and contacting NC811.UNC Greensboro does not accept any responsibility for errors, omissions, or positional accuracy.

UNC Greensboro does not accept any responsibility for errors, omissions, or positional accuracy.

GIS Unit
UNC Greensboro
800 Oakland Ave
Greensboro, NC 27402