One of the major missions of the Landscape Architecture Department is to "support a strong...program focusing on the development of sound thinking skills, personal vision, and contribution to the discipline's knowledge base, with a particular emphasis on human ecosystematic design principles". Guided by this mission, among the many objectives of the BSLA and MLA programs are to "instill within students the technical skills and knowledge necessary for landscape design, planning, construction, and professional practice at all scales of concern, with regards to ecological sustainability, efficiency, practicality and the protection of public health, safety and welfare" and "instill hands-on computer proficiency in students, as well as an understanding and awareness of innovations in information technology, and their implications for planning and design process and product". To achieve such objectives, the BSLA and MLA programs of the department provide a wide range of technical equipment and sophisticated information systems for its faculty and students with resources from the university, college, department, and outside of the university.
All faculty members and students in the program benefited from the university's effort to "creat[e] a model for integrating cutting-edge computer and multimedia technology campus-wide" through the Learning-Centered Technology (LCT) Initiative launched in 2005. Through the initiative, a large number of classrooms on campus including those ones frequently used by the program in building 2, 3, and 7 are equipped with the newest presentation and media technology, which include PC, Laptop or MacPro or MacBook Pro, network and internet connections, ceiling-mounted data projector, document camera, DVD and VCR players, amplifier and speaker system, and podium with automated control system. The University's Instructional and Information Technology (I & IT) Division provides technical support and training for faculty members in the use of LCTI classrooms and their computers.
The LCTI classrooms that are frequently used by the program include:
Building 2 - Rooms 111, 112, 113, 126, 201, 202, 206, 214, 217 and 218
Building 3 - Rooms 1006, 1008, 1009, 1019, 1020, 1032, 1033, 1048, 1122, 1616, 1619, 1623, 1629, 1632, 1637, 1639, 1640, 2004, 2011, 2016, 2019, 2020, 2029, 2030, 2044, 2122, 2137, 2615, 2618, 2623, 2628, 2634, 2636, 2643, 2870
Building 7 - Rooms 111, 113, 201, 202, 203, 217 and 235
For faculty members who teach in non LCTI class rooms or need audio and visual equipment in other campus spaces, the media distribution service of the I & IT division will deliver equipment such as computer-based display systems, full-service computer carts, overhead projectors, audio systems and preview facilities to specified classrooms or locations on campus. Media distribution also offers tutorials and consultation sessions to faculty, staff and students regarding the use of the equipment.
In addition to faculty laptops and computer equipment in LCTI classrooms, the university also has constructed multiple open-access general computing labs, such as the Computing Commons Lab in building 98-C5-13, the Campus Center Computing Lab in building 97-121, and the general computer lab and 24-hour computer lab in the library that are available for all faculty and students on campus. These computer labs are equipped with a number of powerful desktop computers installed with fundamental application software such as Microsoft Office, as well as equipment such as printers and scanners. Some of them are specially designed as multimedia labs to offer graphic design application programs such as Adobe Suite.
In addition to hardware equipments, the I & IT division of the University acquires a wide variety of operational systems and software licenses for the use of faculty, staff and students on campus. Currently operation systems available on campus include most windows operation systems from Windows 98 to Windows 7 (including Windows NT servers), MAC operation systems from MAC 8.1 to MAC Snow Leopard (including MAX OS X Server). Application software available for faculty and students to download and install on their campus or personal computers include anti-virus programs, e.g., McAfee and Norton, database programs, e.g., Oracle, graphic media programs, e.g., Adobe Suite, office products, e.g., Microsoft Office Professional, SFTP software, e.g., Fugu and PuTTY, statistical programs, e.g., Mathematica, SAS and SPSS, and utility programs, e.g., Winzip, Eraser, Ghost, Retrospective. Most of these applications are installed in the open access computer labs on campus. However, multimedia applications such as Adobe Suite are only available in the Computing Commons, and the 24-hour computer lab in the University Library.
Faculty and students in the Landscape Architecture Department have access to these up-to-date open access computer equipment and software and have been using them in their teaching, research and study activities.
The Center for Geographic Information Science Research (CGISR) is the geospatial technology and information hub serving the Cal Poly Pomona campus. It is supported by four colleges on campus including the College of Environmental Design (CED). As representatives of the college, faculty members from the Landscape Architecture Department have been continuously serving in the advisory board of the CGISR. Previous and current board members include Dr. Kyle Brown, Associate Professor Gerald Taylor, Professor Karen Hanna and Dr. Weimin Li, who are actively involved in making decisions on how to support the continuous development of the center and how the center can better support teaching, research and service activities on campus. Since its establishment, faculty members of the department have been intensively using the hardware, software, and services provided by the center in teaching a wide variety of subjects related to human ecosystematic design and planning, especially the application of geospatial information and technologies at various scales, and conducting cutting edge research. Students in the department not only use the CGISR facilities while taking GIS relevant courses, but also have access to the computer lab of the center while there is no class in session from 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday to Friday. Moreover, they have full access to the center¡¯s geospatial database, which contains rich landscape inventory data about the Southern California and beyond for use in their studio assignments. Technical support and assistance from staff of the center are also available to faculty and students.
Currently the CGISR has two computer labs equipped with power desktop computers and cutting edge geospatial software platforms. One of the labs is mainly for teaching and the other one is for advanced research. The teaching lab consists of 28 desktop stations and an 8?x11 inch laser printer and digital projector, while the research lab has ten workstations, an 11x13 inch color printer, and two large format plotters, which can plot three-feet wide and five feet-wide outputs respectively. Additionally, the center also has central servers, which are used to maintain site licenses of geospatial software such as ESRI ArcGIS, as well as other geospatial equipments such as GPS handhelds that are available to faculty and students on campus by request.
Other than providing computer and geospatial hardware and technical support, one other important mission of the CGISR is to manage and maintain campus-wide site licenses of GIS platforms such as ESRI ARCGIS desktop, ARCGIS server and ARC IMS. Faculty members on campus including those of the Landscape Architecture Department can install the software on their office or personal computer and use it through campus intranet or Virtual Private Network (VPN) if they are working off campus. Students can use the GIS software in the computer labs in the CGISR, in other college and department computer labs, or obtain a free student version of ARCGIS desktop provided by ESRI to universities with a site license and install it on their own desktop or laptop computers. The availability of a free student version makes it possible for Landscape Architecture students to use the applications with their own computer. In addition to ESRI products, the CGISR also runs other GIS and remote sensing software such as ERDAS Imagines, and Google Earth.
The department has also earned respect as a source for qualified employees. The department office and faculty are frequently contacted by the professional community regarding prospective employees. In this way we maintain an awareness of what practitioners are seeking in our continuing students and graduates.
In addition to campus wide information systems and computer equipment, the College of Environmental Design has been continually updating and improving its computer labs and multimedia services to address the computation and digital design needs of faculty and students from different departments. One of the major purposes of this effort is to educate environmental design students to have current computer skills to face the challenge of the digital design revolution in the environmental design professionals and industries. The Technology Committee of the college is responsible for evaluating and monitoring the college's progress in managing and improving environmental design relevant technologies and faculties and providing feedback, input, and policy recommendations to the Dean. Faculty member Dr. Weimin Li is the representative of the Landscape Architecture Department on the ENV Technology Committee and responsible for enhancing the efficiency of communicating between the department and the college with regard to technology and equipment related issues.
Currently the College of Environmental Design has two major computer facilities in building 7 and building 3 respectively. The Computer-Aided Instruction (CAI) Lab in building 7 consists of four separate computer teaching rooms and is the older computer facility of the college. Each of the computer rooms has about 20 desktop computers installed with a series of environmental design applications such as AutoCAD, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, ESRI ArcGIS, and so on. The CAI lab had been run by an information technology consultant along with a number of student assistants. In 2009, the university decided to centralized technology support for the whole campus. As a result, the technical staff of the college work under the I & IT division on campus and no longer serve the college exclusively.
Due to the increasingly aging of hardware equipments in the old CIA lab and its outdated versions of software, the College of Environmental Design has been seeking university support to construct new computer facilities. As the outcome of such efforts, the college now has four new computer labs in building 7 and a brand new media service bureau, which provides printing, scanning, cutting and 3D modeling services to faculty and students in the college. The four computer labs are located in room 1046, 1122, 1632 and 1640 in building 3. Two of these four labs have 25 powerful desktop computers in each of them, while the other two labs have 13 desktop computers plus 12 monitor stations that can be connected to laptop computers. As these labs are newly built and the college is still developing policies on the use of the computer labs, currently they are only available for instructional use by request by faculty members. While the college is seeking to purchase the most up-to-date computer-aided design software, currently computers in the labs do not have a full list of design software installed due to campus wide budget cuts. This situation also limits the use of these new computer facilities. In addition to computer labs, another important facility of the college in building 3 is the brand new media service bureau (room 1644), which currently has two large format plotters, two laser cutters, two laser printers, two cutting edge 3D printers and a large format scanner. Faculty and students in the college can use this equipment to produce design outputs.
As the college no longer has in-house technical staff, staff of the I & IT division are now responsible in managing and maintaining both of the computer labs and media service bureau in building 3.
In addition to university and college facilities and equipments, the Landscape Architecture department also seeks funding from the university, college, outside donors and projects to maintain and update technical equipment, such as computers, printers, scanners, digital projectors, and phones within the department. The goal is to provide both undergraduate and graduate students handy equipment to support their studio practice and improve the efficiency of studio teaching and learning experiences. The department's technical equipment is mainly located in faculty's offices and the major studio classrooms, including those in building 2 and 3.
With departmental funding, the BSLA program also provides basic technical equipment such as printers and scanners in the undergraduate studios in building 3 and building 7. The undergraduate advisors oversea and monitor these equipments. However, currently there is no specific staff assigned to manage and maintain this equipment.
In addition to laptop and flat panel computers offered by the university, some faculty members in the department with extra need of computer hardware and software support for their scholarly activities have received powerful desktop computers, printers, and geospatial analysis software packages such as Definiens Developer and ITT ENVI from the college, department, or outside donors, such as ESRI president Jack Dangermond. Faculty members can also update their existing equipment with individual research funding.