Taubman College

Spatial and Numeric Data Services


North Campus SAND Lab: 2207
Art & Architecture Building

Fall & Winter Hours

See the SAND North calendar for specific drop-in hours, and the SAND North description on the library website for information for making appointments or getting help remotely.

Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning offers a variety of computational services to support architecture, urban planning and urban design students. Located in room 2207, Spatial and Numeric Data Services (SAND) Lab houses state of the art computer facilities equipped with tools for handling digital geographic information and the spatial analysis of built form. The lab is staffed with specially trained librarians to assist with the ability to:

  • Locate and acquire digital numeric and spatial data sets for course or individual research – for example, for site studies – contours, other spatial data, aerial photos and demographics
  • Provide technical assistance with problem solving and using software for spatial analysis
  • Assist users who want to learn Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or incorporate it into their research, either directly or by locating campus resources for more advanced assistance
  • Provide access to a variety of spatial and statistical software – such as Google Earth Pro, ArcGIS for Desktop and ERDAS Imagine – and help with data management and translation
  • Collaborate with the Library's Government Information Center to provide a complete resource for locating Census data
  • Provide course-related and library instruction on data related topics, both in the classroom and in the lab
  • Acquire, store, and provide access to digital spatial data sets on a local server

The University Library's Spatial and Numeric Data Services (SAND) provides assistance with spatial data, numeric data, and statistics for the University of Michigan community.

Contact information:

North Campus SAND Lab: 2207 Art & Architecture Building, Tel: 734-615-5129
Central Campus SAND Services: Clark Library Lab, in the Hatcher Graduate Library building, Tel: 734-764-0410

The lab is managed by Nicole Scholtz

Spatial Syntax

The University of Michigan has emerged as a center for research and development of syntax techniques. Software for the analysis of spatial form, named Syntax 2D, was developed at the University of Michigan. These analysis techniques provide a powerful tool to augment our knowledge concerning the configuration of space and its associated relationships with building use.

The term space syntax encompasses a set of theories and techniques for the analysis of spatial configurations. Originally it was conceived by Bill Hillier, Julienne Hanson and colleagues at The Bartlett, University College London in the late 1970s to early 1980s as a tool to help architects simulate the likely social effects of their designs (Wikipedia).

Syntax analysis techniques can be applied to two dimensional building plans or urban layouts to produce quantitative measures of the characteristics of spatial layout. The analysis represents a spatial system as a series of smaller spatial units, as a system of lines of potential movement between these spatial units, or fields of visibility.

For each of these representations, syntax analysis involves the study of patterns of connections, both in terms of the relationship of each spatial unit, line, or field, to its immediate neighbors measured by variables such as "connectivity," and by the relationship of each spatial unit or line to the entire set of lines that constitute the spatial system being studied, measured in terms of "integration."

Taking lines as an example, as a global measure, integration describes how easily (traversing the fewest number of lines) all other lines can be reached from a given line. "Mean integration" is calculated as the average number of lines that must be traversed to move from each line in a system of lines to all other lines in the system. "Mean connectivity" represents a local measure and is calculated as the average number of lines that intersect each line in the system of lines.