Galapagos Science Center


WP_000722The Galapagos Science Center (GSC) is a state-of-the-art research facility on Isla San Cristobal in the Galapagos Archipelago. This joint effort between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) in Ecuador is intended to promote science and education that helps protect the island’s ecosystems.

The 11,000 square foot facility houses four laboratories, each with a specific focus: terrestrial ecology, marine ecology and oceanography, geospatial technology (remote sensing and geographic information systems), and microbiology. The building also has space for external experiments, research offices, and rooms for outreach and education.

RENCI’s Role

RENCI has been involved in the GSC since 2008, developing and deploying the cyberinfrastructure for the research facility. RENCI provided $150,000 in funds to purchase equipment for GSC, and staff traveled to the site to contribute to the development of the center’s technical infrastructure, including iterative design reviews with the architects. RENCI continues to support the facility by helping to maintain the infrastructure and participating in projects.

The on-site capabilities at the GSC include four enterprise-class computer servers and 12 terabytes of storage, a high speed wired and wireless network within the building, satellite uplink, video surveillance, visualization displays, and computer workstations for the GIS lab. These systems were designed and deployed in partnership with the IT department at USFQ. The computer and data servers provide  on-premises cloud infrastructure, host virtual machines for the IT operations, and are available for research activities as needed. For example, if a class requires a certain research code, it can be provisioned on the GSC cloud and made available so that class work is not hindered by the expensive and slow satellite network link.

Project Team

  • Cole Dickens
  • Chris Rutledge
  • Erik Scott