SAL User Guide

See also: Notes on Using ArcGIS with One Drive or other Cloud Storage


Current Installation

  • ArcGIS PRO
    • Spatial Analyst, 3D Analyst, Network Analyst, Geostatistical Analyst, etc.)
    • Drone2Map
  • ENVI
  • QGIS
  • Spring
  • Adobe Creative Suite

System Log-in and Log-out

The SAL computers use the standard WWU login. In addition, some data for classes and/or general spatial analysis is stored on the J:\ drive (servers maintained by the College of the Environment). Access to the J:\ drive is connected to your WWU login: College of the Environment students should have access automatically. Other students needing access to the J:\ drive should contact the SAL Lab Manager.

SAL Computer Labs

The Spatial Analysis Lab (SAL) consists of 3 computer labs in addition to affiliated server rooms and offices. The 3 computer labs are AH-16, AH-24 and ES-318.

By default, the main hard drive of a Windows computer is referred to as the 'C' drive (in the old days there were A and B drives as well, for things like floppy discs...). In addition, some computers have a second hard drive, typically referred to as the D:\ drive, etc.

In general, working off of the C:\ drive is faster than off of a server or external (portable) drive. It is also more stable (less vulnerable to network issues, etc.). In the case of ArcGIS Pro, this mean that the the entire project file (including all of the data, the aprx file, the project folder, the project toolbox(es), etc.) as well as any external datasets need to be on the C:\ drive (ie, the local hard drive of the computer you are working on). For GIS projects, it is recommended that you do all of your work from C:\TEMP.

The hard drives in the SAL contain the application software and operating system files. Users have read/write access to the TEMP folder (subdirectory) on the C:\ hard-drive for use while working on the computer. This C:\TEMP workspace is available to all users and over time can become cluttered with files created and left behind after the users log-out. This workspace should be treated as temporary storage while you are working on a project. Any later user, at any later time, may delete any or all files stored in C:\TEMP so do not store files on C:\temp when you log off (you should assume they will not be there when you return...). Good computer etiquette would suggest that you remove (delete) your files from C:\TEMP before you logout.


SAL & WWU Computer Drive Letters

In addition to the local hard drive (C:\), WWU's network provides access to a number of Network Drives (Servers). Upon logging in to the network, a variety of drive letters will be assigned ('mapped') to 'connected' drives. While these mapped drives may vary with the individual user's account, the more common drive-letter assignments are listed below.

  1. The J:\ Drive (Huxley's main server) which has three main components:
    • J:\GEO\GEO_data\  - spatial data files
    • J:\SAL_info\  - Misc ESRI files and Tutorials (GIS, GPS, Remote Sensing, etc.)
    • J:\Saldata\  - Class folders for College of the Environment courses
    • J:\Saldata\SAL_temp\ - for transfer of files between students and temporary / short-term storage (see notes below)
  2. The S:\ Drive - group project folders (with shared access)



Printing costs (paper and ink) in the SAL are funded by course Lab Fees (GIS, RS, Planning Studio classes, etc.). As such, printing is the SAL is limited to students currently enrolled in classes paying SAL Lab Fees. Unfortunately there is not a way for us to charge/allow printing access to students who are not currently enrolled in a Lab Fee course. Other printing options on campus include ATUS labs, etc.​​​​​​

Three printers are available in the Spatial Analysis Lab. Access to the color printer is limited to certain classes/class projects needing color printing. The color printer is considerably more expensive than BW. When preparing reports which include graphics, please use the black and white printers for developing drafts and proof-reading. Use the color printer only when you are fairly certain of being ready for your final copy.

Canceling a Print Job

If you have submitted a print job and then realized that the results will not be acceptable, you may interrupt the print job by accessing the appropriate print queue as follows:

  2. Click on the designated printer
  3. Select your print job and under the Document Menu
  4. Click "cancel" to delete it from the list

If it is no longer on the list, it may be processing, in which case, it can be halted by following the instructions posted on the front of the printer.

Be aware that the printing of an excessively large number of sheets, or the printing of inappropriate materials (non-academic content) may lead to a loss of use of the printers to individual account owners. A log of all print jobs contains information on user accounts, number of pages, source documents and a date/time stamp. This log may be checked to determine excessive use.


Transferring Files

If you need to transfer files from one computer (or one student) to another you can use One Drive, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.. On campus, you can also use the SAL_temp folder  (J:\saldata\Sal_temp).

Projects that require group access to shared files can request a folder on the S:\ drive. This will function as a shared network space accessible to the entire group. Contact Stefan for help setting up a folder on the S:\ drive.

You can also post files to your website, which works well for transferring a file off campus. WWU does not have ftp sites available for student, faculty or public use. There are, however, external online options for file transfers:



See GIS & Remote Sensing Courses and the GIS Certificate and the GIS Minor


Problems with SAL Computers, Printing or Servers

Problems with hardware/software in the lab should be reported to the Lab Manager. Difficulty in using specific features of an application should be directed to your instructor or by using the built-in help for the software.


Working on C:\TEMP vs OneDrive vs a Portable Hard Drive

For GIS projects, it is recommended that you do all of your work from C:\TEMP. Having both your data and your project files on the local hard drive is faster and more stable (less vulnerable to network issues, etc.). However, since C:\TEMP (on the SAL computers) is only temporary, this means you will need to save / store your work somewhere else. Storing your work (data, projects, etc.) on a portable thumb drive, a portable hard drive, One Drive, Google Drive, etc. are all viable options. In each case, you will need to transfer your current working files from your storage location to C:\TEMP each time you wish to work on your project. When you are done, you will need to transfer the updated working files back to your chosen storage location. Recommended: Archive the old version of your files (rename or move them to a dated archive folder) before copying the updated work files back to your storage location. This will insure that your old and new files do not get co-mingled and provide you with a series of backup archives in case something goes wrong with your current working files. Recommended: remove (delete) your working files from C:|TEMP once you have successfully transferred them to your storage location.

PORTABLE HARD DRIVES: Likewise, the same is true for working off of a thumb drive or portable hard drive: it will probably work for small, simple projects but is NOT recommended for anything else. External hard drives may also be slower than the U:\ drive. The recommended, safest strategy is to do all of your work off of C:\TEMP.

CLOUD DRIVES: It is generally not possible (and NOT recommended) to open ArcGIS Pro from OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. ArcGIS Pro (and other software packages) require direct (not cloud) access to data folders, etc., so do not work from a cloud storage location. However, these are perfectly viable locations for storing your files (that are transferred to C:\TEMP to open/work on). In some cases it is possible to open an ArcGIS Pro project file (.aprx) that is stored on One Drive directly from One Drive. HOWEVER, this does NOT always work, and while it may work for a while, it may stop working. We strongly discourage you from working directly off of One Drive. Students who have tried this in the past have LOST their work unexpectedly and been very unhappy.

SAL Servers

Digital data is stored either on J:\GEO\GEO_data or in class folders on  J:\saldata. Students enrolled in a Huxley or Geology course should have read access to the J:\ drive by default. With the exception of the J:\saldata\Sal_temp folder, students do not have write access to files or folders stored on the J:\ drive.

SAL_temp ( J:\Saldata\SAL_temp\ )

The J:\Saldata\SAL_temp folder is available for temporary storage and file transfer space. SAL_temp is on the Saldata server (accessible to all College of the Environment students and faculty) to facilitate group sharing of project files.

The SAL_temp folder is intended for short term usage (such as transferring files from one student or computer to another). The Sal_temp folder IS NOT FOR LONG TERM STORAGE OF FILES and has size restrictions. If/when Sal_temp gets full (and/or periodically for maintenance purposes) any or all files may be deleted without notice. This can happen at any point in time. Please be considerate of other users and delete your files from SAL_temp once you are done with them.

Several members of a project team may share/transfer individual files by placing them into the SAL_temp folder for other team members to copy to their own workstation or to their U: drive for storage. Please DO NOT USE SAL_temp for ongoing team project storage. Groups needing shared folder space should contact stefan to set up a folder on the S:\ drive.

SAL_temp is for temporary storage and space is limited. It is intended for use for minutes or hours, not days or weeks. Don't tie up this space when others are trying to use it. Please remove your files once you are done moving them.

Keep in mind that anyone who can access SAL_temp can also delete files from it (so do not rely on SAL_temp as the only copy of your data).

Be aware of the needs of others; delete your files from SAL_temp when you are through with them. Don't delete others' files when they are trying to share or copy them at other workstations.