Student Access to Lab Computers

As COVID-19 continues to impact our communities, our campus administration is prioritizing the safety of the limited numbers of students, faculty, and staff that are returning to campus.  In an effort to maintain a healthy community in consideration of the large number of COVID-19 cases being reported in Los Angeles County, the Geography Department will not be offering in-person open lab access until further notice.


25 of our PC workstations are accessible to all Geography and ES&P students using a VPN/remote desktop connection.  Each lab machine has all of the geospatial, remote sensing, and statistics software required to complete your class assignments, and each is accessible using a Windows (PC) or a Macintosh home computer or laptop.  This is a great resource for students with Mac computers who need to use the Esri ArcGIS Desktop or ArcGIS Pro GIS software as part of their coursework.

Instructions for accessing our lab computers is provided in the How to Access Student Remote Labs guidance document prepared by IT Services.  Once you have installed the VPN client (GlobalProtect) on your computer, be sure to select the “College of Liberal Arts” remote labs web link to access our department’s computers.  Here are some important notes to keep in mind when using Student Remote Labs:

  • The lab computers are available for remote access every day except between the hours of 11:30pm and 1:00am.  It is important that you log off of the lab computers before 11:30pm as all machines will automatically restart between 11:30pm and midnight for daily maintenance and operating system updates.  Any work that you have in progress WILL BE LOST upon restart unless you have saved it to an external storage location (e.g., your cloud storage location or the network O:\ drive).
  • Note that Student Remote Labs IS NOT the same thing as Student Virtual Lab which you can access from your campus single sign-in page.  Most students (with the possible exception of students enrolled through CPIE) have a “chicklet” on their single sign-in page labeled “Student Remote Labs.”  This is the link you want to use.  Student Virtual Lab (the button with the blue pyramid on it) is a different resource which is not recommended for geospatial coursework.
  • Note that, because you are logged into the computer hardware externally, you will not be able to save your work to your USB drive.  This is where good file management skills come into play.  Please be sure to save all of your work to either 1) your cloud-based storage locations (e.g., your student OneDrive account), or 2) the department network O:\ drive.  You may save your files locally to the lab computer while you are logged on, but be sure to move all of your work to either of these two external storage locations prior to logging off.  The Department is not responsible for any work lost while using Student Remote Labs. 

In addition, our department will employ a staff of trained graduate students that will be available to assist you with your computer lab assignments. These lab technicians have experience with the software applications and lab exercises used in most courses, so please plan on making use of this resource! A schedule of lab technician virtual “office hours” will be published during the first week of the semester.