The Spatial Analysis Lab is a part of the Montana Natural Heritage Program (MTNHP). MTNHP is a program of the Montana State Library’s Natural Resources Information System operated by the University of Montana.
The lab was founded in 1991 by Roland L. Redmond (Division of Biological Sciences) with the Montana Gap Analysis Project its primary undertaking. At that time, few statewide datasets were available; considerable effort went into building the necessary layers, and the lab developed expertise in remote sensing and handling large datasets. MT-GAP was completed in 1998, along with the first statewide map of land cover at relatively fine scale (30 m resolution and 2 ha minimum mapping unit.) Over the years, SAL has undertaken a wide range of other remote sensing and GIS projects.
When Dr. Redmond retired in 2007, SAL joined MTNHP, and senior ecologist Linda Vance became our second lab director. We welcomed current director Jessica Mitchell in 2018. Dr. Vance and Dr. Mitchell work collaboratively on projects that combine surveys, modelling, and analysis of ecosystems, supported by MTNHP staff in Helena and Missoula.