SARL User Guide

Logging in:

To use the systems follow the login instructions on the screen.

Use your vunetid as your username.

Use your epassword

  • Do not share your account.
  • Do not allow others to log on using your username and password.


Do not store files on drive C: they will be erased automatically

Save files either on:

  • Drive R: This is the SARL Server mass storage array, and will be where you save the vast majority of your data. Your account on the storage array will hold (by default) up to 5 GB, but can be increased if needed. When you log in, your Drive R automatically maps to a folder named with your VUNet ID. There are GIS_DATA and MyDocuments folders within it. You can create any subfolders you need within these. Only you and the system administrators have access to these folders.
  • Drive H: This is your VUSpace account folder (100 MB Max). VUSpace is a \”virtual drive\”, which means that it is a folder on a remote server that can be seen from whatever lab system you log into.
  • Drive A:, the floppy drive or drive H: which will be your personal storage space on a server provided by the College of Arts and Science and the Microcomputer Labs.
  • Optical Drive (DVD/CD R/RW). You can burn your data to DVD or CD using the DVD/CD R/RW drive (drag and drop to the Roxio icon in the lower right of the desktop).
  • External device (USB flash drive, external hard drive).

SARL Commons Folder:

There is also a folder on the SARL server called SARL_COMMONS which is available for sharing data (imagery, etc) with other lab users. It is not mapped automatically, so if you wish to use the commons, you will need to map it as a network drive.

To do so, follow these steps:

  • Right click on My Computer or My Network and select Map Network Drive
  • Select Drive Z:
  • Enter the folder path: \\SARL_SERVER\\SARL_COMMONS
  • Click on Connect Using Different User Name
  • For user name, enter Vanderbilt\\YourVUNetID and your epassword in the password box. Uncheck the \”Reconnect at login\” box if it is checked.
  • Click finish. This will map to the SARL_COMMONS folder on the storage array as Drive Z on your workstation.
  • Double click on My Computer. You should see a drive Z now.

Please keep the following in mind when using the SARL_COMMONS folder:

  • When using the commons, please categorize your imagery data geographically by Continent and Country by creating subfolders inside the Imagery folder.
  • Folder names should use sentence capitalization and should use underscores instead of spaces.
  • Do not share data that is not georeferenced.
  • If you are moving data to the commons as a way of moving the data to another user\’s account, please be sure to delete the data from the commons after the other user has copied it into their destination folder.
  • It is crucial that we keep this commons space organized. Data left uncategorized may be deleted.

Using the LCD TV:

  • Go over to the HDMI switch box below the TV and select the input. Each SARL computer is numbered (SARL_01, SARL_02, SARL_03, and SARL_04). They are connected to the HDMI switch as 1, 2, 3, and 4.
  • On your workstation, right click anywhere on the desktop and select the ATI Catalyst Control Center
  • Go to Advanced Setup and click through the warning message
  • Click on Display Manager
  • Right click on Display 2 Select “Digital Flat Panel” (Sharp HDMI) and select Enable
  • Click Yes on the message that pops up asking if you want to save the changed settings
  • After a brief pause, the TV should display the background to your desktop
  • Move the icon for display #2 so it is in rough alignment with its actual position relative to your monitor. Press Apply (and Yes to changes…)
  • Finally, if you want to have it be a mirror image (rather than extended desktop) right click on Desktop #2 and select “Clone Desktop 1”. It will flicker for a second or two, but it should now display exactly what is on your desktop.

Important DOs and DON\’Ts

  • Do not attempt to install software on these systems. It will be automatically erased on reboot.
  • Do not attempt to upgrade any software or the operating system. It will be automatically erased on reboot.
  • Avoid using the systems for anything other than legitimate class and university functions.
  • Do not store frivolous files on the server (drive h:) which are not relevant to your academic research or work, i.e. pirated music, mpegs, gifs, jpegs, videos, games etc. Storage space on the server is valuable and in finite supply. Users who violate these rules are subject to have their account disabled.
  • When saving your ArcGIS files, be sure to save them with relative paths to data sources (go to File>Document Properties…>Data Source Options…>Store Relative Path Names to Data Sources.
  • When you are finished using the computer, go to the START button at the bottom of the screen and click on the arrow next to \”Shut down\”. Select \”Log off\”. This will disconnect your H: drive, and allow someone else to use the system. Logging off helps protect your personal files from destruction or modification by others.
  • If the computer detects that there is no activity for 30 minutes, the system may log you off automatically.
  • If you misspell your password, you have 10 chances to log in, or the system assumes that you are a hacker, and locks your account for 30 minutes thus making your account inaccessible for that period of time.

SARL User Forum

You can use the SARL User Forum to share how-tos or ask advice for analysis, or any other GIS-related chat.


Report problems (no GIS how-to questions, please) to

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