Computing FAQs

Accounts and Passwords
Mailing Lists
Network Access
Computer Access
Printing and Photocopying
File Sharing
Web Pages

Accounts and Passwords

Most Geography Department faculty, staff and grad students use 2 accounts:

  1. a Campus-Wide Login (CWL) to access centrally provisioned UBC/IT Services including the wireless network, UBC email, library, and self-service portals at Human Resources and Student Services Centre
  2. a Geography Department photocopier/network printing account to use the multifunction Xerox Workcentre in Room 248

In addition, you may also require:

  1. a GEOGLAB domain account to login to GEOGLAB workstations located in Room 240 and the Undergraduate Computing Lab
  2. a separate login to access workstations in specific research labs

CWL is provisioned by central ITServices.

Please refer to their CWL support page.

Please go to the Main Office (Rm 217) and they can help you with setting up an account, adding money to it, and showing you how to use the Xerox Workcentre.

Please contact our IT Support Staff to request one.

You will have to pick up your password in person because we don't send passwords by email.


If you work for UBC, including work as a Teaching Assistant or Sessional, you should use a UBC Faculty and Staff email (FASmail) account to conduct UBC business, in order to comply with the Freedom of Information and Personal Privacy Act (FIPPA).

UBC maintains two separate email systems:

  • one for employees
  • another for students

with different deployment, storage and retention policies to satisfy Canadian and BC laws.

Employees are automatically provisioned with a FASmail account and must use it to conduct UBC business (refer to FAQ above). FASmail accounts are automatically disabled when the employment contract is terminated.

UBC students are offered an account to provide them an email address that is affiliated with UBC. This comes in handy for taking advantage of software and other offers that require educational affiliation, and for job applications, publications, conference registrations and other subscriptions where it is advantageous to publicize this affiliation. As well, this email address persists beyond graduation from UBC so provides a permanent contact for you. It is not required, but highly recommended.

Since many graduate students assume a dual role of both UBC student and employee when they are appointed as teaching or research assistants, then they will need to manage these two email accounts and make sure each one is used where appropriate. Please refer to the Graduate Student Orientation Guide.

FASmail accounts are automatically provisioned once your appointment begins. You should receive an email notice instructing you to complete the process which involves:

  1. setting up a Campus-Wide Login (CWL), if you do not have one already
  2. entering your employee ID (contact the Geography Administrator if you do not know)
  3. changing your CWL password (this is necessary to sync up the password to the FASMail authentication server)

You can apply for it here. More information is available on this FAQ page.

This practice is not condoned and the feature disabled. Please refer to section 18 of the Privacy Fact Sheet.

The least troublesome option is to use Outlook Web Access by pointing your browser at and login with your CWL credentials.

For all other setup and FASmail usage questions, please refer to the ITServices support pages.

The UBC mailservers are bombarded by phishing scams all the time. Occasionally, these messages emanate from other UBC accounts that have been compromised, complete with UBC official signature and logo.

The filtering mechanisms on the UBC mail relays often play catch-up to these scams, meaning there will be many messages that get past the filters before they are caught. So your vigilance in distinguishing between legit and scam is crucial.

Three things you can do when confronted with these:

  • Check for Fraudulent Email Alerts. It's quite likely you're not the only one who has received these messages and someone may have already reported it.
  • Recognize the telltale signs that give phishing scams away:
    1. Bad grammar
    2. A non-UBC email in the return address
    3. A website outside the purported target underlying the "Click here" hotspot

    #1 may no longer be a good way to tell as these scammers get better all the time
    #2 can also be circumvented by scammers who have succeeded in stealing the login credentials of a UBC employee
    #3 above is a definitive giveaway: Hover your mouse above the hotspot (without clicking!) and that will be enough to reveal the URL where it wants to take you. But you have to watch out for sneaky domain names in these URLs that are chosen to confuse even the astute, for example, versus

  • Forward a copy of the message (as an attachment, complete with headers) to geog-support at lists dot ubc dot ca for further examination.

Check out the Government of Canada's Get Cyber Safe website for additional tips.

  1. Verify that the message was not bounced back to the sender as undeliverable.
  2. Check the Junk / Spam folder in case the message got flagged as spam.
  3. If the message does not show up there either, there's a good chance that the email was quarantined because it was sent via a site that has been blacklisted by a service such as MxToolbox.

    To find a quarantined message, you need to contact ITServices and provide the sender and recipient email addresses along with the date and approximate time that the message was supposedly sent so they can search through their copious logs.

    To avoid sending email via a blacklisted site, use a secure wireless connection like ubcsecure when on-campus (vs ShawOpen), or connect via webmail or VPN when you are away from campus.

Your FASmail access may have been automatically disabled at the end of your job appointment. If you still need to have access, please contact the ITServices Help Desk. They will need your Supervisor's approval.

Mailing Lists

Faculty and staff hires, as well as visiting personnel, are subscribed to the appropriate department mailing list by the Assistant to the Head.

Graduate students can contact the Student Services Coordinator and request to be added to the geog-grads at lists dot ubc dot ca mailing list.

Non-Geography personnel who wish to be added to the department mailing lists may contact our IT Support Staff and specify the ff.:

  1. Your full name
  2. Your email address
  3. Your affiliation to the department or reason for subscribing
  4. The mailing list you wish to subscribe to

Note: You may only post to the list via the email address you register above.

Open a recent email message emanating from the list. Scroll down to the bottom where the footnote "To unsubscribe..." provides the link to use.

Network Access

  1. If you have your CWL, we recommend using the ubcsecure wireless network for a more robust and secure connection.
  2. If you have an account from an Eduroam-participating institution, you may use Eduroam.
  3. If you have neither CWL nor Eduroam, all you need is any email address to connect to the UBC Visitor Wireless network. Note: this has limited bandwidth and should only be used for light web browsing. It will not connect to restricted UBC resources like the library, etc.

  1. There are certain times when the wireless network is especially congested. Please try again at a different time.
  2. There are certain areas where the wireless access is not as robust. Please try from a different location.
  3. If both of the above do not solve the problem, please report all wireless issues to our tech staff. Please specify the time(s) and area(s) you have been attempting the connection

Please contact our IT Support Staff and provide the ff. information:

  1. Your name, affiliation and room number
  2. Your device type and operating system, e.g., a MacBook Pro running OS 10.11 (El Capitan)
  3. Your assurance that you have applied all the system and application security updates and that you have a currently subscribed antivirus program up and running

We need to verify its security status and then register its address on our network.

Computer Access

If you have a GEOGLAB account, you can use the Windows 7 computers located in Rooms 240, 239 and 115. Room 240 computers are primarily for graduate students, while Rooms 239 and 115 are teaching labs for students enrolled in Geography courses that have a computing lab component and have paid the required lab fee. So you may be bumped off by these higher-priority users.

If you don't have a GEOGLAB account, you may use the four Windows 7 computers in the Geographic Information Centre on a short-term basis.


The most economical option is to use the Xerox WorkCentre 5855 in Room 248, which functions as photocopier, network printer and scanner.

It can print letter, legal and tabloid sizes.

It has a bypass tray that lets you load letterhead and other special paper.

The recommended way is to save your file as PDF, copy it to a USB thumb drive and use the Windows 7 workstation in Rm 248 to print the file to the Xerox WorkCentre.

Please see the IT Staff in Room 240 for assistance.

You can try a commercial establishment off-campus or Creative Media Services on the UBC campus.


The Xerox WorkCentre in Room 248 can scan to email or to USB thumb drives.

It has a document feeder that can facilitate large volume scanning.

It can scan up to 11" x 17" documents.

You can also use the flatbed scanners attached to PCs in Room 206 (multimedia workstation) and Room 240 (needs GEOGLAB login).

These can scan only up to legal size.

All of the above can do colour scanning.

File Sharing

  1. If the the file is less than 10MB*
  2. For larger files:
    • if you are employed by UBC, you can upload larger files to WorkSpace and share them with others within and beyond the UBC community
    • you may use commercial applications like DropBox, Google Drive, etc. so long as the information in the file is considered public information

Consult the matrix at this link for recommended methods of sharing UBC data.

*Note: We use a conservative 10MB figure because the attached file gets bigger once encapsulated into an email message, some mailservers are more restrictive than others, and some recipients have limited room in their inbox.

  1. If they are a UBC employee, they can upload the file to their WorkSpace and share it with you.
  2. They can upload the file(s) to our anonymous ftp site (see next FAQ below)


Tell your sender to drop the file(s) into the incoming folder and to let you know the filename(s) upon uploading.

Then email geog-support at lists dot ubc dot ca and specify the filename(s) so we can make the file(s) available to you.

The illustration below is an example of using the FileZilla FTP client to upload a file. FileZilla can be downloaded for free for Windows, Mac and Linux from this site.

Once they launch the FileZilla application, they just need to provide the Host and Username as shown (highlighted in yellow) and click on Quickconnect. Once the connection is established, they drag the files from the left side ("Local site" = their PC) to the incoming folder on the right side ("Remote site" = our server). They will not be able to list the contents of the incoming folder for security reasons. They can check the Status in the top section to verify that the file upload completed.

Anonymous FTP session

Their servers are hosted outside Canada, so storing sensitive or personal information there is in violation of Canadian and BC laws.

If you have a FASmail account, you can use WorkSpace instead. It is a DropBox alternative offered by UBC ITServices.

You can find out more about WorkSpace here.


Knowledge is power. Take the online Security Awareness Training offered by UBC ITServices. Scroll down that page to find more useful tips under Further Information.

The Government of Canada also provides many useful guidelines on its Get Cyber Safe website.

  1. First, as a precaution, make a full backup of your laptop. If this is brand new, well and good, but make sure you have created the recovery media.
  2. If this is a UBC-owned laptop, bring it to the ArtsISIT Helpdesk at Buchanan C113 between 8:30am to 4:30pm and they will encrypt the laptop for you.
  3. If this is your personal computer, email geog-support at lists dot ubc dot ca for assistance.

Web Pages

If you have a CWL, you can create a webpage on UBC Blogs.

  1. UBC E-learning has adopted the Connect platform for course support and delivery. Contact Jose Aparicio in Room 240 to help you get started.
  2. You can also create a course website on if you don't need all the features that Connect provides. But please make sure that once the term is over, you unpublish any course websites on UBC Blogs to avoid confusion.

Please send email to geog-support at lists dot ubc dot ca with the URL of the page and enumerating the changes to be made.


  • For computers purchased with UBC funds, you may request installation of the ff. software under the Campus Agreement and other university site licenses:
    1. Microsoft Office Professional suite
    2. MATLAB
    3. ArcGIS

    You may also order/purchase these software under the academic discount.

    Contact our IT Support Staff to initiate the request.

  • For personal computers:
    1. consult this site for software you can install on your personal computer
    2. the UBC Bookstore sells the academic version of several software titles
    3. you can look for student and academic discounts on vendor websites
    4. you can try Open Source alternatives to commercial titles
    5. for ArcGIS, you can check UBC Forestry for a version you can install on your home computer

GEOGLAB computers offer the following software on a Windows 7 platform:
Microsoft Office 2010

Google Earth
Mozilla Firefox

Please note that some of the above software are licensed exclusively for classroom instruction.