The University of Missouri–St. Louis (UMSL) is partnering with other leaders from St. Louis’ public and private sectors on a new initiative to bolster the region’s rapidly growing geospatial sector and develop a strategic plan for the future.
“Because of the new NGA campus, the future for geospatial technology is very bright in this region,” said Andrew Kersten, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UMSL. “UMSL, as St. Louis’ public, land-grant, research-intensive university, will make powerful contributions, encouraging innovation and boosting economic development.”
The new initiative, called GeoFutures, will work to create a shared vision and align the efforts of many people and institutions towards the common goal of making St. Louis the nation’s geospatial center of excellence.
“Our graduates can engage in various fields such as computing technology, cybersecurity, business and education,” said Kersten. “Our faculty researchers will help advance the frontiers of knowledge through their work in computer science, in artificial intelligence, in machine learning and in quantum computing.”
The GeoFutures initiative is committed not only to growth, but to equitable growth. The initiative will prioritize linking work to opportunities that help achieve racial equity by reducing barriers to career pathways, particularly for African American residents.
“We have the pieces here for something special and just need to develop the plan for how to put them all together,” said Otis Williams, Executive Director of the St. Louis Development Corporation. “That’s why the GeoFutures Initiative is so important.”
Geospatial analysis and cybersecurity are emerging sectors in Missouri, with solid foundations due to the presence of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and their thousands of employees. Twenty-two colleges across Missouri have cybersecurity programs, and many are also engaged in research related to cybersecurity.