ST. LOUIS — A committee that formed last year to compile recommendations on how to bolster St. Louis’ geospatial sector on Tuesday unveiled its blueprint to grow the industry locally.
GeoFutures said the report, made public Tuesday, is designed to be a playbook to boost St. Louis as a “global center of geospatial excellence” over the next decade. It outlines plans to increase geotech entrepreneurship, expand workforce development training and help develop the area around the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) campus in north city. The report comes as NGA is in the early stages of building its new $1.7 billion western headquarters, which is slated to be fully operational in 2025.
GeoFutures kicked off its initiative in October 2019 and included a committee of about 30 individuals. Former NGA directors Robert Cardillo and Letitia Long were advisors to the project. Ohio-based TEConomy Partners LLC, an economic development research firm that previously compiled a report on the size of the geospatial sector here, put together the group’s report.
The report, which GeoFutures describes as a “strategic roadmap,” contends that St. Louis can strengthen its standing as a leading geospatial hub by targeting its efforts on four industries: national security, digital/precision agriculture, transportation and logistics and health care delivery.
“Now seeing how geospatial was applied to certain things like the pandemic, we see people doubling down on their investment in geospatial technologies, especially in those four sectors,” said Andy Dearing, president of STL Spatial Advisors and the project lead for GeoFutures. "That’s the real exciting piece. We can leverage, obviously, this heavy momentum with NGA and the national security sector. But really the emerging boom is going to be with all these other sectors as they look to grow and expand their usage of locational technologies or geospatial technologies.”
The roadmap also targets five specific areas of priority, which the report outlines as the following:
- Scale up talent and workforce development to meet geospatial industry demand.
- Raise innovation capacity for advanced applications for leading industry and community development drivers.
- Accelerate entrepreneurship and availability of risk capital.
- Support the advancement of community-driven development in the neighborhoods north of Downtown the new NGA West campus will soon call home.
- Brand and position St. Louis as a global thought leader in geospatial technology.
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