For many, it will come as no surprise that St. Louis has always been a hub for geospatial intelligence—entrepreneurs, economic developers, educators, and more have been innovating inside the city for years. It was this energy that influenced the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) in 2017 to select North St. Louis as the building site for its Next NGA West (N2W) campus.
But for those who might not be aware of the city’s stake in geospatial intelligence, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson will attend GEOINT 2019 with one major goal in mind: to deliver the message that the future of geospatial is St. Louis-made.
“Put another way, as Silicon Valley was to the tech sector, St. Louis will be for the geospatial-intelligence sector,” said Krewson, who will deliver a keynote address Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.
NGA has a long history in St. Louis, making the city all the more suited to host the agency’s western campus. But beyond N2W, a large effort is underway to establish St. Louis as the nation’s center for geospatial excellence.
Programs are being developed at St. Louis area public schools and higher education institutions to educate and train students to work at NGA and at geospatial companies throughout the region. Early next year, Saint Louis University will partner with NGA to host Geo-Resolution 2020, a continuation of the first such event hosted in April.
Two of the city’s primary technology incubators, the Cortex Innovation Community and T-REX, have also fueled innovation in the area. Later this year, T-REX will open the Geosaurus Innovation Resource Center.
Krewson noted that thousands of people go to work in these incubators every day, creating new ideas and businesses for a variety of industries, particularly geospatial. With the addition of N2W, she expects the geospatial and broader St. Louis workforce to grow significantly.
“That’s why it’s so great to see NGA, our schools and universities, and organizations already putting in the work today to develop the talent pipeline we will need for the jobs of tomorrow,” she said.
In her keynote, Krewson will share all of these reasons and more that demonstrate how St. Louis is shaping the future of GEOINT. She’ll encourage audience members to visit—and perhaps, ultimately, to relocate there.
“A visit would be a real opportunity for folks, especially if they have startup businesses, to understand that there’s a real connection here between those businesses and that [St. Louis] might be a great place for them to locate,” Krewson said.
In addition, Krewson said she hopes GEOINT 2019 attendees—and everyone involved with the GEOINT discipline—help the geospatial ecosystem grow by continuing to attend USGIF’s GEOINT Symposium; St. Louis has been selected to host the event in 2023 and 2025.
Though this will be the mayor’s first Symposium, she is looking forward to spending time in the exhibit hall to see what projects, products, and energy various organizations are bringing to the event and to the industry as a whole.
Also on Wednesday, USGIF’s St. Louis Area Working Group will host a panel discussion at 12:30 p.m. on the Government Pavilion Stage (Booth 466) titled, “St. Louis: An Emerging Geospatial Center of Excellence.”