Beyond Academics

University of Missouri students participate in cutting-edge GEOINT research


As an active participant in USGIF’s efforts to develop its Geospatial Intelligence Accreditation Certification Program, the University of Missouri has a history of firsts. The university’s Center for Geospatial Intelligence (CGI) was the first academic organization to join USGIF, the first to have both undergraduate and graduate USGIF-accredited GEOINT programs, and the first to exhibit at the annual GEOINT Symposium. This history of firsts illustrates the university’s long-standing commitment to remaining current with GEOINT tradecraft and trends.

In obtaining GEOINT certification, students in Mizzou’s accredited program have the opportunity to work on cutting-edge research projects in a 6,800-square-foot, $2.5 million, state-of-the-art research and development facility dedicated specifically to GEOINT research and development. The CGI has developed a reputation for its work in satellite and airborne remote sensing, advanced image processing, automated feature extraction and target recognition, large dataset visualization, high-resolution 3D virtual environments, and intelligent database and information retrieval.

“The CGI has annual research expenditures of approximately $3 million, so there are lots of opportunities for students to work on a diverse array of projects with a host of different sponsors and applications,” said Curt Davis, founder and director of the CGI.

In addition, the CGI has a strong track record of placing both undergraduate and graduate students with internships at NGA where they are able to obtain TS/SCI clearances. Many of these students go on to work at NGA after graduation.

“Our proximity to NGA in St. Louis helps here,” Davis said. “In the last five years, we have sent roughly 35 interns to NGA, and 85 percent go on to work for NGA.”

Likewise, a number of successful graduates have secured positions with well-known USGIF industry partners. In fact, the USGIF Geospatial Intelligence Accreditation Certification Program was created exactly for this reason. Preparing students for real-world experiences is essential in this community, and the program at Mizzou is doing just that. Organizations hiring students with GEOINT certification from a USGIF-accredited school can be certain the recruit has the knowledge to get the job done.

According to Davis, few other programs expose students to such extensive research.

“This is one reason why our projects really distinguish us from any other institutions,” he said. “And, we employ many of the students in the program because it is a natural fit. Not only does it expose students to cutting-edge GEOINT research, it provides an opportunity to work side-by-side with outstanding faculty mentors.”

Featured image: Lafferre Hall, University of Missouri (Photo credit: University of Missouri)


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