Written by Timothy Siems
on June 24, 2019

Momentum continues to grow with government, industry and academia all working together to establish St. Louis (STL) as a geospatial center of excellence. OGSystems enjoys a world-class workforce that happens to include a strong presence in St. Louis, MO. 

How did it start?

As the “Gateway to the West,” STL has enjoyed a long history in the geospatial intelligence business stretching back to the Lewis & Clark expedition. But the most recent spark for what we see today is when the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) decided to operate much more publicly, coupled with its decision to build a new $1.6 billion, 99-acre state-of-the-art campus just a few blocks from downtown. NGA’s mission resonates with almost every corner of our economic landscape – after all, everything is geospatial – that is, every piece of data has a temporal and locational component to it.  In this age of Big Data, the importance of understanding those geospatial attributes can give meaning and intelligence to all sorts of data sets. This in turn, makes geospatial data applicable to nearly every industry, academic study, non-profit endeavor, or government entity. 

Who’s in?

A new term you will hear if you come visit STL is the “geospatial ecosystem,” referring to all the different groups involved that are growing together and feeding off each other in the geospatial industry. There are of course the big three of government, industry and academia that are in this active ecosystem – e.g., NGA, OGSystems, and St. Louis University.  But there are also other vital ingredients that are making the ecosystem thrive. These include strategic efforts like the Cortex Innovation Community whose mission is to be a catalyst for local innovation and T-REX that works with local entrepreneurs to start up new businesses.  Both non-profit efforts have been very active in the area of geospatial technology including T-REX’s stand-up of Geosaurus — space dedicated as an advanced geospatial technology incubator open to the entire community.  Another important local player is LaunchCode, a non-profit that provides low-to-no cost training in software development to create talent from untapped communities.  STL enjoys excellent universities like Washington University, St. Louis University, and the entire University of Missouri education system and provides a labor advantage due to the low cost of living relative to the coasts. This entire “geospatial ecosystem” is focused on creating opportunities, building innovation, and establishing STL as a hub for geospatial excellence across multiple areas and industries.

Where’s it headed?

The geospatial industry continues to grow and provide exciting new fields that are important to the future that include areas like small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (sUAS), autonomous driving cars, and smart cities/farms.  STL is already a leader and is continuing to make investments for the long-haul in this growing economic sector. OGSystems is well placed in this vibrant community and is committed to seeing the geospatial industry flourish. 

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