The growth of the geospatial industry in St. Louis is catching national attention. The city has been selected to host the GEOINT Symposium in 2023 and 2025.
The event, held annually by the United States Geospatial-Intelligence Foundation, is the largest gathering of geospatial-intelligence stakeholders. It brings in roughly 4,000 attendees each year.
St. Louis currently has more than 10,500 jobs in the geospatial sector, according to figures calculated by the St. Louis Development Corporation. The agency says the total economic impact is $4.9 billion.
SLDC Director Otis Williams says there’s a lot of energy in St. Louis around the industry right now, especially as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency prepares to break ground later this year on a new headquarters just north of downtown.
“What it does mean is that people will get a chance to see the new facility under construction and get to see what the ecosystem is like here in St. Louis,” he said. “And then two years later in 2025, they get to come back here again and see the progress that we’ve made. So I think it’s an opportunity for us to be linked with industry as we want to be.”
Williams and a group of local government, business and academic leaders will travel to San Antonio in two weeks to attend this year’s symposium. Mayor Lyda Krewson will give a keynote about St. Louis’ role in the industry on June 5.
During a send-off event at T-Rex on Thursday evening, Krewson said the public-private collaboration should be an example of how the region can speak with one voice.
“We’re going to spread the message that if you’re looking to start, if you’re looking to grow, if you’re looking to invest in a geospatial company, you need to be here. Right here in St. Louis.”
T-Rex Executive Director Patty Hagan, who will also attend the symposium, said that bringing the future event to St. Louis will be significant.
“It will bring a lot of attention to St. Louis from industry and from other educational institutions and innovators who want to be a part of what’s happening here,” she said. “So it’s a great attention-grabber for St. Louis.”
By the time the conference rolls around, Geosaurus will be open for business. The Bayer-funded “innovation resource center” will take over the fourth floor of T-Rex, which is home to more than 200 startups focusing broadly on advanced IT. Geosaurus — which will open by the end of the year — will develop entrepreneurship, workforce development and training programs that will help grow location-intelligence initiatives in the city.
The goal, in part, is to help develop a talent pipeline for the NGA. While the agency is seen as an anchor for the industry, Hagan said that geospatial intelligence is becoming important for nearly every industry, including precision-agriculture and smart cities.
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