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T-Rex’s GeoSeed Grant Program awards $20,000 to 5 geospatial intelligence initiatives

The technology startup incubator in downtown St. Louis is currently home to nearly 230 businesses.
File photo | Wayne Pratt
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St. Louis Public Radio

Lindenwood University geography instructor Tara Vansell has worked to grow Lindenwood University’s geographic information system and virtual reality program over several years. Her students have also interned with the St. Louis Zoo to help map the forthcoming St. Louis Zoo WildCare Park in north St. Louis County.

“I thought, this is it,” Vansell said, of when she saw that downtown-based startup incubator T-Rex’s first-ever GeoSeed Grant Program sought proposals emphasizing curriculum development with GIS and VR technologies.

T-Rex’s GeoSeed Grant Program awards $20,000 to 5 geospatial intelligence initiatives

“This is the opportunity for us to bring together our Zoo partners, with our students, and this huge VR initiative to really create something new in this space,” Vansell said on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Vansell’s proposal, called GeoZoo, would incorporate virtual reality into teaching materials used in K-12 classrooms, or summer camps at the zoo. Instead of looking at a map or flat image on a computer screen, she explained that users could “teleport” virtually to the zoo, or an ecosystem around the world.

GeoZoo is one of five recipients of the GeoSeed Grant Program to receive $20,000 earlier this month.

Vansell discussed the collaboration with the St. Louis Zoo and Lindenwood University alongside Patricia Hagen, president and executive director of T-Rex. Hagen said universities were the main targets of the GeoSeed Grant Program this time around.

“Certainly area universities who are hard at work and building geospatial curricula and building geospatial research programs … and we wanted to also really reach out to young faculty in particular, who are early on in their careers, and help them build a data set or build a record of geospatial research that they can then take to even bigger funding agencies,” she explained.

Hagen reiterated that extended reality and geospatial technology can benefit researchers and the region outside of the classroom. Hagen called it, “planning for resilience.”

101521_LH_Tara Vansell_Patricia Hagen.jpg
Tara Vansell (left) and Patricia Hagen joined Friday's show to talk about T-Rex's GeoSeed Grant Program.

“So disaster resilience, flood resilience; you can layer data into simulations so that you can see where there are risks to communities, and be able to respond appropriately and create adaptive solutions for the future,” she explained.

The other four grant awardees are:

  • Integration of Geospatial Features for Wireless Power Energy Informed Operating System (EIOS): A study on the integration of geospatial features into Energy Informed Operating Systems done in partnership between Forcyte and Washington University in St. Louis.
  • Mixed Reality Interface of Geospatial Data towards Efficient, Effective, and Reliable Bridge Inspection: A mixed-reality interface that helps streamline the process of bridge inspections, done in collaboration between University of Missouri Science and Technology and St. Louis-based drone startup Xeo Air.  
  • Building foundations for a geospatial research and education infrastructure at Washington University in St. Louis: A partnership between Washington University in St. Louis and Infralytics to detect bedrock fractures. 
  • Rivers of Data Project: Real-time Balloon Remote Sensing of River Conditions: An application providing high-resolution imagery focusing on rivers and related water conditions, developed among St. Louis University, Stratodyne and ESRI.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. Jane Mather-Glass is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Lara is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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