As St. Louis’ Reputation Grows in the Geospatial Industry, Leaders Stress Workforce Development

November 11, 2021
Former NGA Director Robert Sharp (at left), who joined UMSL Chancellor Kristin Sobolik in signing an Educational Partnership Agreement between UMSL and NGA last year, is joining the UMSL Geospatial Collaborative as a research fellow and will help guide efforts to lead collaborative K-16 workforce and talent development. (Photo courtesy of Jessica Daues/NGA)


St. Louis – Local civic leaders are pinning their hopes on the geospatial sector to help boost the region’s economy and create jobs.

As the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency constructs its $1.7 billion western headquarters in north St. Louis, a four-day symposium here last week drew thousands of government officials, industry leaders and entrepreneurs from 25 countries. Their conversation often turned to workforce and the steps necessary to ensure a steady talent pipeline to support the expected growth.

St. Louis has long had an NGA presence — and before that, the predecessor organization, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, or NIMA, which was renamed in 2004. But the region was never thought of as a leader in the field of geospatial technology. Over the past few years, that has begun to change.