TGI Spotlight: Christian Blue, TGI Diversity Fellow

Photo collage of 2023 TGI Fellows.

by Bob Grant

Christian Blue is a Taylor Geospatial Institute (TGI) Diversity Fellow, Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU) senior, and an early career geospatial expert with his sights set on making a global impact across this constantly growing industry. With a rich background in research with agency and academia, he is focused on solving problems and improving the wellbeing of humanity through his technical skills and collaboration.

Since enrolling at HSSU, Blue has had several research opportunities, including a project with fellow HSSU students and faculty members on the effects of vegetation patterns on quality of life in communities surrounding the site of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) St. Louis campus. Together, the team used GIS mapping to compare the amount of tree canopy, crown density and vegetation in the six neighborhoods surrounding the campus to improve planning and development in the local community. Upon completing the project, Blue presented the team’s findings at the national GEOINT symposium in 2022.

“Networking with a lot of geospatial experts really helped me change my perspective on the fact that there are people out there who are trying to solve global problems,” Blue said. “Having access to the TGI Diversity Fellowship really nudged me into expanding my network with geospatial experts.”

In addition to his spatial ecology research, Blue also conducted a TGI-funded geospatial analysis of ports that traffic in petroleum products by using satellite imagery and AI detection models in collaboration with NGA geodetic scientist Jessie Bleile and other NGA researchers, a project that the presented at the Geo-Resolution conference in 2023. Blue also participated in a month-long HBCU GEOINT Undergraduate Research Experience Summer Immersion Program in St. Louis in 2023. Funded by the St. Louis Development Corporation and the National Science Foundation, and conducted in collaboration with the NGA, the program brought together undergrads from Historically Black Colleges and Universities and gave them access to a cross section of St. Louis’s geospatial expertise at Maxar, Esri, and other organizations to conduct collaborative geospatial research. During this experience he and his team tracked illegal fishing activities off the west coast of Africa. To add additional awareness to this work, he is presenting the results at the Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM in Washington, DC, this March.

As proud as Blue says he is of all these accomplishments, they’re parallel to his focus on helping others enter and excel in the geospatial field. “I have a diagnosis of autism, which previously in my life has had me question, ‘Do I have the potential for a great future?’” he said.

With so much experience in the realm of geospatial science under his belt, Blue said that he is set on pursuing a career in geospatial. “The field has a mission that I want to be involved in: focusing on the well-being of a global population. One of my career passions involves serving communities that are overlooked.”

From local ecological researcher, to global illegal fishing tracker, Christian Blue has a bright future in geospatial. With his dedication, expertise, and commitment to his work, Blue’s goal of solving global problems is already within reach.

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