What’s the Future Hold for St. Louis? Leading the Way in Geospatial Technology

We looked into the future, and it looks bright. In recent years, St. Louis has emerged as a tech hotspot, especially in the field of geospatial technology. With our strategic location, strong academic institutions and a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit, the Gateway City is poised to become a hotspot for geospatial innovation. Join us as we explore our beloved city’s rise as a technology leader and discover why it’s a roadmap to a bright future.

St. Louis is well-positioned to become a national and global technology leader. The city’s prime location in the heart of the country provides easy access to major markets, making “The Gateway to the West” an ideal base for geospatial technology companies. In addition, the region’s proximity to the Mississippi River and our status as a transportation hub further enhances our strategic advantage. As we say in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location, and we’re in the heart of it all (sorry, Ohio).  

St. Louis is home to 40 prestigious academic institutions that focus on cutting-edge geospatial technology research and education. In fact, Washington University in St. Louis, Saint Louis University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis are renowned for their programs in geographic information systems (GIS) and related fields. These institutions attract first-class faculty and students in this space, fostering a culture of innovation and knowledge sharing. This innovative culture drives our city forward and fuels a strong entrepreneurial spirit.

Thriving Startup Ecosystem

St. Louis is proud of its strong entrepreneurial spirit and nurtures a vibrant startup ecosystem with an emphasis on technology-based ventures. The city offers numerous resources and support systems for entrepreneurs, including incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces. For example, T-Rex, a downtown innovation center, serves as a catalyst for startups and fosters collaboration among various industries, including geospatial technology. All this support is paying off as St. Louis has added thousands of jobs (27,000+ and counting!) and benefitted from nearly $5 billion of economic impact throughout the region.¹

Government and Industry Support

In addition to a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, St. Louis benefits from strong government and industry support for geospatial technology initiatives. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) chose St. Louis as the site for its new western headquarters, investing billions of dollars in our region. This landmark investment has boosted the city’s overall economy, encouraged impressive collaboration across the region and stimulated the growth of geospatial technology-related industries and research. In addition to the NGA’s decision, local and state governments have implemented favorable policies and incentives to attract and retain geospatial technology companies to further cement our status as the global hub in this space.  

“In the past decade, the geospatial industry has gone through a significant revolutionary shift from being primarily centered on the public sector to now incredibly and increasingly viable in the private sector. This means that other industries, such as agriculture, mining, energy, health care and others, have recognized the value of incorporating many aspects of geospatial technology into their business – and quickly.” ²       

-Adam Simmons, founder and CEO, Project Geospatial

Diverse Applications and Industries

One of the most impressive aspects of the geospatial boom is the number of markets, companies and people it impacts. This innovative technology finds applications across a variety of industries, from agriculture and environmental management to urban planning and logistics. St. Louis’s diverse economic landscape, which includes agriculture, transportation and manufacturing sectors, presents numerous opportunities for geospatial technology companies to work together and develop cutting-edge solutions for some of our biggest challenges. As we continue to increase our focus on sustainability and smart city initiatives, our need for geospatial technology expertise will only grow.

Collaborative Geospatial Community

Our geospatial community is a collaborative and tight-knit group, which is impressive considering that we have over 350 companies representing the St. Louis region in this booming global industry. Organizations such as GeoSLU, a geospatial consortium formed by Saint Louis University, and the Missouri GIS Advisory Committee actively work together, share knowledge and drive professional development within the geospatial sector. The community’s collaborative spirit enhances innovation, creates networking opportunities and helps fuel the overall growth of the geospatial technology ecosystem in the STL.

St. Louis is putting geospatial technology on the map, so our future looks bright. As the proud home of the NGA’s western headquarters, we benefit from tremendous government and industry support of this innovative technology that impacts so many people and companies in various markets. Our collaborative geospatial community makes the most of this support by utilizing every resource at their disposal to make our city’s mark in this surging global industry. With continued investment, support from public and private sectors and an unwavering commitment to innovation, St. Louis will become a global leader in geospatial technology, driving economic growth and technological advancements while delivering solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

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¹The Future of Geospatial Intelligence is STLMade, City of St. Louis
² Expert Explains How St. Louis is Leading the Future of Geospatial Technology, Ladue News