Project Geospatial’s Facebook site describes it as “a webcast and blog focused on increasing awareness and education about geospatial technology” – but what, many folks may wonder, does geospatial actually mean?
One renowned dictionary, Merriam-Webster, defines the term, which first appeared circa 1970, as “consisting of, derived from or relating to data that is directly linked to specific geographical locations.”
Adam Simmons, the local nonprofit’s founder and CEO, expands: “The ‘geospatial’ in our title, Project Geospatial, has to do with the continual exploration and understanding of location – basically, ‘the science of where.’ That’s a little wave, but for good reason – the geospatial community branches out to many disciplines.”
In his work, Simmons aims to examine and explain the overarching importance of geospatial knowledge: “Everything that exists in our world has a location, and understanding where things are, how things move – including people – and how that affects our environment is key to better understanding how our world works, to solve complex problems involving war, food and water resources, space exploration, urban planning, public health, transportation and more.”
While recognizing the metro area’s considerable history with geospatial matters – perhaps most prominently with major locations of the federal National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency currently in Arnold and St. Louis – Simmons argues that the area’s once-modest geospatial profile has risen greatly, and even globally , of late because of two big factors. “The first is the announcement of NGA renovating their presence in St. Louis with their new western headquarters and scaling up their facility footprint, personnel and business opportunities offered locally,” he says.