SLU and Spy Agency Partner Up

Michael Calhoun
January 14, 2019 - 5:28 am
The campus of Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.

© James Byard |


ST. LOUIS (KMOX) -- St. Louis University is partnering with a spy agency to work on geospatial technology.

On Nothing Impossible this weekend, we learned more about the new research and development agreement between Saint Louis University and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

For the university, this agreement with NGA means higher-level research. That furthers SLU's goal of becoming the world's top Jesuit research university.

For NGA, it means a pipeline of graduates, ready-trained in a field where it can be hard-to-find employees.

Ken Olliff, SLU's Vice President for Research, says for St. Louis, it means becoming the epicenter of a hot tech industry.

"If you can understand what's happening in real-time around the world, you use in that for a whole variety of different purposes, for industry for solving problems and so on," he explained. "I think there's a huge potential for the St. Louis region to establish itself as a leading destination for geospatial."

Oliff says locally-based companies like Bayer Crop Science, Enterprise and Boundless are big into geospatial technology.

Most of us use it to navigate with GPS.

SLU, he says, has been using it to map health outcomes closer to home, but the applications can be international.

"If you can understand what's happening with water and with disease, you have a very good predictor of regional instability," he said.

SLU is planning a series in February and March called 'Geospatial 101.'