Multiple research institutions are joining forces to create the Taylor Geospatial Institute, a new entity based locally and aimed at expanding St. Louis, Missouri’s position as a hub of geospatial research and innovation. The institute is named after Andy Taylor, the Executive Chairman of Enterprise Holdings Inc.
“Geospatial is the critical technology in nearly everything we do, and it is imperative that St. Louis have the world’s leading geospatial research institution to fulfill our promise as the global center for geospatial technology in the next decade,” said Taylor. “It is my hope that this institute will cement St. Louis as the world’s true center for geospatial excellence.”
With the newly created center envisioned as becoming a key component in St. Louis’ ongoing effort to bolster its burgeoning geospatial technology sector, officials behind the Taylor Geospatial Center say they believe it can play the same role in geotech that the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center has in elevating St. Louis’ prowess in plant science and agriculture innovation.
Member institutions include the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Harris-Stowe State University, Missouri University of Science & Technology, Saint Louis University (SLU), University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Missouri-St. Louis and Washington University.
The Taylor Geospatial Institute initially will be located at SLU. Its creation comes as regional leaders have made it a priority to turn St. Louis into a top market for the geospatial industry, a move that overlaps with the development of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new $1.7 billion western headquarters in north St. Louis.
Greater St. Louis Inc. CEO Jason Hall said the Taylor Geospatial Institute will be critical to positioning St. Louis as the leader in research and development initiatives in geospatial technology, with its mission akin to that of the Danforth Center in Creve Coeur.
“When you think of that for plant science, you think of the Danforth Center. When you think of that for geospatial now, you’ll be thinking of the Taylor Geospatial Institute.”
Hall said an entity like the Taylor Geospatial Institute is important to the region’s geospatial efforts because previous economic development efforts in areas like agriculture technology and biotechnology have indicated that innovation attracts companies and entrepreneurs to the region.
“If you really want to be the global leader, similar to what we learned in plant science, you have to be the epicenter of innovation,” Hall said. “You want to be where the new ideas are being created and have the kind of facilities that support that global competitive research. That’s the hallmark of a great global city.”