Penn State selected as Center of Academic Excellence in Geospatial Sciences

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Penn State was one of a select group of U.S. educational institutions to be named a Center of Academic Excellence in Geospatial Sciences (CAE GS) by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) in partnership with the United States Geological Survey (USGS). This recognition cements Penn State’s reputation as a leading provider of geospatial science education, which includes mapmaking, spatial data analysis, visual analytics, remote sensing, geospatial intelligence, homeland security and geographic information systems (GIS). The selected institutions were acknowledged in a ceremony at the 2015 United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) GEOINT Symposium, June 22, at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.

“This designation is such an honor for us, especially knowing we’re among the first institutions nationwide to be named a Center of Academic Excellence in Geospatial Sciences. Penn State has a tradition of strong educational offerings at all degree levels, and some of our alumni have gone on to make major innovations in geospatial sciences,” said Cindy Brewer, professor and head of the Department of Geography, where the majority of the University’s geospatial sciences research, outreach and education takes place.

The CAE GS program is a new endeavor designed to cultivate centers of academic excellence in geospatial sciences, content processing, tradecraft methodologies, and research and development technologies. NGA and USGS recognize the inherent value of investing in the future geospatial workforce and the CAE Geospatial Sciences program supports that goal.

“The CAE Geospatial Sciences Program is a new way of cultivating relationships and partnerships across America's universities,” said Lenora Peters Gant, NGA senior executive for academic outreach and STEM. “The CAE Geospatial Sciences Program is one of the best strategic and systemic approaches to shape the geospatial intelligence workforce of the future.”

The CAE Geospatial Sciences Program provides NGA and USGS the ability to assess universities’ geospatial science curricula, research and development, and related capabilities that align with the agencies’ mission needs. With these partnerships, the agencies can attract a broader array of geospatial intelligence expertise, research and development, as well as talent sources for current and emerging critical mission challenges.

Penn State offers degree programs in geospatial sciences at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels; professional certificate programs; massive open online courses (MOOCs) and local and statewide outreach in geospatial sciences. For-credit courses and programs are offered on campus and online through Penn State World Campus .

“Geospatial science is so fundamental to how we as a society operate, so receiving this certification is important to us. The center designation is a testament to our excellent educational programming in the classroom, online and one-on-one with our graduate students. It also speaks to the leadership roles we play, from local to international levels. Our researchers are making a difference in the academic community and through our research with federal agencies,” said Brewer.

The department’s geospatial science research focuses on remote sensing, geographic information systems, spatial cognition, geovisual analytics, topographic map design, land management and hazard response and prevention. Researchers frequently present findings at national and regional conferences .

About NGA

The NGA delivers world-class geospatial intelligence that provides a decisive advantage to policymakers, warfighters, intelligence professionals and first responders. NGA is a unique combination of intelligence agency and combat support agency. It is the world leader in timely, relevant, accurate and actionable geospatial intelligence. NGA enables the U.S. intelligence community and the Department of Defense to fulfill the president’s national security priorities to protect the nation.

About the United State Geological Survey (USGS)

The USGS is a science organization that provides impartial information on the health of the US ecosystems and environment, the natural hazards that threaten the US, US natural resources, the impacts of climate and land-use change, and the core science systems that help us provide timely, relevant, and useable information.

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Last Updated July 09, 2015