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About the Geospatial Institute

The Saint Louis University Geospatial Institute — also known as GeoSLU — is a consortium of faculty and students from various disciplines to promote and develop new research ideas, and house high-tech computational facilities to advance research and enhance graduate and undergraduate education.

Vision and Mission

Our vision is to build a regional hub and internationally recognized center of excellence in multidisciplinary geospatial science through impactful and innovative research, education, partnerships, and services, across domains and aligned with SLU's Jesuit tradition.

The mission of the SLU Geospatial Institute is to understand our ever-changing world for informed decision making, on the ground and from above, connected together through space and time.

A Big Idea

The creation of the Geospatial Institute in 2019 was started with “GeoSLU: The Geospatial Research, Training, and Innovation Enterprise,” which was funded by Saint Louis University’s Big Ideas competition. The goal of the Geospatial Institute is to build distinctive strengths in geospatial research, training, service and innovation at SLU, contribute to establishing St. Louis as a national geospatial hub, apply geospatial insights to regional and global challenges, and develop new partnerships with innovators, industry, federal agencies, local and regional governments and universities.

The Geospatial Institute will consists of three pillars:

  • Research: The Geospatial Institute will promote research through externally funded grants and by applying geospatial insights to important regional and global challenges.
  • Data Support Services: The Geospatial Institute will provide geospatial analytics and data management to faculty and students engaged in geospatial research.
  • Teaching and Training: The Geospatial Institute will train the next generation of geospatial scientists and innovators by providing educational opportunities for students in basic and advanced geospatial techniques and methods.

The Geospatial Institute establishes a connected consortium of faculty and students from diverse disciplines to coordinate and accelerate applied geospatial science through:

  • Exceptional educational opportunities
  • New applied research
  • Coordinated data services
  • Advanced analytics and computational infrastructure
  • Sustainable external funding
  • Local, national and global partnerships
Faculty Leadership
Vasit Sagan

Vasit Sagan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Faculty Director of Geospatial Institute

Des Peres Hall, Room 203B
3694 West Pine Mall
St. Louis, Missouri 63108 

Ness Sandoval

Ness Sandoval, Ph.D.

Professor of Sociology

Associate Director

1929 Morrissey Hall
3700 Lindell Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63108 

Enbal Shacham

Enbal Shacham, Ph.D.

Professor of Public Health

Associate Director

3545 Lafayette Ave, Office 315
St. Louis, Missouri 63104 

Executive Committee
  • Tracy Chapman, Ph.D., Dean of School of Professional Studies
  • Mike Lewis, Ph.D., Interim Provost
  • Henning Lohse-Busch, Ph.D., Director of Business Development and Outreach at GeoSLU
  • Robert McNair, Research Strategist
  • Ken Olliff, Vice President for Research
  • Vasit Sagan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of GIScience, CAS
  • Ness Sandoval, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology, CAS
  • Enbal Shacham, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Behavioral Science and Health Education
Faculty Advisory Board
  • Flavio Esposito, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Computer Science
  • Ronaldo Luna, Ph.D., Professor of Civil Engineering
  • Joe Lyons, Ph.D., Director of Security and Strategic Intelligence, Assistant Professor
  • Jeff Ma, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
  • Takako Nomi, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Educational Studies
  • Shawn Steadman, Director, Emergency Management
  • Chris Tinson, Ph.D., Director of African American Studies, Associate Professor of History
External Advisory Board

The purpose of the GeoSLU Advisory Board is to foster collaborative opportunities between SLU, industry partners, and government agencies to develop ideas related to geospatial research and innovation.

Representing a dozen industry and government agencies, the Advisory Board plays an important role to build SLU’s geospatial expertise to benefit both the University, our partners, and the region.

Current members of the advisory board include:

  • Chris Bay (Vice President, LaunchCode)
  • Greg Brunner (ESRI)
  • Andy Dearing (President, Spatial STL Advisors)
  • Patty Hagen, Ph.D. (President, T-Rex)
  • Jason Hall (CEO, Arch to Park)
  • James Pearce (Head of Unmanned Aerial Division, Ameren)
  • Timothy Siems (OGSystems)
  • Ernest L. Smiley (Chief Data Scientist, Kingdom Capital)