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Center for Geospatial Intelligence

The Center for Geospatial Intelligence is led by Curt Davis, Naka Endowed Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Since it’s inception in 2007, Davis and a large and diverse group of faculty and other researchers have conducted R&D for defense and intelligence agencies and related industries.


Fully 21 affiliated faculty from electrical engineering, computer engineering, computer science, geography, civil and environmental engineering and geological sciences have worked on equally diverse projects including satellite, airborne, and ground-based remote sensing; advanced geospatial data processing and production; automated feature extraction; target recognition; video processing and surveillance; pattern recognition; intelligent databases; information retrieval; human terrain modeling; change detection and the detection and characterization of underground structures.

The depth and breath of CGI’s personnel and it’s funded research have made it the leading academic research center in this country focused on critical geospatial intelligence for national security and military combat support. To date, the center’s awarded proposals total about $18 million.

One of the center’s current projects is focused on human geography modeling. This project’s goal is to predict a population’s response to disaster. The goal is to develop a model to predict human movement after a catastrophe or a large-scale tragedy.

Another research project is working to build geo-location/terrain databases and algorithms that would aid in determining the location of a ground photo based on the geographic features in the photo.

Davis is working on a long-term project that uses satellite images to detect geographical and manmade changes on the earth over time.

Under the umbrella of the Center, affiliated faculty boast 73 CGI-related journal publications since 2007.

CGI prides itself for its support and training of graduate and undergraduate students. In total, 28 master’s degrees and 19 doctorates have been awarded to graduate students supported by CGI projects with nine master’s and 16 doctoral students currently working in the Center.

Davis, who in the past served on the Academic Program Committee of the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF), partnered with MU’s Department of Geography to establish the nation’s first accredited undergraduate geospatial intelligence program (GEOINT) with a USGIF accredited graduate program following in 2010. Early in 2013, an online GEOINT certificate program was launched to give nontraditional students and distance-learners access to the program.

Affiliation with CGI has allowed approximately 40 MU undergraduate students to participate in an internship program run by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) where they get to work on real-world intelligence programs after being granted a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information security clearance.