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Affiliations and Designations

The Center for Geospatial Analytics is a leader in geospatial science and technology development with a holistic approach. A growing number of honors and affiliations recognize the Center as a research and education pioneer.

Esri Innovation Program

In 2017, Esri invited the Center for Geospatial Analytics to join an elite group of global institutions in the Esri Development Center (EDC) program, now known as the Esri Innovation Program (EIP). The distinction comes with special access to ArcGIS software, developer summits and Esri personnel and distinguishes NC State University as one of only a few dozen EIP institutions worldwide. Esri established the program to “cultivate innovation in GIS research and promote teaching excellence in spatial data science and analytics and GIScience in higher education institutions.”

Associate Director of Educational Innovation Eric Money and Research Associate Bill Slocumb are NC State’s EIP co-representatives, serving as liaisons with Esri. Contact them with questions or to learn more.

EIP Student of the Year Competition

Each year, the Center for Geospatial Analytics can name an EIP Student of the Year and nominate that student for the international competition across all EIP institutions. The NC State award comes with a $500 prize, a certificate of award and free Esri Press book. In addition, each winner’s name will be engraved on a plaque that resides at the Center for Geospatial Analytics. Winners of the international competition receive free travel and lodging for the Esri User Conference and its associated Education Summit in San Diego, CA.

NC State Winners

2024: Kim Garrett

2023: Alex Yoshizumi

2022: Rachel Porter

2021: Alex Reinwald

2020: Nikki Inglis

2019: Jason Matney

2018: Ashwin Shashidharan, winner of the global competition!

A call for nominations will be sent out every February.

Eligibility criteria for students:

  • Enrolled in a Center for Geospatial Analytics academic program (Ph.D. in Geospatial Analytics, MGIST, Graduate Certificate in GIS) or another NC State graduate degree program with strong geospatial components
  • In good academic standing
  • Conducting research and/or project work with innovative uses of Esri technologies (can be combined with open source solutions, but at least some component should involve Esri technologies), including but not limited to:
    • WebGIS solutions
    • Backend development (e.g., tools, scripts, analysis techniques, linking open source and Esri, etc.)
    • Database innovations
    • Data collection innovations
    • Data and decision analytics

After all nominations are submitted, the winner will be selected by the Center for Geospatial Analytics’ Awards Committee.

NGA-USGS Center for Academic Excellence


The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and US Geological Survey designated NC State University, through its Center for Geospatial Analytics, a Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) in Geospatial Sciences in Summer 2017. The program is “designed to cultivate centers of academic excellence in geospatial sciences, content processing, tradecraft methodologies and research and development technologies.” Benefits of the designation include access to NGA and USGS subject matter experts, networking possibilities across the intelligence community and broader opportunities to apply to internships.

Contact Associate Director of Educational Innovation Eric Money with questions or to learn more.

GeoForAll Network Founding Node

OSGeo logo

The GeoForAll lab at the Center for Geospatial Analytics is one of the six founding nodes of the global GeoForAll network established by the OSGeo Foundation; the network currently includes over 100 laboratories dedicated to open principles in geospatial science, software and data. Associate Director of Earth and Environmental Sciences Applications Helena Mitasova is the leader of the Center’s GeoForAll lab and serves on the global GeoForAll advisory board. She and her students and postdoctoral scholars develop open geovisualization techniques such as Tangible Landscape to advance human-computer interaction and intuitive exploration of complex geospatial data and simulations. The NC State node also collaborates with several other GeoForAll labs on the development of GRASS GIS, a powerful open-source desktop geospatial platform. The Center’s GeoForAll lab also develops and teaches courses on geospatial modeling and tools for open geoscience and presents numerous workshops on GRASS GIS, Tangible Landscape and virtual environments.

UCGIS Member

UCGIS logo

NC State University is a long-standing member of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science and partners with the organization to explore the future of GIS from a research and education perspective. UCGIS is a voice for the university community, and members of the Center for Geospatial Analytics have taken an active role in its leadership. Associate Directors Eric Money and Helena Mitasova are delegates to UCGIS, Faculty Fellow Laura Tateosian is a member of the Education Committee and Director Ross Meentemeyer served on the UCGIS Board of Directors. All students at NC State are eligible for full membership benefits, including access to competitive grants, free registrations to webinars and workshops and discounted fees to the annual symposium.

URISA Education Partner

URISA logo

URISA (Urban and Regional Information Systems Association) is an international GIS professional organization that provides development opportunities, networking with a large community of members and access to educational resources. The organization serves as a resource for standards and procedures in the field, increases visibility within the overall community and ensures the trust and credibility of GIS professionals. URISA offers workshops, trainings and a GIS Leadership Academy as well as sponsors conferences for professional development. The Center for Geospatial Analytics is one of a handful of URISA Education Partners, in addition to a score of corporate and media partners and thousands of members. As a partner, we offer free one-year memberships for our students, with a reduced rate ($10/year) thereafter. Contact Associate Director of Educational Innovation Eric Money if you are interested in a student membership.

FSF Flood Lab Research Partner

In 2021, NC State University, via our Center, became a Flood Lab Research Partner with the nonprofit First Street Foundation (FSF). The First Street Foundation Flood Lab is a collection of leading academic and industry research partners working to derive new insights and further understanding of flood risk, its consequences and possible solutions. Our Center’s partnership with the FSF Flood Lab provides access to data on flood probability, severity and depth under current and future climate conditions. These data will be used to advance research on flood risk forecasting and resilience.