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Interactive Multitouch Tabletop WorkstationMission

We are an interdisciplinary research and teaching center focused on data-driven spatial modeling and visualization for innovative solutions to pressing environmental and societal challenges. At the Center for Geospatial Analytics, everything is spatial and location matters in science, society, and decision-making processes.

As the technological and intellectual hub for the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program in Geospatial Analytics, the Center’s cross-College collaborations and industry and community partnerships are advancing geospatial frontiers in:

Administered by the College of Natural Resources (CNR), the Center is playing a leadership role in decision-support analytics through:

    • cutting-edge research and outreach that is positioning NC State as a go-to-place for geospatial solutions to grand challenges, and
    • distinguished graduate education and training that is positioning NC State as a major supplier of geospatial scientists and problem solvers in NC and the country.


Our rich heritage in the geospatial sciences began in the 1970’s as a computing cooperative between the Departments of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering that evolved into what became formalized in 1982 as the Computer Graphics Center (CGC). In 1997, CGC was renamed the Center for Earth Observation (CEO) where it developed premier research and teaching programs in the College of Natural Resources focused on environmental remote sensing, image processing, global positioning systems, and GIS analysis for environmental management.

CGA Timeline


In 2002, we launched the Graduate Certificate in GIS, the first of two graduate education programs spearheaded and administered by the Center. In Spring 2010, we established the first nationally-designated Professional Science Master’s program in GIS: the Master of Geospatial Information Science and Technology (MGIST).  In 2014, the University changed our name to the Center for Geospatial Analytics in response to our strengths in computational problem-solving, interdisciplinary connections, and contributions to meeting rapidly growing demands for educational and professional training in the geospatial sciences.  The new name reflects the Center as a one-of-a-kind innovator of analytical tools and solutions that emphasize the importance of “place” in science, society, and decision-making.


The Center for Geospatial Analytics provides leadership in a number of administrative and interdisciplinary research and graduate education areas.

    • We are the administrative home for the NC State University Graduate GIS Faculty. This formally identified graduate school designation includes over 40 faculty from 8 of the University’s Colleges and 19 of its departments and provides University leadership for multiple graduate degrees, minors, and certificates. Many Center faculty hold multiple appointments in other interdisciplinary units including the Institute for Advanced Analytics and the Operations Research Faculty.
    • We are the administrative support unit and the primary research laboratory and collaborative hub for the Geospatial Analytics Initiative in the 2014 Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program (CFEP). The new faculty hired under this program and their graduate students and postdoctoral scholars are housed in the Center. Center faculty are participating members in other CFEP initiatives including the programs in Data Driven Science, Forensic Sciences, Global Environmental Change and Human Well-Being, and Genetic Engineering and Society.
    • OSGeo_compass_with_text_squareLed by Helena Mitasova, Center Faculty Fellow and the Associate Director of Geovisualization, the Center is designated as the first Open Source Geospatial Research and Education Lab and the primary node for the OSGeo Foundation in North America. This distinction positions the Center as a national leader in attracting funding and outstanding graduate students for open source geospatial solutions. Helena Mitasova is also a member of the OSGeo Foundation’s board of directors.
    • ucgisThe Center is an active participant in the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS), a non-profit organization of invited universities and research institutions dedicated to advancing our understanding of geographic processes and spatial relationships through improved theory, methods, technology, and data.  Center Director, Ross Meentemeyer, serves on the UCGIS board of directors, and Faculty Fellow Helena Mitasova serves as the University’s second delegate to the UCGIS.
    • The Center has taken a leadership role in the planning for a more focused Service Learning program for the University. This includes directing the University-wide task force that will define service learning courses at NC State and provide a series of recommendations for recognition of faculty and students that participate in these courses. This effort has led to establishment of the Graduate GIS Service Program that will develop service learning experiences and courses for advanced graduate students study in providing GIS analysis and modeling support to non-profit organizations.