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Strategic Plan 2022-2027

As our Center continues to grow and expand its impact through research, academics and engagement, we strive to build a forward-thinking, inclusive future rooted in data justice and service. Discover more about our strategic vision for the coming years.


The Center for Geospatial Analytics is dedicated to expanding NC State’s recognized leadership in geospatial science, analytics and technologies at regional, national and international levels and innovating open, sustainable and just solutions to grand environmental and societal challenges. Our cutting-edge academic programs prepare the next generation of geospatial data scientists and GIS professionals for impactful careers in a range of fields.


Through research, education and collaborative partnerships, we push the boundaries of geospatial data science to make discoveries and get important work done.


The Center for Geospatial Analytics’ 2022-2027 Strategic Plan encompasses five goals that are aligned with those of NC State’s 2021-2030 Strategic Plan and nested within the strategic priorities of the College of Natural Resources’ 2021-2026 Strategic Plan. Initiatives are listed under each goal.

Goal 1

Ensure preeminence in interdisciplinary research, scholarship, innovation and collaboration, elevating the national and global reputation and visibility of the Center.

  • Enhance infrastructure for computing, technology and collaboration
  • Develop capacity through personnel hire(s) to cultivate industry partnerships that catalyze new research opportunities
  • Evaluate how we compare to peer academic programs
  • Increase the diversity and amount of external funding, including pursue a high-profile, multi-project Center Grant
  • Continually evaluate and enhance the Faculty Fellows program (e.g., new modes of engagement, collaboration, membership from other institutions, interdisciplinarity)

Goal 2

Lead in developing sustainable, open and just research, education, engagement and operations.

  • Increase open access to research (e.g., through publications, developing software platforms for sharing data and models) and produce guidelines for making research as open as possible (and navigating spectrums of limitations) 
  • Codify ethical issues in geospatial data science (e.g., related to data justice, environmental justice, data ethics and open science) that all Center students, staff and faculty should be aware of (e.g., how damage can be done with big data) and produce position statements or technical papers about open science and data justice 
  • Leverage service-learning, Service Center and research projects to help increase the sustainability of other units and organizations
  • Expand formal/informal educational offerings about ethical issues in geospatial data science and open science (e.g., course, internal/external workshops, Geospatial Forums and Studios)
  • Improve technology to facilitate and enhance hybrid interactions (increasing inclusiveness and decreasing carbon expenditure for transportation)

Goal 3

Empower students for a lifetime of success and impact.

  • Ensure highly competitive and equitable student assistantships for all graduate students (Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant positions)
  • Ensure students who will graduate from Center programs engage in professional development, either by participating in internships/externships, teaching opportunities, professional networking or other opportunities
  • Create a set of transparent procedures for continually evaluating curricula to ensure our programs remain on the cutting edge and respond to student input, field trends and the job market
  • Explore the development of new programs (e.g., new certificates, undergrad minor, undergrad research assistants, Research Experiences for Undergraduates [REUs])
  • Continue to develop and grow our alumni network to create new opportunities for alumni engagement, collaboration and philanthropy

Goal 4

Expand and advance our engagement with and service to North Carolina and beyond, exemplifying the standard for a 21st-century land-grant university, with emphasis on involving stakeholders in decision-making.

  • Host new workshops (like the UAS workshop) that provide education and training opportunities for both internal and external audiences
  • Become a hub for a geospatial community of students, researchers and practitioners beyond NC State
  • Increase return on the investment of state funding by prioritizing partnerships with state agencies and local and state government
  • Lead on multi-institution, multi-department grants
  • Develop capacity to expand extension impacts (e.g., by hiring a Community Engagement Coordinator, building capacity to lead tours and demos)

Goal 5

Champion a culture of equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging and well-being in all we do.

  • Prioritize mental health and well-being for Center faculty, staff and students and ensure policies and culture are consistent with maintaining a healthy work/life balance
  • Increase connection and sense of belonging
  • Audit how diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) principles are incorporated into Center operations, teaching, research, recruitment, retention and engagement; and use the results to implement improved practices
  • Assess and address resource gaps for online and on-campus students
  • Grow cultural competency Center-wide through annual DEI training for faculty, staff and students and group participation in campus DEI programs

About This Plan

This strategic plan was created during late 2021 and early 2022, led by a Strategic Plan Subcommittee of the Center’s Steering Committee. The subcommittee drafted goals and initiatives with Steering Committee input, then presented a range of suggested initiatives under each goal to the Center community for their anonymous comments, suggestions and votes. The initiatives with the most support under each goal were included in the final plan, reworded and reorganized in response to community feedback. We thank all of the students, faculty and staff who provided their time and ideas to help shape the Center’s strategic direction over the next five years.