University Consortium for Geographic Information Science Virginia Tech University Consortium for Geographic Information Science
GIScience at Virginia Tech


Virginia Tech contributes to the mission and goals of UCGIS by fostering collaboration of multiple educators and researchers with GIS, GPS, and remote sensing expertise with those who have a need for geographic information science in their teaching and research projects. Large interdisciplinary projects and strong intercampus communication have developed over the past few years with a large variety of faculty whose teaching and research interests intersect with geospatial technologies. In both teaching and research, Virginia Tech promotes the responsible use of geospatial technologies for the benefit of society.

Multidisciplinary Connections

Cooperation amongst Virginia Tech faculty members has been a strength for many years. The Office for GIS and Remote Sensing (OGIS) was created in 1996 as a group of faculty who regularly taught and/or did a significant amount of research in the geospatial arena. From this group many collaborative efforts lead to further growth and cooperation.

The Center for Environmental Applications of Remote Sensing (CEARS) was formed in 1998 as a NASA center of excellence in applications of remote sensing to regional and global integrated environmental assessments and serves as Virginia Tech's focal point for interdisciplinary research, instruction, and outreach focused on remote sensing applications. The Conservation Management Institute (CMI) was founded in 2000 based on previous work done at the Fish & Wildlife Information Exchange Center. CMI deals with research questions that affect conservation management issues. The Center for Geospatial Information Technology (CGIT) is a university level center founded in 2003, consisting of research staff and affiliated faculty members from 6 colleges, and serves as an institutional focal point for faculty and staff who specialize in, or use geospatial information technology such as GIS and GPS as an integral component of their research, teaching, and outreach mission. The Virginia Geospatial Extension Program (VGEP) was formed in 2003 to extend opportunities and empower organizations and individuals across the Commonwealth of Virginia through training, assessing application needs, and providing increased access to data resources.

In addition to the research centers that have spawned from the OGIS group, other benefits have accrued as well. An OGIS-sponsored GIS/RS Research Symposium is held in the spring of every year for the purposes of communicating VT-based geospatial research to our collective university community, regulatory agencies, and private companies. A graduate geospatial information technology graduate certificate is currently in the proposal stage. Faculty have become more aware of the multitude of courses that are offered in different departments and graduate students have been able to gain a well-rounded perspective of the various discipline-specific applications of the technology.

Lead Delegate:
Kathleen Hancock

Second Delegate:
Peter Sforza

Alternate Delegate:
Yang Shao