A New Age of Discovery:

Our Geospatial Future Explored at Conversations

The power and potential of geospatial technology was discussed at the Danforth Center’s event “Conversations: Mapping the Future of St. Louis” on March 30. The program, moderated by Jason Hall, CEO of Greater St. Louis, Inc., brought together two experts who are helping redefine the way we view the world: Vasit Sagan, PhD, acting director of the Taylor Geospatial Institute and associate professor of Earth & Atmospheric Science at Saint Louis University; and Allison Miller, PhD, Danforth Center principal investigator and professor of biology at Saint Louis University. With nearly 350 members of the audience (including around 30 virtual), these eminent panelists enthralled with their insights into how geospatial can transform St. Louis and help solve the world’s greatest challenges.

Vasit Sagan, PhD, acting director of the new Taylor Geospatial Institute (TGI), speaking at Danforth Center Conversations. He and the Danforth Center's Dr. Allison Miller discusse how geospatial technology can be combined with agtech to help feed the world, and how these twin specialties will enhance the St. Louis region.

Charting a New Course

As Dr. Sagan explained, “Geospatial technology is mapping technology,” and, through things like GPS and weather applications, it’s something you probably utilize each day. But scientists at the Danforth Center and TGI are changing the geospatial landscape. Using advanced drones and sensors to image plants in the field, they can make new breakthrough discoveries faster than ever before. This convergence of plant science and geospatial has exciting implications for our future—and St. Louis is at the center of it all.

Danforth Plant Science Center is an excellent model, a blueprint, for Taylor Geospatial Institute’s success. Vasit Sagan, PhD,
Acting Director, Taylor Geospatial Institute


Taking Flight

Announced in 2022, the Taylor Geospatial Institute (TGI) is a world-class consortium dedicated to geospatial research. The Danforth Center serves as one of the eight founding partners of TGI, and also, as Dr. Sagan said, “an excellent model, a blueprint, for Taylor Geospatial Institute’s success.”

The agtech and geotech fields are flourishing in St. Louis. Working together, these innovative industries will create new opportunities and a better tomorrow for the people of our region.

Dr. William H. Danforth helped found the Danforth Center in the hope of transforming St. Louis into the Silicon Valley of agtech, a vision that has largely been realized in the last 25 years. Likewise, Andy Taylor, with the model of the Danforth Center in mind, helped found TGI to put St. Louis on the map as the Silicon Valley of geotech too. Through fostering new ideas, top talent, and inclusive growth in these two fields, TGI and the Danforth Center are rewriting the future of St. Louis to be a worldwide leader in tech innovation.

Here at the Danforth Center, we’re using geospatial data to try to understand the crops and food systems of the future. Allison Miller, PhD,
Principal Investigator


The Future of Food

Dr. Sagan and Dr. Miller agreed—feeding the world is an urgent task, and it’s one that geospatial can help accomplish. By being able to collect large amounts of knowledge in a small amount of time, Danforth Center researchers can propel their vital efforts to grow healthier crops that also benefit our environment. If you want to be part of this work, please donate to the Danforth Center today.

Watch the Event

Event Recording by HEC

Conversations: Mapping the Future of St. Louis

Media Sponsor

For information on sponsoring future Conversations, contact Lee’at Bachar, Corporate and Foundation Relations Officer, at 314.587.1210 or email: lbachar@danforthcenter.org.