UMass Global Launches Institute for Geospatial Education with Focus on Upskilling the Employee of The Future


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Aligning with the increased need for organizations to adapt to today’s radically transformed social and economic ecosystems of the emerging post-pandemic world, University of Massachusetts Global today announced the establishment of the Institute for Geospatial Education that aims to partner with international entities seeking to scale-up workforce capabilities for analyzing and communicating using mission-critical geospatial data through online training and education.

“Our rapidly changing world demands that organizations respond in kind. Failure to do so can have detrimental consequences,” said UMass Global Chancellor David Andrews. “Geospatial technology can accelerate problem-solving, enabling those who use it to rise more quickly to address the challenges of the day, regardless of if these challenges surface from circumstances internal or external to the organization. By harnessing the university’s extensive online capacity, the Institute for Geospatial Education can work across international borders to help partner organizations develop ‘employees of the future’ among their ranks.”

The Institute for Geospatial Education will partner with others to provide customizable online geospatial education teaching on how to apply geospatial spatial technology. It will equip managers and other personnel with the foundational skills for geospatial analysis, including geospatial storytelling and data-driven decision-making. The institute’s formation builds on the university’s long-standing collaboration with Esri, the global leader in geographic information systems (GIS) and data analysis platforms.

“UMass Global’s Institute for Geospatial Education is exciting for many reasons,” said Clint Brown, director of product engineering at Esri and a member of the Institute’s advisory board. “GIS and location services enable people everywhere to track progress throughout communities and geographies worldwide. As such, the institute’s partners will rapidly become part of an ever-expanding group of problem solvers capable of addressing the big challenges that face our planet.”

Worldwide demand for geospatial skills is increasing. Geospatial World, an international consultancy, projects the total volume of business activity within the field increasing from some $681 billion in 2025 to $1.4 trillion in 2030.

Dr. Sheila Lakshmi Steinberg will serve as the institute’s inaugural director. Steinberg is faculty assembly president at UMass Global, she is the current president of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) and a well-known expert in the field, having co-edited “Resilient Communities Across Geographies” (Esri Press, 2021) and co-authored “GIS Research Methods: Incorporating Spatial Perspectives” (Esri Press, 2015) and GIS for the Social Sciences (Sage Publications 2006).

“I am excited to lead the new institute because we harness the power of people, place and geospatial technology to improve society,” Steinberg said. “We are creative, cross global boundaries and respect the cultures of different countries as we seek to empower using geospatial tools.

The institute’s advisory board and affiliates comprise leading experts in the application of geospatial knowledge and related industries such as aerial imagery, remote sensing, sustainability, and data-driven decision making around the world. These known individuals and affiliates will bring cultural competencies and capacity to the new Institute for Geospatial Education, enabling the institute to execute services and valuable international partnerships upon launch.

“I foresee possibilities for new international collaborations, partnerships and knowledge sharing across countries,” Steinberg said. “We are convening international geospatial and education experts to deliver hands-on educational opportunities to all.”

You can view the Institute for Geospatial Education’s website to learn more.

About University of Massachusetts Global

University of Massachusetts Global is a private, nonprofit online institution affiliated with University of Massachusetts and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. The university offers undergraduate, graduate, credential, and certificate programs designed to be relevant to more than 90 career paths. UMass Global serves about 19,000 students, about 14,000 of whom are enrolled in academic credit programs. UMass Global offers fully online courses for students anywhere in the United States and for military personnel serving abroad. For more information, visit the university’s website.

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