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With new partnership, Boundless offers free geospatial tools for schools on a budget

Boundless is partnering with the leading geospatial nonprofit to provide universities with more open-source resources to grow technical skills.

The St. Louis-based startup will provide a package of training materials and technical support to the four online-only universities that have U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation-accredited programs: Northeastern University, Pennsylvania State University, Universidade Nova de Lisboa’s NOVAInformation Management School, and the University of Southern California. The goal is to provide students with myriad skills that they can utilize in jobs even without access to expensive geospatial software.

“Not everybody that comes out of these geospatial programs will be sitting in front of a computer with these costly tools that a lot of organizations can’t afford … it can put them at a disadvantage,” Boundless CEO Andy Dearing told the Business Journal. Now “no matter where you’re going, you’ll be well suited with tools and knowledgable.”

The partnership aligns with Boundless’ commitment to education and providing opportunities those in need, Dearing said. His company offers the same USGIF educational package to any university through Boundless’ website, he added.

“Over the past decade, open-source geospatial software has garnered a lot of interest among educators, especially from schools operating on a limited budget,” USGIF Director of Academic Programs Camelia Kantor said in a statement. “As a former educator who had tight budget constraints to purchase proprietary software, I truly appreciate the value of providing free and quality alternatives. USGIF wants students to learn in software agnostic environments, and that is the reason we partner with both proprietary and open-source providers to help our accredited schools create forward-looking and innovative learning environments.”

In total, 14 universities have USGIF-accredited programs, including the University of Missouri-Columbia.

The geographic information system industry, or GIS, is a growing market in St. Louis. St. Louis California-based Esri announced recently it was expanding its office to the new Cortex building at 4240 Duncan Ave. and is adding at least 10 new employees. Downtown incubator T-REX, where Boundless is based, is dedicating an entire floor to GIS to support the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new $945 million headquarters that will be about two miles away.

A P&S Market Research report said the GIS industry was valued at $9.8 billion last year and is projected to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.2 percent through 2023.

Reprint from St. Louis Biz Journal
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