USA: Home of Geospatial Education
Industry trend insights to put you ahead of the competition.
Geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) is a rapidly advancing field offering exciting career paths for those with a passion for mapping, data analysis and problem-solving. The sector is constantly evolving, and with new and advanced technologies on the rise, the possibilities are endless. A geospatial career isn’t just a job, it’s an adventure.
For employers, understanding industry trends is key if you want to get ahead of the competition. For students, knowing which universities offer the best education for your chosen field of study can be vital to securing the best roles in the industry. According to our data, geospatial organisations seem to sway towards certain universities, but which are they, and why are they preferred?
We looked at hundreds of leading companies in the geospatial sector, including Uber, TomTom, Maxar, Iceye, Satellogic, What3Words, and which universities their employees attended; and the same names appeared time and time again. Interestingly, over 80% of the graduates that move into geospatial sector come from American universities, and the most popular of these is University of Colorado, Boulder.
Top 10 Universities for Geospatial Studies by Industry Hires:
- University of Colorado Boulder – USA
- Stanford University – USA
- The University of California, Berkeley – USA
- University of Oxford – UK
- Penn State University – USA
- George Mason University – USA
- University of Arizona – USA
- University of Waterloo – Canada
- Carnegie Mellon University – USA
- University of Washington – USA
All American universities in the top 10 are funded for conceptual space exploration and have close ties with or are funded by NASA.
NASA’s investment in university space programmes is critical for the development and growth of the geospatial sector. By funding research and providing resources for hands-on experience, NASA is nurturing the next generation of talent in the field. These programmes not only prepare students for geospatial and other space-related careers, but inspires them to pursue further innovation and discovery. This support also allows for cross-sector collaboration and problem-solving to improve society.
What makes the USA such a hotbed for geospatial education?
Out of 114 US universities, the top three in terms of geospatial sector hires are all members of the Universities Space Research Association (USRA). USRA serves as a platform for universities to collaborate effectively with each other, the Government, and other organisations to advance space science, technology, and education.
USRA is dedicated to strengthening the capabilities in environmental data sciences to minimise and remedy real-world problems, such as the effects of natural disasters. The partnership provides access to panels of technical experts from the research community to oversee USRA’s institutes, centres, divisions and programmes.
The eligibility criteria for USRA membership includes demonstrated significant contributions in space or aerospace research fields by faculty, and a substantial commitment to a course of studies and dissertation research leading to the doctorate in one or more related fields.
1. University of Colorado Boulder
- Funded by NASA
- #1 aerospace university recipient of NASA research awards
- USRA oversight member
- Total enrolment – 55% male, 45% female
- Departments – Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, College of Engineering and Applied Science
- Courses – GIS and Computational Science, Geography, Earth Data Analytics, Environmental Planning, Environment and Sustainability, Geological Sciences, Space Minor
2. Stanford University, California
- Among top 5 global universities, 2nd best for aerospace engineering, and 13th best for space science
- Funded for conceptual space exploration research
- USRA oversight member
- Total enrolment – 49% male, 51% female
- Departments – Stanford Geospatial Center, Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, Centre for Spatial and Textual Analysis, Doerr School of Sustainability
- Courses – Geophysics, Geological Sciences, Earth Systems, Data Science, Spatial Approaches to Social Science, Remote Sensing of Hydrology, GPS in Earth Sciences, Earth Imaging, Principles of Data Science, Data Science for Geoscience, Advanced Geographic Information Systems
3. The University of California, Berkeley
- World’s 3rd best college for planetary sciences
- Ranked #17 out of 2,241 in Best Colleges ranking nationwide
- Strong connections & partnership with NASA
- Participated in over 50 space missions
- Graduated 8th highest number of astronauts of any US college
- USRA oversight member
- Total enrolment – 48% male, 51% female
- Departments – The Rausser College of Natural Resources, Space Science Laboratory, Center for Integrative Planetary Science
- Courses- Geospatial Information Science and Technology, Earth & Planetary Sciences, Geography, Environmental Science, Policy and Management, Data Science, City Planning, Planetary Science Major