NFI at GEOINT Symposium – October 5-8, 2021

The University of Illinois New Frontiers Initiative is proud to be a part of the USGIF 2021 GEOINT Symposium to connect with the broader geospatial community.

Stop by the St. Louis Academic Coalition Booth (#1739) to talk to representatives of the University of Illinois New Frontiers Initiative and ask us about the exciting discoveries and connections we are enabling.

You can learn more about our work in a tutorial on October 7th: “Conducting GEOINT Intelligence at Scale” presented by Dr. William Kramer, Dr. Greg Bauer and Dr. Aaron Saxton. Slides from the tutorial are available.


The New Frontiers Initiative (NFI) works with the intelligence community and other security and safety-focused government, educational, and business partners, to pursue projects and agency relationships to expand Illinois’ activities and contributions to national security and safety. The NFI project started in late 2019 and the Initiative was formalized in Spring 2021. NFI is an outgrowth and expansion of the university’s very successful, decade-long Blue Waters Project at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), and leverages campus strengths in computation, simulation, data science, engineering/science/agriculture, cyber protection, and other areas.

GEOINT Research at Illinois

The University of Illinois hosts a wide range of research related to GEOINT. Below is a list of just some of the projects and efforts underway at the University of Illinois.

CyberInfrastruture and Geospatial Information Laboratory

Geospatial Software Institute

School of Earth, Society & Environment

Data Fusion

Scientific Software Infrastructure


NFI Research Projects

Examples of projects the New Frontiers Initiative supports and leads impacting science, research, and society include:

A collaboration between the University of Illinois, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the University of Minnesota and The Ohio State University to produce very high resolution digital elevation models (DEM) of the entire Earth.

A project combining previously obtained terrain elevation maps (such as from the EarthDEM project) with limited concurrent remote sensing observations such as zero-depth points to generate detailed and real-time flood inundation maps.

Counting Trees with AI
Scientists used deep learning on the Blue Waters supercomputer at NCSA to map trees and bushes in the drylands of West Africa and the southern Sahara desert with the ultimate goal of calculating how much carbon they store.

Earth Gravity Model
Blue Waters is used in this project with the main objective of investigating the convergence of assimilation with different ensemble sizes and simulation resolutions for given physical parameters.

Contact Us

If you missed us at the symposium, but want to learn more about what we do or what we can do with you, please contact us.