Mississippi Geospatial Cluster Reports Sustained Growth of Jobs, Investment, and Revenue

October 06, 2008 -- Oxford, MS – The Enterprise for Innovative Geospatial Solutions (EIGS) is pleased to release the economic impact report for Mississippi’s geospatial technology industry cluster for 2007-2008. As in years past, the cluster experienced consistent growth in jobs, investment, and revenues.

EIGS is a cluster of private companies, university research programs, state agencies, and complementary partner programs working together to research, develop, and market new geospatial technology products from Mississippi.

“Geospatial technology continues to be a strong industry sector in the State of Mississippi, despite the downturn in the economy over the past year,” said Dr. Greg Easson, EIGS Executive Director. “The fact that employment, investment, and revenues increased during this turbulent time in our economy illustrates the vibrancy of the geospatial sector.”

Mississippi’s geospatial companies continue to create high paying, high technology jobs that are positively impacting the state’s economy. During the past year, 742 people were employed by EIGS member companies, a growth of 8 percent over the previous year. Total payroll for the cluster is almost $34 million resulting in $1.7 million generated in state income tax.

Revenues for the cluster grew by $25 million from last year to $102.4 million. And the average annual salary now stands at $56,200. When compared to the September 2008 Salary Survey Report posted by PayScale.com, Mississippi’s average annual salary remains competitive with the median salary for the GIS sector.

The economic data also show that this industry sector continues to produce a solid return on investment for the state of Mississippi. A total of $354 million has been invested in Mississippi’s geospatial technology cluster from 1998 through 2008 including $328 million of corporate investment of facilities, operating expenses, R&D, and payroll. During this same time frame, $26.7 million has been invested by the state of Mississippi and NASA, representing a return rate of twelve times on the investment in Mississippi’s geospatial technology sector.

“As a leader in this business cluster, Mississippi recognizes the value of geospatial technology and the opportunities this growing sector can provide,” said Gray Swoope, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, the state’s lead economic development agency and one of EIGS’ founding partners. “Technologies such as remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and global positioning systems (GPS) are already being used by Mississippi businesses in applications ranging from water management to global defense. We will continue to support this sector and the training of workers skilled in these fields.”

The sustained growth of this industry is attributable to a number of factors including: the commitment of private industry to doing business from a Mississippi zip code; strong support at the state government level; a business climate that fosters technology innovation and entrepreneurship; the multitude of statewide programs that support geospatial research and workforce development efforts; and the presence of Stennis Space Center, a multidisciplinary facility made up of NASA and 30 other resident agencies engaged in space and environmental programs.

The economic impact data are exciting and demonstrate the positive impact the geospatial industry is to the health and prosperity of Mississippi and the region. To keep in touch with developments of Mississippi’s geospatial cluster, be sure to visit www.eigs.olemiss.edu or email Email Contact to subscribe to the monthly electronic newsletter.

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