October 14, 2009 -- Oxford, MS – The Enterprise for Innovative Geospatial Solutions (EIGS) housed at The University of Mississippi is pleased to release the economic impact data for Mississippi’s geospatial technology industry cluster for 2009. As in years past, the cluster has experienced solid growth across the categories of employment, average annual salary, and revenues, including a 14 percent growth of jobs from last year.
“Mississippi is home to one of the nation’s largest and most well-organized geospatial technology clusters in the country, and I am proud that this sector continues to experience notable growth in our state,” said Gray Swoope, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority. “At a state level, we are committed to continuing to support this cluster by working to further build capacity for geospatial-related programs in our universities and by continuing to strengthen our workforce to prepare students to enter this high-tech field.”
Mississippi’s geospatial companies continue to create high paying, high technology jobs that are positively impacting the state’s economy. During the past year, 847 people were employed by EIGS member companies, sustaining a pattern of growth of at least 5 percent annually over the last five years. Total payroll for the cluster is almost $34 million generating $1.7 million in state income tax.
“Despite the economic downturn, the geospatial technology industry sector continues to be strong in the State of Mississippi,” said Dr. Greg Easson, EIGS Executive Director. “We are seeing a greater demand for geospatial products and tools as businesses are looking for ways to be more efficient and cost-effective.”
Revenues for the cluster grew by over $20 million from last year to $125.5 million. Keeping competitive with salaries at the national level, Mississippi’s average annual geospatial salary now stands at $57,885. The data also show that this industry sector continues to be a solid investment for the state of Mississippi including almost $73 million invested in local business operations by the private industry members.
Key to the sustained growth of this industry cluster is the strong support at the state government level and a business climate that fosters technology innovation and entrepreneurship. Additional factors include the commitment of private industry to doing business from a Mississippi zip code and the multitude of statewide programs that support geospatial research and workforce development efforts. Also the presence of Stennis Space Center, a multidisciplinary facility made up of NASA and 30 other resident agencies engaged in space and environmental programs, has been a driving force of the industry cluster since its inception in 1998.
“These figures demonstrate the positive impact the geospatial industry has on the economic health and prosperity of Mississippi and the region,” Easson said. “EIGS looks forward to capitalizing on this growth and continuing to provide new and innovative ways to grow the geospatial businesses in Mississippi into a world-class industry group.”
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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About EIGS: Since 1998, the State of Mississippi has nurtured the growth of a cluster of high tech companies in the geospatial technology industry. EIGS at The University of Mississippi is the program that coordinates the activities of this cluster. EIGS works with private companies as well as university research programs, state agencies, and other related organizations to support geospatial technology business, research development, and workforce development. EIGS provides specific business services to existing companies, recruits complementary businesses and talent to the state, facilitates research opportunities, and supports activities to ensure that an educated, well-trained workforce is available to address the growing development needs of this industry.