Randy Dymond, founding director of the Center for Geospatial Information Technology and Erv Blythe, Virginia Tech's vice president for information technology, have formed a partnership to create a restructured entity to advance geospatial science and research at Virginia Tech through collaborations with Virginia Tech faculty and administrators, research centers, local, state and federal agencies, and external partners.

This new entity, referred to as Virginia Tech Geospatial Information Sciences (VTGIS) is comprised of the Center for Geospatial Information Technology (CGIT), a university research center, and the Enterprise GIS - an entity under information technology's Strategic Partnerships Initiative directed by Brenda van Gelder. The restructured organization will take effect on July 1.

As part of the restructuring, the two entities will be housed together in the current CGIT location of 2060 Torgersen Hall and will function as a single unit. CGIT will focus on sponsored research projects and Enterprise GIS will focus on GIS data hosting and storage leveraging the expertise of the university’s information technology organization. GIS applications development and GIS training will also be provided as a collaborative effort of the merged entity.

Dymond has become nationally known for his work as the founding director of the CGIT. Under his successful leadership of the last six years, the interdisciplinary center has partnered with university researchers, government agencies, and the private sector to research and develop advanced uses of geospatial technologies in a variety of areas, including natural hazard mitigation, effective flood mapping, and infrastructure management. Effective July 1, Dymond will step down from his current position as the center’s Blacksburg campus director and assume a role on the new unit’s advisory council.

“I am thrilled to help facilitate this merger of CGIT and [Enterprise GIS]. The additional administrative support and capabilities enabled by bringing these two groups together raises the bar for geospatial research on campus.” Dymond said.

Peter Sforza, faculty member in the geography department and research scientist will assume the role of CGIT director for the Blacksburg campus. Sforza brings a wealth of interdisciplinary experience in the geospatial research arena. Kathleen Hancock, associate professor, Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, continues as the director for the National Capital Region office of CGIT.

“Virginia Tech benefits from a substantial new resource for GIS data applications, access, storage, and hosting,” stated Erv Blythe, Virginia Tech’s vice president for information technology, “As part of this strategic initiative, we hope to assist researchers in utilizing a range of GIS data capabilities at little or no cost for departments and administrators.”

As director of Strategic Partnership Initiatives, van Gelder will work with a governing board for the VTGIS organization that includes the vice president for the National Capital Region, the vice president for information technology, and the vice president for research, among others.

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