New nonprofit tenant offers numerous possibilities for LSU Innovation Park

    The LARSGIS Institute, a Louisiana-based nonprofit that provides education and training on the use of Remote Sensing science and GIS technology to study the earth and its inhabitants, has joined the Louisiana Business & Technology Center at the LSU Innovation Park.

    Though the incubator specializes in for-profit companies, Executive Director Charles D’Agostino says the possibilities arising from The LARSGIS Institute—such as its training component and its ability to function as a recruitment tool—are attractive.

    “They support a lot of for-profit businesses and the other good thing they do is working with school kids and getting them involved with STEM,” D’Agostino says, referring to science, technology, engineering and math studies.

    The LARSGIS Institute engages in educational outreach to teach Louisiana school students how to use Remote Sensing science and GIS technology as part of STEM and STEAM education.

    The institute has worked with Baton Rouge’s Westdale Heights Academic Magnet, where classes used GIS technology to create an interactive, digital Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle and Migration Story Map. It’s also introduced GIS to students at Scotlandville Pre-Engineering Academy as well as other schools in Louisiana.

    As for business, D’Agostino says companies use information systems to conduct market analysis and research. For example, a new restaurant could use the technology to identify potential customers in a market it wishes to locate.

    “We are optimistic about being a part of the LBTC and their resources and dedicated to applying GIS, as a tools, in both education and business development” LARSGIS CEO Fran Harvey says in a prepared statement. “We have identified many industrial applications to our systems.”

    The incubator will help LARSGIS—which stands for Louisiana Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems—with business development.

    “We’ve worked with them over the years,” D’Agostino says. “They are entrepreneurs. We’ve worked with them on several other businesses.”

    D’Agostino also hopes LARSGIS can teach the incubator’s interns GIS skills that will make them marketable to other companies or other potential incubator tenants.

    “These students can learn through this group and quite possibly start a student-owned business, and we would work with them through our student incubator,” he says.

    The LARSGIS Institute is the fourth new tenant of the park announced this year. In January, the incubator welcomed Cognosante, Lubricity Labs and Louisiana Multifunctional Materials Group.

    —Alexandria Burris

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