Photo courtesy of Flickr/Christian Rondeau.

By Nicholas J.C. Pistor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the mapping agency expanding its western headquarters in St. Louis, announced on Monday that it will create an "outpost" in Silicon Valley.

"We plan to advance our profession by going to the geographic heart of American innovation: Silicon Valley," NGA Director Robert Cardillo said at the GEOINT Symposium in Orlando, Fla. "This summer, we’ll create a presence there, what we call NGA Outpost Valley. This ... will leverage the organic capabilities and energy of the Valley’s open, vibrant, geospatial community."

Cardillo added: "It’s a beachhead that will have the authority to reach out to all innovation centers."

Cardillo said the outpost will bolster the agency's efforts in St. Louis, where the agency is looking to partner with the Cortex innovation district in the Central West End.

"We’re jumping in with both feet into the Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis — a growing new hub of tech development," Cardillo said. "We’ll go wherever necessary to create the service the world demands, and our customers deserve."

Cortex was a contributing factor to the agency staying in St. Louis city.

The agency announced earlier this year it will build a new $1.75 billion western headquarters just north of downtown. The plans are expected to be finalized next month.

The agency has been improving its relationship with the technology industry in recent years and has prioritized efforts to attract more tech workers.

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