Geographic Information Science & Technology

Advance research, development, and applications of geographic information and analysis systems to support the nation’s energy, environment, and security programs, from local to global scales.

The Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST) Group at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been a pioneer in the development, implementation, and application of systems, science, and technology for geographic information since 1969 - well before the advent of commercial GIS.  In the DOE national laboratory system, it is the only computational research group focused on advancing the theory and applications of geospatial science and technology.   Today, the GIST group is an internationally renowned R&D organization of over thirty diverse scientific professionals who bring together a wide range of expertise ranging from GIS and remote sensing technologies to key domain sciences.  We focus on developing innovative, knowledge discovery, solutions to solve multidisciplinary and complex problems for energy, environment, and national and homeland security missions.  In addition, we actively partner with leading academic institutions to collaborate with faculty members and engage students to support the national priority of research, education, and workforce development.

Current research and development activities span across high resolution population distribution and dynamics, energy assurance including modeling and visualization of the electric grid and biomass and bioenergy resources, climate change science including climate extremes and integrated impact analysis, emergency and disaster management, critical infrastructure modeling and simulation, and earth science informatics.  Our work has been supported by the U. S. Departments of Energy; Department of Homeland Security; Department of Defense; Department of Transportation; Environmental Protection Agency; Bureau of Census; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Institute of Health; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and a number of member agencies of the Intelligence Community. 

Social Media

Gist FaceBook


Machine Vision and Applications proposes a new method to infer road networks from GPS trace data and accurately segment road regions in high resolution aerial images
Congratulations to the authors Robert Stewart, Marie Urban, Sam Duchscherer, Jason Kaufman, April Morton, Gautam Thakur, Jesse Piburn, and Jessica Moehl

A Bayesian model for integrating population domain knowledge with open source data under uncertainty
Understanding building occupancy is critical to a wide array of applications including natural hazards loss analysis, green building technologies, and population distribution modeling.

Lab's Smart Grid Visualization Research Featured in IEEE Newsletter [June, 2012]
An article titled "Virtualization of the Evolving Power Grid" and authored by Olufemi Omitaomu, Alex Sorokine and Varun Chandola in the Computational Sciences and Engineering Division has been published in the IEEE Smart Grid Newsletter.

New ORNL Tool Developed to Assess Global Freshwater Stress [March 23, 2012]
New method to make better use of vast amounts of data related to global geography, population and climate may help determine the relative importance of population increases vs. climate change.

Off the Map [March 2012]
After the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami devastated the coast along Sendai, Japan, a special team at the software company Esri quickly jumped into action.

New ORNL Technology to help KUB Customers Understand Their Bill
January 27, 2012, WATE.COM – If you think there's a problem with your utility charges or how your meter's being read, all you may be able to do is call your utility company.

Grid Visualization Efforts Helped Heal After Hurricane
September 26, 2011 – By many counts, Irene was the worst hurricane the U.S. East Coast has had to contend with since 2003. For those inland areas hit hardest by flooding, restoration will likely continue for years.

Joplin, Missouri Tornado: Do People Fail to Respond to Tornado Warnings?
Jenniffer Santos-Hernandez at Oak Ridge National Laboratory helped conduct a phone survey of more than 600 people in Oklahoma, Kansas, Minnesota, Illinois, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama.