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The BCC Geospatial Center of the CUNY CREST Institute or BGCCCI is a collaborative satellite center created by a Memorandum of Understanding between the CUNY CREST Institute [City College of New York] and Bronx Community College of the City University of New York. The Center is built on a foundation of student centric scholarly activities delivered by an enterprising group of affiliated faculty and staff. Since 2010 and in association with an Industry consortium, activities at the Center have led to geospatial workforce skills and career pathways in geospatial technology. The Center achieves this by offering all year round training programs for participants and educators from schools and Universities [K-16] across the U.S. Interns and collaborators from local and global institutions conduct cutting-edge research on spatial analyses, satellite image analyses, machine and deep learning. Dr. Sunil Bhaskaran a Professor at the City University of New York spearheaded the development and growth of geospatial technology that laid the foundation for the launch of the Center. The multi-million dollar Center has evolved into a major intellectual hub in the region with the help of sustained funding and support by BCC-CUNY, an Industry consortium, the National Science Foundation [NSF], U.S. Department of Transportation [USDOT], the National Aeronautics Space Administration [NASA] and the New York State Department of Labor [NYSDOL].   

April 2022

Apply NOW for our paid research internships

We are offering research internships on satellite image analyses, machine learning, deep learning and spatial analyses with GIS data.  


​​Research Interns - Reflections

  • BGCCCI has been attracting interns from several institutions including New York University, LaGuardia (NASA Space Grant program), Stony Brook College, City College of New York, NY City Tech (NSF-REU), York College, University of Maryland. Recently, with our virtual internships

  • We have proudly hosted students from across the nation in the Loyola University Chicago, the University of California at San Diego, and internationally at the Nirma Institute of Technology in India.

  • These students participate in supervised projects that focus on developing automated algorithms for extracting target objects from satellite data, applications of geostatistical methods for classification of images, open source web mapping and programing, and many other cutting-edge research investigations. 

  • Geospatial technologies are critical to managing the earth and its limited resources. They are required for:

    • preparing environmental impact assessment (EIA) models for mining companies,

    • modeling emergency services,

    • integrating social behavior,

    • mapping demographic characteristics and

    • planning and redeveloping urban landscapes and a whole range of applications that have a spatial component.


Creating Workforce Skills & Career Pathways in Geospatial Technologies

Our aim is to inspire introduce and train participants from K-16,

educators, professionals and collaborators in Geospatial Technologies.

We achieve this goal by working with an Industry consortium

consisting of global leaders in geospatial technology.  

Introducing and Training Participants from Middle Schools in Geospatial Analytics 

We have trained over 100 students from middle schools from resource poor institutions in New York City. They completed hands on computer-based tasks over a period of ten-twelve days during regular semesters and sixteen days during the summer. The workshops provided them with opportunities to learn concepts and acquire hands-on skills using industry standard software and perform analyses using wide array of geospatial datasets.    


Tutorials for the Center

Request access to 13 tutorials by emailing


ATE-Connects Conference Handouts


Research Areas of the Center

Image Analysis
Multi-resolution remotely sensed data acquired from Spaceborne and Airborne consist spatial and temporal information that is critical for many applications. 

Spatial Analyses

Spatial analytics can assist in decision making process for a wide range of industry and applications. We develop real-world solutions for better management of human and natural resources using accurate and curated geographic data.  

Machine/Deep Learning

We use Amazon Sage Maker frame work for extracting spatial features from time-series of satellite data and deploy end user solutions by using EC2 instances.  

Geospatial Technology for Education

As the Geospatial Industry grows exponentially the need for skilled technicians is critical for different projects. We train participants from K-16, educators and conduct cutting-edge research with Interns across the U.S. Inquiry-based hands-on learning materials are created by using industry standard software and remotely sensed and GIS databases. 

Meeting the COVID-19 Challenge with AWS

AWS Virtual Process Cloud [VPC] 

We assembled available AWS services and built a cloud-based system to deliver NSF-NASA activities. We build vendor-based software on Appstreaming applications [IMAGE BUILDER] and optimized them. We provided access to the console by using a Remote Desktop Protocol [RDP] and stored BIG geospatial data in Simple Storage Services [S3] buckets. We worked with a team of 5-6 solutions architects and support staff at AWS over 3 months to put together a robust system.  


New Curricula, Programs & Learning Materials - Foster Spatial Thinking & Cognition


We designed and created two new CUNY Pathway courses*Geospatial Course enrollments at BCC since Fall 2015-Spring 2019 [after withdrawals] --> 269 [Source:Office of Institutional Research, BCC]

Cutting Edge Research & Publications with Students

The student centric approach of the Center enabled us to recruit and mentor students on several industry relevant research projects. Some of the research led to joint publications with students as co-authors. Engaging students in the full cycle of research is critical to empower them and give them an opportunity to acquire workforce skills. 


BGCCCI - A Collaborative Center

Inaugural Geographic Information System Summit - CUNY Law School. Organized with the Office of Research [Associate Vice-Chancellor - Dr. Mark Hauber]


Broadening Participation in Geospatial Technology

Empowering women in technology is a major goal under both NASA & NSF projects.

BGCCCI - A Self Sustaining Center

Building a Center from the scratch requires vision and sustained funding. Affiliated faculty have a high success ratio in grant funding from United States Department of Transportation [USDOT], National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics Space Administration [NASA], Industry consortium, and New York State - CUNY Workforce Development Initiative [WDI].     

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BGCCCI Media & Newsletters

Principal & Co-PIs of NSF-ATE & NASA-MISTC Projects


Director & Principal Investigator and Co-PIs


Dr. Sunil Bhaskaran
Professor and Founding Director
BCC Geospatial Center - CUNY CREST Institute
PI - U.S. NSF-ATE (2016-2023)
       NASA-MISTC (2018-2022)

Dr. Sunil is the Principal Investigator of the NSF-ATE 'Pathways to Geospatial Technology and Careers' project and the NASA-MISTC 'Fostering STEM education' project [2017-2021]. The NSF-ATE project is a collaboration between BCC-CUNY & York College-CUNY and the NASA-MISTC is between BCC-CUNY and Medgar Evers College-CUNY. The projects assist the nation in developing the next generation of skilled Geospatial Technicians and fosters spatial thinking.   


Since 2010, Dr. Sunil spearheaded the development and growth of geospatial technology at BCC-CUNY that eventually precipitated to the formation and  launch of the Center. Dr. Sunil Bhaskaran provides strategic direction to the Center and in collaboration with an industry consortium drives all activities of the Center including the National Science Foundation [NSF], National Aeronautics & Space Administration [NASA-MISTC] collaborative projects. He works with the BCC-CUNY Office of Academic Affairs, the Research Foundation of the City University of New York [RF-CUNY], Bronx Community College's Grants Office, NSF and NASA directorates, an Industry consortium and other stakeholders in the New York City region to deliver programmatic goals of the Center and sponsored projects. Dr. Sunil chairs the Center's advisory board which consists of representatives from leading geospatial corporations. Dr. Sunil collaborated with the CUNY Office of Research [Associate Vice Chancellor] on key projects and served as a committee member on CUNY's Inaugural Research Advisory Board Council.


Prior to serving CUNY, Dr. Sunil was a Lecturer at the School of Geomatic Engineering, University of New South Wales and at the Faculty of Engineering and Surveying, University of Southern Queensland. He was a key member of the Cooperative Research Center-Spatial Information [CRC-SI] MODIS thematic mapping project at Geoscience Australia. He served on the National and Regional committees of the Spatial Sciences Institute [SSI] that is largely responsible for shaping the geospatial landscape in Australia. He collaborated with the Corporate Strategy Division of the New South Wales Fire Brigades that helped the agency in using geospatial technology for emergency management. Dr. Sunil has a PhD from the School of Geomatic Engineering, University of New South Wales under Professor Bruce Forster. He serves as a Full Professor and is a member of tenured faculty affiliated at Bronx Community College and the Graduate Center as a Doctoral faculty [Earth and Environmental Sciences] department. He was felicitated on several occasions by the Chairperson of CUNY Board of Trustees, Vice Chancellor and Provost for outstanding contributions to research and service.  


NASA-MISTC Partnerships - Dr. Shin Jin

BGCCCI has partnered with Dr. Shin Jin at Medgar Evers College to provide additional geospatial programs at that location. 


NSF-ATE Partnerships - Dr. Ratan Dhar

In addition to the Medgar Evers partnership, BGCCCI has partnered with Dr. Ratan Dhar at York College to provide enriching geospatial programs and workshops. Throughout the past year, participants from York College produced 5 publications, and in their workshops, both undergraduate and high school students have received laboratory and field training on benchtop environmental monitoring instruments and field kits. The internship was conducted both in person and remotely. Students met two days in a week on zoom platform to update their progress in literature review and real time data generation. 


Supporting National Initiatives to Create Workforce Skills
The BCC Geospatial Center of the CUNY CREST Initiative Features in the United States National Science Foundations-Advanced Technological Education ATE IMPACTS reports [page 80] 




Hannah Kennedy
Administrative Assistant
& BGCCCI Coordinator


Arvindh Sharma
Research Associate



Andrella Collins
Administrative Assistant
& BGCCCI Coordinator

Zahira Munawar
Administrative Assistant & BGCCCI Coordinator

Meloryn Quezada
Administrative Assistant & BGCCCI Coordinator

Jackie Wilder
Administrative Assistant & BGCCCI Coordinator

Ariana Boston-Hill
Administrative Assistant & BGCCCI Coordinator

Asami Minei
Research Associate


Carther Eckhardt
Research Associate

Haotian Fang
Research Associate

Ushana Persuad
Administrative Assistant & BGCCCI Coordinator

Hemwattie Rampersuad
Administrative Assistant & BGCCCI Coordinator

Leroy Brown
Administrative Assistant & BGCCCI Coordinator


Unsolicited Commendations

Dear Prof. Bhaskaran,


Good evening. My name is Shaheda Bari.


I hope you still remember me. I was a student in your GIS 11 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems class at Bronx Community College. You recognized my potential, at a time when few other professors believed in me. I still remember the day you brought a few photographers into the GIS lab. As I was working with the lab assistant, the photographers took pictures of many students. I remember the day you came to me and announced that my picture was selected to be featured on BCC banners and flyers. The next weekend, I came into the GIS office and found hundreds of flyers with my face! In fact, I even saw your tweet about GIS with my poster! It was a profoundly gratifying experience, and I have you to thank for that.



Thank you for being a part of my journey and supporting me so much during those formative years. Since then, I’ve gone on to complete my Associates in Business Administration and recently graduated with a BS in Accounting from Lehman College, all the while raising two sons, one of which is a child prodigy and the other who scored 1580 on the SAT and is an AI Researcher. I wanted to let you know that your teaching and mentorship left an impact on me. In fact, I was recently nominated for a NYC DOE Substitute Teaching Position. I would like to inspire and support students much the same way you inspired and supported me when I was pursuing my Associates degree.

Greetings, Dr. Sunil.


I hope you are doing well and end enjoying spring.


I am not sure if you remember me, my name is Pedro Vieira Costa and I was one of the interns at the Summer Workforce 2020. And I will always be grateful for your guidance. I have learned a lot from you. The SWIP program was a wonderful opportunity.


I am studying at Baruch College now and just got a job offer at Apple Inc. I listed my participation at the BCC Geospatial Center/CUNY Crest Institute in my resume.


-Pedro Vieira Costa, former research intern

BGCCCI - Geospatial Data Repository

The Center has a rich archive of multi-resolution satellite imagery that provides students, faculty, interns and collaborators opportunities to conduct cutting-edge research.


Center - Impact & Footprints


Live Global COVID-19 Cases


Live Global COVID-19 Deaths


COVID-19 Deaths vs. Poverty & Human Development Index


COVID-19 Deaths vs. Health Indicators


COVID-19 Deaths vs. Demographic Indicators

Industry ehanced reearch

Recently Completed NSF/NASA Projects/Internships



Industry Advisory Board

The center is guided by an advisory board that mainly consists of representatives from leading geospatial companies. In collaboration with the Industry we have already created successful pathways for skilled technicians through informal training sessions, paid opportunities, summer workforce internships and professional development programs for educators. These activities have not only provided exposure to students and faculty alike but have given them valuable workforce skills and networking opportunities. 

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Notable Alumni

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Selected SWIP Research Projects



Nikkhil Dev Murthy

Graduation Rates in the US and a GIS model to plan for improvements

Sumedha Sirikonda

Spatial and Temporal Image Analyses of satellite imagery – Educational Materials using SageMaker for Spatial Analysis

Shan Jiang

Mapping Global Land Cover Patterns with Moderate Resolution Multispectral Satellite Datasets

Yu Jie Chen

Spatial and Temporal Image Analyses of satellite imagery – Educational Materials for promoting geospatial technology at universities

Devrina Chidambaram

Spatial and Temporal Image Analyses of Satellite Imagery – Visualizing Changes Over Time for Cities Experiencing Fast Growth

Mayuri Ranganathan

Spatial and Temporal Image Analyses of satellite imagery – Educational Materials for promoting geospatial technology at universities

Sanjana Sunder

Create accurate data repository of 12 American cities with variables and spatial units.

Laticia Long

Spatial and Temporal Image Analyses of satellite imagery – Educational Materials for promoting geospatial technology at universities

**For the 2021 and 2020 cohorts, all of the remote internships were conducted remotely. 

NSF Intern Demographics

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BGCCCI Newsletter - 2022


International Collaborations



Our forthcoming article -- Multi-resolution Spatio-Temporal Satellite Based Analyses for Vulnerability Assessment from Flash Floods in six global cities.

Assessments of climate change events at any scale demands a synchronized and measured approach for building resilience and adaptive capacity. Given the nature of events, and its multifaceted dimensions that go beyond the physical components, pulling off assessments at city scale can be a nightmare anywhere.

We demonstrate an approach where satellite based analyses may assist in rapid vulnerability assessments We extracted critical metrics from satellite based imagery by employing per-pixel and texture based analyses on time-series of multispectral optical satellite data + Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data to determine the impact of flash floods. We modelled the socio-economic component by integrating the derived data with global demographic (GPWv4) data. By using a factor analyses and weighted indexing method the vulnerability from flash floods was calculated for six major global cities with contrasting economies. The methodology is built on a data driven and computational approach that uses a combination of methods including cloud based machine learning (XBoost gradient), python, and statistical techniques. The results were validated by using reliable surrogate data. Results show a near-real time model for assessing vulnerability and calculating community vulnerability indices (CVIs) on the fly at city scales for climate change events. The rapid assessment technique has significant implications for assessing the impact of climate change events on human systems in the Global South.

Current Research