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geospatial intelligence

Multiple Thrusts Define Geospatial Agency Big Data Efforts

August 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

Technology innovations, new roles and expanding missions are shaping the move toward big data in the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. A mix of tradecraft and technology is ensuing as the agency evolves from an organization that always has worked with voluminous imagery files to one in which big data represents a goal that promises to change many aspects of intelligence.

David Bottom is the director of the information technology services directorate at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). He explains that, with its imagery library, the NGA has been generating and using large data files for some time. Imagery resolution, file complexity and the number of files continue to increase. Bottom allows that the agency must transition from dealing in large data files to incorporating the concept of big data. “There is a lot of information in those large data files that you could consider to be big data,” he offers. “So how do we actually transition the agency—not just to being a large data file provider, but to that big data environment where there is a lot going on in those image files?”

Big data is not fundamentally changing the NGA’s mission, Bottom states. The capability does allow the agency to function as a foundation for integrated intelligence. It also provides increased capabilities in terms of being able to deliver a better product more quickly. “If those data points—and their relationships—are portrayed in time and space in a way that enables the user to quickly make sense of something, that is the power,” he declares.

Inertial Navigation System Global Market Predicted to Hit $4.63 Billion

July 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The inertial navigation system (INS) market size is estimated to be $2.75 billion in 2014 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.98 percent to reach $4.63 billion by 2019, according to Research and Markets, a Dublin-based market analysis firm.

Commercial Geospatial Processing Goes Underwater

July 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Navy submarine force is moving to use a commercial geospatial information product to provide an integrated data picture to its crew members. The undersea fleet is striving to implement Google Earth as a common geospatial foundation across all systems aboard its submarines.

Intelligence Generates a Cyber Picture

June 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The borderless world of cybersecurity now is benefitting from geospatial intelligence products. The U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has joined the fight against cybermarauders by providing imagery to help cyberwarriors track down online adversaries. Experts defending the United States from cyber attack abroad have a new tool in their kit by being able to see the facility from which digital malefactors are plying their wares.

Defining 
Spatial 
Privacy

September 1, 2013
By Rita Boland

 

The exponential expansion of geolocation technology throughout all levels of society is presenting a range of challenges for policy makers eager to take advantage of the benefits while protecting personal privacy. Unfortunately, much of the discussion surrounding the challenges is fragmented or lacking in authority.

The Centre for Spatial Law and Policy aims to change all that by representing legal considerations within the geospatial community. Kevin Pomfret, executive director of the center, served as a satellite imagery analyst for the government for six years before attending law school. During his studies, he remained interested in remote sensing and representing clients in that area. The field is fraught with potential because of the many issues surrounding geolocation especially. People increasingly are using the technology for a variety of applications, meaning legal and policy concerns will grow in number over concerns such as privacy, data ownership, data quality and national security. “I started to attend trade shows and saw there weren’t any lawyers there, which was unusual,” Pomfret explains.

When he realized the community was underserved from a legal standpoint, he set out to educate its members on concerns that do and will impact them legally. The center he established also aims to give stakeholders a seat at the table as laws and policies are developed as well as to educate policy makers.

Policy making often involves weighing risk against benefit. Unfortunately, many of the people in a position to make decisions lack the background to fully understand the value of spatial data. By connecting them to the experts in related industries, awareness of the important facets grow.

Nations Strive for 
Interoperability

May 1, 2013
By Max Cacas

A military exercise designed to refine and improve the way coalition partners share vital information will, for the first time, include the network that is supporting troops in Afghanistan. Scheduled to take place in Poland next month, the event will feature military command and control communications experts from NATO, partner organizations and nations who share the goal of rigorously testing communications interoperability among coalition members. But one of the largest of those partners, the United States, is not taking a leading role in one of the newest, and most challenging areas, cybersecurity.

The Coalition Warrior Interoperability Exploration, Experimentation and Examination Exercise (CWIX) is held annually by NATO’s Military Committee and overseen by NATO’s office of Allied Command Transformation (ACT) based in Norfolk, Virginia. This year’s exercise will take place June 3 to 20, with its primary execution site at the Joint Forces Training Center in Bydgosczc, Poland.

Many Issues Cloud the Future for the Military

January 31, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

 

 

 

Writing
 a New Spy School
 Syllabus

October 1, 2012
By Max Cacas

The National Intelligence University prepares for its fifth decade with a shift in focus and a change in venue.

The National Intelligence University, which provides advanced training to U.S. intelligence professionals, is transitioning from an institution primarily focused on the U.S. Defense Department to one serving the entire intelligence community. This reflects the new emphasis toward sharing and collaboration within the nation's intelligence apparatus.

To make the change a reality, National Intelligence University (NIU) leaders are rethinking and expanding the educational programs the institution offers. Plans also are underway to relocate the university to its own new campus in the very near future—in part to bolster its perception as an intelligence community strategic resource.

Dr. David R. Ellison, president of the NIU, says that the change began with the appointment of James Clapper as the director of National Intelligence in 2010. “Director Clapper recognized that if we were going to have a National Intelligence University in the intelligence community, the best place to start was with an accredited institution that had already achieved success in an academic area,” Ellison explains. He adds that Clapper went on to draft a memorandum to then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, defining education as a force multiplier and a tool that must be used to the advantage of the entire intelligence community.

“What he envisioned was that the then-National Intelligence College would become the National Intelligence University, and it would provide accredited education, academic research and academic outreach to the intelligence community as a whole,” Ellison points out.

GD to Support Intelligence Center

June 24, 2011
By George Seffers

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Fairfax, Virginia has been awarded a more than $4 million task order to provide airborne advanced geospatial intelligence battlespace awareness support to the U.S. Air Force's National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC). General Dynamics will directly support national priorities, including overseas operations and missile defense, by providing hyper-spectral and multi-spectral imagery production and analysis, data processing and analysis, analytic support, publishing and distribution, and training. NASIC serves as the national and U.S. Defense Department executive agent for the processing, exploitation, analysis, integration and dissemination of measurement and signature intelligence data collected from radar, electro-optical and infrared technical sensors. It prepares signatures of threat targets, develops analytical tools for technical analysis and provides these techniques for the fusion of data in direct support of operational missions.

Helyx Receives United Kingdom Military Contract for Geospatial Intelligence Capability

October 18, 2010
By George Seffers

Helyx SIS Limited has been selected by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence to help define requirements for, and support delivery of the Future Deployable Geospatial Intelligence (FDG) capability. The Future Deployable Geospatial Intelligence Capability will provide an underpinning component of Network Enabled Capacity, supporting shared situational awareness and the decision support process. The aim of the project is to rationalize and upgrade the current geospatial intelligence capability to meet the projected range of military activities and intelligence requirements, including its closer integration into the wider defence intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance infrastructure. The project will provide enhanced geospatial intelligence capability to support operations in the land, air and maritime domains.

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