Threats to the United States from across the world are more frequent and persistent, from nation-state actors to terrorists to rogue players. As a result, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, a combat support agency that provides key imagery, intelligence and geospatial information to the Defense Department and to the intelligence community, has had to change some aspects of its tradecraft, says Susan Kalweit, director of analysis at the agency known as the NGA.
Commercial satellite companies are giving rise to a new space revolution, launching hundreds of small satellites into orbit to do what the U.S. military cannot or at least will not do: photograph practically every inch of the Earth every day. The result is an explosion of geo-enabled unclassified information that has turned the imagery-based discipline of geointelligence on its head.
This change could even produce a new breed of intelligence analyst that exploits imagery and geospatial data from the unprecedented fount of unclassified information.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) now delivers unclassified geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) to verified government users via an application for tablets and mobile devices. Tearline, available though the Apple App Store and Google Play, is open to the intelligence community, U.S. Defense Department, allies, and academic and private sector partners sponsored into the system.
NGA’s GEOINT Pathfinder project developed the app. The shell is delivered from the app stores, but from that point, users need credentials to access secure servers.
Geospatial intelligence technology rapidly is advancing and in some ways leaving behind the U.S. Defense Department and intelligence community. Looking to stay on the cutting edge, the nation’s premier geospatial intelligence agency is reorganizing its research and development arm to focus more on long-term research and developing closer ties to other agencies, the private sector and academia.
Commercial data and tools are defining the future of geospatial intelligence for the agency tasked with providing it across a growing community. From new private-sector satellites to unclassified information extracted from open sources and social media, the ways of collecting, processing and disseminating geospatial intelligence are changing.
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.