geospatial intelligence

July 12, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
A Minotaur 1 rocket blasts off from Wallops Island carrying the National Reconnaissance Office NROL-111 payload into orbit. The new CONOPS from the National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG) calls for an integrated geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) operating environment featuring GEOINT superiority from space. Credit: NRO

An integrated geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) operating environment supporting the warfighter, first responder and policy maker continuously by 2035 is the goal of the CONOPS recently released by the National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG). Achieving this goal will require advances in technology, standards setting, automation and interoperability across government and commercial systems.

July 2, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has selected 10 innovative projects to help the agency measure the Earth’s magnetic field as part of its MagQuest competition. Credit: Shutterstock/Andrey VP

Magnetometer locations ranging from on the bottom of the sea to orbiting in space constitute the first round winners of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's (NGA's) MagQuest open innovation challenge. Designed to generate novel ways of measuring Earth’s magnetic field, MagQuest is offering prizes totaling $1.2 million for novel geomagnetic data collection methodologies.

January 23, 2019

Quantum Spatial Inc., Petersburg, Florida (FA4452-19-D-A001); Geographic Information Services Inc., Birmingham, Alabama (FA4452-19-D-A002); Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, Virginia (FA4452-19-D-A003); Woolpert Inc., Dayton, Ohio (FA4452-19-D-A004); and KFS LLC, Huntsville, Alabama (FA4452-19-D-A005), have been awarded multiyear indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts with a combined cumulative face value of $46,564,206. The contracts will provide geospatial tasks and support functions for improved shared situational awareness and decision making across the various echelons of military hierarchy including individual level, installation level, and management headquarters level.

June 1, 2018

Pivotal Software Inc., San Francisco, California, has been awarded a $47,537,079 fixed-base, production, other transaction agreement. This agreement will utilize the prototyped methodology, and the software and services that support them, across the entire Air Operations Center, as well as the targeting and geospatial-intelligence enterprises.

November 1, 2017
By Cmdr. Bryan Leese, USN, and Brooke Wright
The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (l), the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun (c) and the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea transit the Strait of Gibraltar. The George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group helped prove the afloat geospatial intelligence concept through the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s ship rider program.

The U.S. Navy has outsourced geospatial intelligence at sea, delaying its investment in a solution to this core intelligence competency for the afloat commander. The service needs to train its analysts to produce geospatial intelligence and acquire software and hardware for them. A cost-effective systems solution exists, but the lack of commitment to geospatial intelligence holds the Navy back.

August 18, 2017

Blacksky Geospatial Solutions Inc., Herndon, Virginia, has been awarded a $16,430,993 cost-plus-fixed-fee completion contract for software, technical reports and a demonstration model. This contract is to design, develop and evaluate a geospatial intelligence broker development platform feasibility demonstration model that contains components, modules or services of this model in a cloud environment. Work will be performed in Herndon, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by August 16, 2019. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and two offers were received. Air Force Research Laboratory, Rome, New York, is the contracting activity (FA8750-17-C-0128). 

May 2, 2017

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.

September 1, 2016
By George I. Seffers
The NGA finds itself being out-innovated by industry and academia. For inspiration, the agency’s new research director looks to a 1700s clockmaker who changed the world.

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.

April 22, 2016

Leidos Inc., Reston, Virginia, was awarded a $7,129,983 modification (P00010) to contract W911QX-13-C-0163 for 3D geospatial information. Work will be performed in the Philippines, with an estimated completion date of September 5, 2016. Fiscal 2016 operations and maintenance (Army) funds in the amount of $7,129,983 were obligated at the time of the award. The Army Contracting Command, Adelphi, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

April 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
The Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Vicksburg, foreground, escorts the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt as they pass the Rock of Gibraltar in the Strait of Gibraltar last March. The Theodore Roosevelt deployed from Norfolk, Virginia, to then make a homeport shift to San Diego at the end of its deployment.

While operating at sea, even the most technologically advanced U.S. Navy vessels sometimes fail to deliver on-demand geospatial intelligence services that anyone with a smartphone on land readily can access. To help bridge intelligence gaps, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has teamed with the service to augment geospatial capabilities at sea.

Keeping the Navy from drifting into a sea of woes is not helped by the continuing fiscal constraints that hamper Defense Department modernization, even as the economy rebounds from a defeating recession.

April 1, 2016
By George I. Seffers
Coping with reams of geospatial data can be a major burden for scientists, delaying research for months. A National Science Foundation project is developing the technology to remove that burden. The system so far has been used largely to analyze data concerning water flow and agriculture, but researchers say it offers potential for military, intelligence and homeland security data as well.

Researchers are preparing to release technology designed to overcome the challenges of coping with large amounts of geospatial data. The Web-based system makes it easier to layer blocks of information, allowing a wide variety of users to quickly understand and share complex data sets.

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Geospatial Building Blocks (GABBs) project is creating a system for hosting, processing, analyzing and sharing geospatial information. The system is built on HUBzero, an open source platform developed at Purdue University that lets individuals build feature-rich websites to advance research and education.

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. Though North America and Europe have the largest market for INS in terms of commercial and defense aviation, military and naval applications, a lot of INS development programs have been launched in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.

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.

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.

September 7, 2010
By George Seffers

BAE Systems National Security Solutions Incorporated, San Diego, California, was awarded an $11 million contract for Global Geospatial Intelligence data products in support of National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the contracting activity.

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.

July 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman
U.S. Navy personnel use an experimental mockup of a submarine situational awareness system based on Google Earth. Navy officials aim to begin deploying the geospatial information system on Virginia-class submarines next year.

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.

The new geospatial display system will allow sailors onboard submarines to view water depth, sonar contacts, distance from land, operational areas and forward-course tracks. Not only would all this information be displayed visually, but the same operational picture also would be visible to anyone at a console throughout the boat.

June 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman
A Pleiades satellite image clearly shows buildings, including Olympic venues, in Sochi, Russia. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is employing its own intelligence products to help personnel from other intelligence organizations locate and identify structures worldwide that might be the source of hostile cyber activity.

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.

The agency long has provided a variety of value-added geospatial products to customers throughout the defense and intelligence communities. In turning its eyes toward cyber, it combines data from partners to produce a unique product that over time may alter the agency’s mission.

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.

May 1, 2013
By Max Cacas
NATO coalition participants in CWIX 2012 man the Land Component Room at the Joint Forces Training Center in Bydgosczc, Poland. The facility will again host CWIX 2013 next month. (NATO Photo)

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.

January 31, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman
John Smart, president of the Acceleration Studies Foundation, tells the keynote luncheon audience that dramatic change is evolutionary and inevitable.

West 2013 Online Show Daily, Day 2

Quote of the Day: “How can you help me make the least-dumb decisions quicker?”—Terry Halvorsen, chief information officer (CIO) for the Department of the Navy, requesting cyber security solutions from industry

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.