Trajectory Magazine We are the official publication of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) – the nonprofit, educational organization supporting the geospatial intelligence tradecraft Tue, 17 Oct 2017 13:32:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Trajectory Magazine 32 32 127732085 A Homegrown Leader Tue, 17 Oct 2017 13:32:31 +0000 Web exclusive Q&A with Justin Poole, the new deputy director of NGA

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Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your roles and responsibilities as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) new deputy director.

My background is in geography and cartography. I graduated from the University of Maryland and started at the Defense Mapping Agency (a predecessor to NGA) as a young cartographer in ’91. I worked my way through the ranks in the geospatial analysis world, and became interested in improving the systems we work on day-to-day. I got into the requirements and development world from an operational perspective, and ended up becoming NGA’s chief architect so we could design and architect our systems to better support the mission.

I got a little hungry for getting back to hands-on missions, so I went back to analysis for a time. Then I went over to the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) to be the mission manager for counterterrorism for two years on joint duty assignment. I came back to NGA for a bit then left on other joint duty assignment to the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to support the building of new satellite capabilities as associate deputy director of IMINT.

I was asked to come back to NGA to stand up and run the Xperience directorate. I did that for several years, working on GEOINT Services and the customer experience. I was then selected to be the director of source, responsible for content and safety of navigation. Then, in August of this year, I was selected as the seventh deputy director of NGA.

My responsibilities are simple: I run the agency. NGA Director Robert Cardillo sets the strategy, leads from above, sets goals and priorities, and it’s my responsibility to execute them and run the organization.

Q: How do you plan to build upon agency initiatives to develop innovative industry partnerships?

Throughout my career, no matter what I was working on, I have always realized the value in strong industry partnerships. The challenges and the goals Director Cardillo has laid out for us require us to take a harder look at the way we approach acquiring capabilities from our industry partners and academia.

One of the ways I’m going to help NGA build better relationships with our industry partners is to revamp our acquisition processes. I know that sounds like the same thing every new deputy director says, but I have watched us get to a point where we’re a little too focused on building systems around workflows, which leads to large, waterfall developments. We need to be focused on tools and applications that center around the data and are a lot more agile. I’m going to revamp the acquisition process around being able to take advantage of different contracting mechanisms, nontraditional industry partnerships, what’s available in the open, and to not necessarily require partners automatically have SCIFs and clearances. We will build and develop on the low side and move high as necessary.

I’m also in the process of redefining the role of the component acquisition executive within NGA. That work is underway.

Q: In addition to acquisition reform, Director Cardillo has many ambitious goals for the agency. What are your plans for executing his goals?

If you really dig into the Director’s vision and goals, while they have matured as the times and technology have evolved over his three-year tenure, they have remained steadfast: to deliver relevancy to our customers, to keep us left of launch, to embrace automation and new tradecraft, and to work together to improve our culture.

We have struggled internally to understand how to manage and communicate that change not only to our workforce but also to our industry partners and among our senior cadre. The first thing I’ve done is work to implement a new organizational structure and governance process that for the first time, in my opinion, has very clear lines of responsibility, accountability, and almost by definition requires transparency and communication among senior executives charged with running those governance processes. Far too often organizations sidestep governance when it gets too hard. We’re not going to let that happen this time because part of running the business is for me to make sure the governance process is used.

The Director has asked me to accelerate the delivery of capabilities to the desktop, and in order to do so effectively and efficiently we can’t be mired down in process.

Q: Under this new organizational structure, NGA has reorganized its directorates and changed the title of chief of staff to executive director. What do these changes represent?

I’ve found throughout my career that you don’t really reorganize, you tweak to correct areas that might need some attention.

There are two major changes under this reorganization. One, we had our chief of staff loaded down with not only the enormous responsibility of a chief of staff for an agency of this size, but also with oversight of several large key components or directorates—security and installation and human development. We wanted that position to focus on the integration and synchronization of activities across the organization.

So, Ed Mornston, formerly our chief of staff, is now executive director of the agency. We studied other examples of an executive director in the community and found it to be what we were looking for. In doing so, we took the large directorates that were previously aligned to the chief of staff and created an associate director for support and aligned those directorates under that person.

We also took our international affairs organization and moved it out from under the director for operations (now called the associate director for operations) to fall under the associate director for enterprise, which aligns with our National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG)/Allied System for Geospatial Intelligence (ASG) organization called the Geospatial Enterprise. This gives our external reach one place to be focused on—NSG, ASG, and all of our international partners.

One other slight change is we re-established the west executive. This is important. Previously, the most senior person in St. Louis was the deputy chief of staff and they did deputy chief of staff work but just happened to sit in St. Louis. We had used a west executive in previous administrations and decided to bring it back. That person will be the most senior person in St. Louis and will report to the Director and myself and be our representative in the west.

Q: How did your joint duty assignments at NCTC and NRO influence your perspective on GEOINT?

I have become a card-carrying fan of the joint duty program. I can’t say enough about how excellent of an experience it is for any officer at any level within the organization. Before I had done one I felt like I didn’t need it. I felt like I knew what I needed to know. But until you immerse yourself in another organization that is part of the same community, you don’t really see the differences and the benefits.

The benefits are enormous. You get to see not only a new mission, but also you get to see your mission back at the ranch from someone else’s perspective. And you gain an expanded network of colleagues that is invaluable in the Intelligence Community (IC) where you are required to have a strong network to get anything done. The alliances, friendships, and partnerships I’ve built in my two joint duty assignments are invaluable and I still reach out to many of those people today.

You also gain an appreciation for the subtly different challenges that other organizations feel, and also get a sense of relief when you see another organization maybe having the same challenges you’re having—you don’t feel like it’s just you.

Q: What are some of the obstacles the community faces that keep you up at night?

Not only from my perch at NGA as deputy director, but as a member of the IC, what keeps me up at night is fear of failure. I’m not talking about me personally; I’m talking about the community that I grew up in and love failing in a critical way. I always want my customer to go into a fair fight and it’s my job to make sure they have that advantage.

That fear is a healthy thing to have. If I slept well at night then I’m probably not doing my job properly. A good friend and colleague once used that line with me and it resonated and holds true.

Q: As a member of the GEOINT Community for more than 25 years, what do you envision for the future of the community and tradecraft?

I would say two things, and both are very doable and we are well on our way. The first is maintaining our edge. For the longest time, the community held a monopoly on sources and now we have a world rich with new, compelling, exciting sources—whether it’s commercial satellites, new types of data, or analytic services. We’ve got to maintain our edge and take the best advantage of that available source and information to allow us to stay relevant.

The second thing is so much of our ability to handle that revolves around technology. It’s great to have tons of data, but if you don’t have the technology to make sense of it, organize it, conduct automation against it, and to drive to answers rather than eyeballs on imagery, you’re not going to be effective. Traditionally, the IC and Department of Defense have done systems or technology acquisition in a specific and often laborious way. We don’t have time for that anymore. We need to mature those processes.

Q: What are you looking for from industry and academia?

To be frank, what I need from them right now is patience. And I say that as a person who knows that in the last six to eight months my community has been less than deliberate in our preparation for requirement that have gone out to industry. In other words, we’ve put out RFPs or RFIs and then pulled them back or we’ve extended contracts. I ask them for patience, but also to help me as I mature the acquisition process to understand what I can do to help make their lives easier. I will be spending a great deal of time with industry to discuss these matters with them. I know the GEOINT Community around industry loves the mission, is patriotic, and they put up with us and are great partners. We’re going to do better together.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share?

I grew up in this agency. I did my time away, but this agency is my home and I feel honored and privileged to have been selected as the deputy director and I’m even more excited because I feel like I was a homegrown choice. I’m going to work doubly hard to ensure we are successful—and success is more than this agency. Success is achieved along with our industry, academic, and international partners. I feel good and I’m more excited than I’ve ever been about a job as I step into this position.

Photo Credit: NGA

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Weekly GEOINT Community News Mon, 16 Oct 2017 17:11:52 +0000 NGA Awards Leidos IT Management Contract; DXC Reaches Three-Way Deal with Vencore and Keypoint; Northern California Wildfire Relief; Vricon Awarded USSOCOM Contract; Engility Wins DoD Security Contract; & More

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NGA Awards Leidos IT Management Contract

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) awarded Leidos a prime contract under the Information Technology Enterprise Management (ITEMS) User Facing Services (UFS) program. The contract is a five-year IDIQ agreement for a single payment of up to $988 million. Leidos will take command of NGA’s IT management and will transition UFS away from current NGA contracts.

DXC Reaches Three-Way Deal with Vencore and Keypoint

To accommodate a three-way deal with Veritas Capital’s Vencore and Keypoint Government Services, DXC Technology is spinning out its U.S. public sector offering. The three businesses will combine to create a new publically traded government contracting company. The merger is expected to close by March 31, 2018. The resulting company will focus on cyber, big data analytics, cloud computing, and enterprise IT.

Northern California Wildfire Relief

The GEOINT Community is using data to help fight the devastating wildfires in Northern California. DigitalGlobe released high-resolution imagery of affected areas in Santa Rosa, as well as a more extensive collection of before-and-after imagery available to emergency responders on the Santa Rosa wildfires page.

Esri released an interactive ArcGIS map visualizing active fire locations, traffic alerts, and other near-real-time data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, USGS, and Waze. The map provides an accurate, up-to-date picture of the situation on the ground in California.

Vricon Awarded USSOCOM Contract

U.S. Special Operations Command awarded Vricon Systems a $1,271,765 sole source contract for commercial data and software testing. Under the contract, Vricon will work to increase the resolution and accuracy of SOCOM’s 3D geospatial data and will automate workflows to reduce time-consuming manual work.

Engility Wins DoD Security Contract 

Engility announced it will partner with the DoD to protect critical acquisition processes and weapons systems from foreign hacking. Engility will address existing vulnerabilities and mitigate future cyber attacks primarily in support of the DoD’s Damage Assessment Management Office and Joint Acquisition Protection and Exploitation Cell. The contract has a one-year base with four option years and is valued at $28 million. 

PAR Technology Subsidiary Awarded Air Force Subcontract

Rome Research Corporation, a subsidiary of PAR Technology, was awarded a subcontract from Croop-LaFrance to provide client support services to the U.S. Air Force’s 72nd Air Base Wing Communications Directorate at Tinker AFB, Okla. The contract is valued at $11.9 million and has a one-year base with up to four option years.

University of Missouri Uses Deep Learning to Detect Chinese Missile Sites

The University of Missouri’s Center for Geospatial Intelligence, a USGIF-accredited school, used machine learning to help human analysts parse through large volumes of imagery in search of surface-to-air missile sites in southeast China. This deep learning approach delivered an average search time of 42 minutes for 90,000 km areas—more than 80 times the efficiency of human visual searches. The research study was published in a special issue of the SPIE Journal of Applied Remote Sensing.

Peer Intel

Northrop Grumman named Kathy Warden its next president and COO following the retirement of current president and COO Gloria Fatch. Additionally, corporate VP of government relations Sid Ashworth will retire at the end of this year. Mark Caylor will become corporate VP and president for mission systems, Shawn Purvis will become corporate VP and president for enterprise services, and Lesley Kalan will become corporate VP for government relations. Warden will oversee these three branches of operation as well as the integration of Orbital ATK once the merge is complete.

Photo Credit: DigitalGlobe

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Mapping Autumn Fri, 13 Oct 2017 14:40:11 +0000 Visualizing fall foliage and festivities

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Autumn’s vibrant colors have begun to show, replacing summer greens with warm gold and scarlet. Smoky Mountains National Park published its 2017 Fall Foliage Map visualizing the progress of the annual changing of the leaves from late August to mid-November. Travelers chasing the brightest foliage should consider the Rocky Mountains, the lower Great Lakes, and New England, all of which are at or rapidly approaching “peak foliage.” South Florida and south Texas will peak the latest in early November.

With Halloween just two weeks away, the most industrious trick-or-treaters will already be planning their candy-maximizing strategies. Nextdoor’s Treat Map app offers children a head start on conquering their neighborhoods. The app prompts users to mark their homes with candy corn or a haunted house, indicating whether visitors can expect something sweet or scary upon arrival. Parents can also use the app to track the location of their trick-or-treaters as they bounce from house to house.

Halloween isn’t the month’s only holiday; celebrate Germany’s Oktoberfest tradition with National Geographic’s new “Atlas of Beer: A Globetrotting Journey Through the World of Beer.” Written by Mark Patterson and Nancy Hoalst-Pullen, the book explores international craft brewing through 100 detailed maps, 300 photos, tasting notes, trivia, and travel tips. Ale aficionados can learn about regional drinking culture in 45 countries and on six continents, breweries and festivals, and the sudsy future of beer.

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Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Wed, 11 Oct 2017 16:16:11 +0000 Delta State forms undergraduate geospatial intelligence program

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Delta State University BAS-GAI student and USMC Reservist Gunnar Kaltenberger produces a map sheet for a county-level atlas for first responders in Texas coping with Hurricane Harvey.

After assessing geospatial workforce needs, Delta State University (DSU) in Mississippi created a bachelor of applied science degree in geospatial analysis and intelligence (BAS-GAI).

According to Talbot Brooks, director of DSU’s Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies (GIT), more than 100 students have enrolled in the major since it launched in fall 2016.

“Geospatial technology has typically been a set of add-on courses or a certificate or minor for a geography major,” Brooks said. “Now, it has grown broad enough to be its own field, and students recognize that.”

Brooks pointed to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) rapid growth and the Department of Labor’s recent expansion of the standard occupation codes for geospatial technologies as “market signals that [GEOINT] is its own thing and academia needs to shift to prepare that workforce.”

DSU’s new degree is accredited as an applied science program and is offered both online and on campus. Enrolled students receive fundamental training in remote sensing, GIS, positioning, programming, analytics, and statistics. Requirements include 53 core credit hours, including 15 in geography and electives, on top of the traditional liberal arts curriculum.

Students must also complete one semester of internship or capstone project work with an industry partner before earning a degree. DSU has partnered with industry leaders such as NGA and the Department of Homeland Security to establish a workforce pipeline in which civilian and military students confront real-world problems.

“Our students aren’t only well educated and versed in the theory and skills, but the field experience is going to make them competitive when they graduate,” Brooks said.

The internship requirement was heavily influenced by the school’s partnership with the Marine Corps. Currently, half of DSU’s BAS-GAI students are active-duty Marines who will spend their final semester conducting capstone projects related to their careers.

Internships aren’t the only hands-on experience they’ll gain. In the past several weeks, students and staff volunteered to produce U.S. National Grid maps of the areas in Texas and Florida most affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, respectively. These maps continue to assist Urban Search and Rescue Teams by highlighting critical infrastructure locations and points of interest.

“This mapping project gives us a chance to make a contribution to a real-world problem,” said Marine reservist Tanner Overcash, a sophomore. “It’s very much like the missions the Marines are called on for, responding to hurricanes and typhoons all around the world. Hopefully, we helped make things better for the people who are suffering from Harvey and Irma.”

DSU’s new program is also designed to prepare students to sit for USGIF’s Certified GEOINT Professional exam series, the GIS Certification Institute exam, and the journeyman surveyor exam upon graduation.

DSU was recognized as a Center of Academic Excellence by NGA in spring 2015.

For more information about GSU’s program, visit

Photos Credits: Delta State University. Headline image caption: A cover sheet for an atlas produced by the DSU GIT Center in support of Hurricane Harvey relief. The center produced 20 such atlases totaling nearly 3,000 map sheets in less than 48 hours.

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Creating Pathways for GEOINT Careers Wed, 11 Oct 2017 15:31:06 +0000 Colleges and universities convene to share successes and challenges at USGIF GEOAcademic Summit

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USGIF presented the NOVA Information Management School and West Point  certificates of re-accreditation during the GEOAcademic Summit.

USGIF hosted a GEOAcademic Summit in October at its headquarters in Herndon, Va., bringing together nearly 30 members of academia to discuss ideas, resources, achievements, and challenges. The summit was structured as an interactive forum for leaders in GEOINT higher education.

In attendance were representatives from colleges and universities affiliated with USGIF’s Collegiate Accreditation Program as well as experts from several guest schools.

“This was my first year organizing and coordinating this event,” said USGIF Director of Academic Programs Dr. Camelia Kantor. “While I already had several opportunities to meet with academics from USGIF-accredited schools, the summit allowed me to feel the strong ties that unify this select group of leaders who have built successful GEOINT certificate programs and continue to contribute to the growth of the discipline. It was an honor to speak to such a distinguished audience and a reminder of the role USGIF plays in supporting this group and in building, stewarding, and growing a stronger community dedicated to GEOINT.”

Themes throughout the summit included the professionalization and increased visibility of GEOINT, the need to broaden the discipline, the development of a career pathway to include K-12 outreach and community colleges, and the use of the GEOINT Essential Body of Knowledge competencies as a standard curriculum framework.

The first day kicked off with each of the schools presenting an overview of their respective geospatial programs. This was an opportunity for participants to learn how their programs compare with those at other institutions. The group also participated in a visioneering session in which they rotated to different tables and answered essential questions regarding GEOINT career pathways. There were tables representing K-12 education, two-year/community colleges, higher education, professional certifications, and career mentorship. The discussion was documented via a graphic recording.

Day two of the summit focused on professional development to ensure USGIF-accredited programs continue to adapt to changing tradecraft and that USGIF’s GEOINT Certificate continues to be awarded to students meeting high academic standards.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Boundless, and Hexagon Geospatial each gave presentations on what resources and services they can offer academic organizations.

“This year’s summit was a success,” Kantor said. “Based on the feedback it was informative, motivating, engaging, and a great opportunity to connect with peers.”

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Weekly GEOINT Community News Mon, 09 Oct 2017 13:29:12 +0000 MDA Completes DigitalGlobe Acquisition; Hexagon Acquires Luciad; Jacobs Acquires Blue Canopy; Orbit Logic Awarded Navy Autonomy Contract; More

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MDA Completes DigitalGlobe Acquisition, Rebrands

MDA completed its acquisition of Earth imagery provider DigitalGlobe Thursday. The merger brings together multiple satellite imagery and geospatial solutions brands, consisting of MDA, DigitalGlobe, SSL, and Radiant. To reflect the broader capabilities of the combined organization, MDA has changed its name to Maxar Technologies.

Several leadership changes were announced coincident with the merger. Howard Lance, president and CEO of MDA, will continue to lead Maxar Technologies as president and CEO. The companies senior leadership will include executives from both MDA and DigitalGlobe.

William McCombe was appointed CFO of Maxar Technologies. Anil Wirasekara, who previously served as CFO of MDA, will continue with the company and serve as the senior financial executive, based in Canada. Timothy M. Hascall was appointed COO. Hascall previously served as executive vice president responsible for the imagery business unit at DigitalGlobe.

Daniel L. Jablonsky was appointed president of DigitalGlobe. Jablonsky previously served as general manager of the U.S. and international defense and intelligence businesses at DigitalGlobe. Dr. Walter S. Scott was appointed CTO for Maxar Technologies. Dr. Scott formed DigitalGlobe in 1992, and will continue to lead DigitalGlobe’s platform business while taking on expanded responsibilities for the company. Tony Frazier was appointed president of Radiant Solutions. Frazier previously served as senior vice president of services at DigitalGlobe. Don Schaefer, who previously served as president of MDA Information Systems, has been appointed chief strategy officer of Radiant Solutions.

DigitalGlobe announced president and CEO Jeffery Tarr’s departure from the company following the successful closing of the merger. To help the transition, Tarr will serve as an advisor to to Maxar Technologies through January 2018.

Hexagon Acquires Luciad

Hexagon AB acquired Luciad, a provider of situational awareness technology, in support of geospatial and industrial enterprise applications. Luciad will bring visualization and real-time sensor data integration to Hexagon’s Smart M.App information platform, providing a common operating picture for geospatial missions.

Jacobs Acquires Blue Canopy

Jacobs Engineering Group acquired Blue Canopy, a data analytics, cybersecurity and application development firm, as part of ongoing investments to expand Jacobs Connected Enterprise (JCE) solutions. JCE offers digital solutions to connect critical infrastructure, analyze data to optimize operations, and protect that data and associated infrastructure from internal and external threats. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

New Name Announced for Harris Government Services Business

Peraton has been confirmed as the new name of the former Harris Corporation Government Services business, which was acquired by Veritas Capital earlier this year. Peraton is based on the idea that the operations the company supports are essential to national security. The name is a construct of the prefix “per,” which means “thoroughly,” and the word “imperative,” reflecting the importance of customer missions. Peraton is led by CEO Stu Shea, former USGIF president and chairman.

Orbit Logic Awarded Navy Autonomy Contract

Orbit Logic was awarded a Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer contract by the Office of Naval Research to develop mission planning software for autonomous underwater vehicles. Orbit aims to improve the effectiveness and range of long duration missions by intelligently distributing data and energy among collaborating vehicles. The company is teaming with The University of Colorado Boulder on the project.

NGA Inducts GEOINT Hall of Fame Class of 2017

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency inducted six geospatial pioneers into its GEOINT Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees are: David Alspaugh, Ph.D.; Barbara Bond, Ph.D.; Nancy Bone; Keith Hall; Retired Vice Adm. Robert Murrett; and Lloyd Rowland. The Hall of Fame now features 65 members.

Esri Maps the Story of the Two Koreas

Esri recently released a story map visualizing the history of conflict between and current state of North and South Korea: the struggle between North and South for control of the Korean Peninsula; the Korean War of the 1950s; current Korean industry and economy; and the potential future of the two Koreas. 

Photo Credit: NASA

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Weekly GEOINT Community News Mon, 02 Oct 2017 20:39:22 +0000 Australia to Create Space Agency; Planet to Launch SkySats; RAND Publishes Roadmap to Success for NGA; Orbital Insight Reveals Extent of Hurricane Harvey Flooding

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Australia to Create Space Agency

The Australian government announced last week the creation of a national space agency. The move is a major step forward in the country’s recent efforts to expand its domestic space economy.

Following this news, Australian defence industry minister Christopher Pyne announced two new space programs. One is a three-year deal between the Royal Australian Air Force and the University of New South Wales Canberra that will launch three mini satellites to test communications, remote sensing, and spaceflight modeling. The other program, called High Altitude Sensing Systems, will involve investment in and research of high frequency satellite sensors as well as land and ocean imaging systems.

Planet to Launch SkySats

Planet announced it will launch six SkySats and four Dove satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base October 17. This will be the first time Planet has launched SkySats since its acquisition of Terra Bella from Google in February. As the launch’s only customer, Planet was able to specify the launch timing and target orbit as a sun-synchronous, 500 km orbit with a 1:30 p.m. crossing time. This orbit will complement the company’s existing morning-SSO constellation and maximize revisit rates.

RAND Researchers Publish Roadmap to Success for NGA

RAND National Defense Research Institute published a “Roadmap to Succeed in the Open for NGA’s Human Development Directorate.” The document is a guide to achieving the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) missions and accessing information and resources in unclassified environments.

Geospatial Corporation Approved as IGAPP Vendor

Geospatial Corporation was approved as a vendor for the Innovative GEOINT Application Provider Program (IGAPP), a supply chain of geospatial apps for NGA, managed by Engility. Geospatial Corporation plans to submit a free GeoUnderground Android app to the IGAPP store. Having approved vendor status will fortify Geospatial Corporation’s presence as a solution provider in the Intelligence Community and broader federal sector.

Orbital Insight Reveals Extent of Hurricane Harvey Flooding

Image processing startup Orbital Insight applied intelligent detection algorithms to satellite imagery of areas flooded by Hurricane Harvey and found staggering results. Preliminary analysis shows the extent of the flooding is actually three times the size previously reported. The difference is Orbital’s ability to interpret specialized Synthetic Aperture Radar data, which is unimpeded by the same cloud cover that stymied other flood measurement efforts.

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Data Scientists in Demand Fri, 29 Sep 2017 15:40:45 +0000 Geospatial data gurus hold some of America’s best jobs

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For the second consecutive year, job-seeking website Glassdoor ranked data scientist as the country’s top occupation. The results were based on earning potential, overall job satisfaction, and number of jobs available—data science enjoys a $110,000 median base salary and routinely has thousands of job listings on Glassdoor. Other top-10 ranked professions include DevOps engineer, data engineer, and solutions architect.

Though big data has been exploding for years, Business Insider reports the recognition of data science as a true science is still in the early stages.

And the fledgling industry is poised for significant and continued growth. IBM projected in May that demand for data scientists will grow 28 percent by 2020 as employers confront emerging problems. The creation of new geospatial tools such as data visualization platforms and machine learning algorithms for object recognition requires testing on large quantities of high-quality data; it also requires expert personnel to manage those massive datasets.

As companies and government organizations (like IARPA) continue to leverage open-source information, data storage and labeling becomes an even more arduous task. Intelligent labeling algorithms will help organize these open data oceans, but more data scientists will be necessary to build databases and conduct forward-looking analysis such as event prediction.

Additionally, the rise of analysis-as-a-service in multiple sectors will open data-centric roles at remote sensing providers offering actionable insights from imagery.

It’s no surprise data scientists report elevated job satisfaction considering the opportunities to assist with real-world problem sets supporting public safety and national security. From environmental preservation and disaster response to intelligence and warfighting, data scientists in the geospatial sphere will continue to be in high demand.

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The Future of GEOINT Tue, 26 Sep 2017 13:21:27 +0000 Why activity-based intelligence and machine learning demonstrate that the future of GEOINT has already arrived

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Editor’s Note: Barry Barlow is chief technology officer at Vencore. Guest posts are intended to foster discussion and do not represent the official position of USGIF or trajectory magazine.

GEOINT, shorthand for geospatial intelligence, is a term created by then director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper, to define a fundamentally unique foundational element of intelligence. In his October 2005 memo on GEOINT, Clapper explained the subject as follows:

GEOINT encompasses all aspects of imagery … and geospatial information and services. … It includes, but is not limited to … the analysis of literal imagery; geospatial data; and information technically derived from the processing, exploitation, literal, and non-literal analysis of spectral, spatial, and temporal … fused products (that is, products created out of two or more data sources). … These types of data can be collected on stationary and moving targets by electro-optical …, [synthetic aperture radar (SAR)] …, related sensor programs …, and non-technical means (to include geospatial information acquired by personnel in the field). 

A few future concepts from the abbreviated definition illustrate that the future of GEOINT is now.

Activity-Based Intelligence (ABI): This methodology to discover and resolve unknown entities and objects and depict a pattern of life is almost always included as a “future GEOINT trend” in any report on the subject. Clapper assumed ABI would be a foundational element of GEOINT—“these types of data can be collected on stationary and moving targets”—hence his desire to provide the broadest possible definition of GEOINT—“all aspects of imagery and geospatial information and services.” The incorporation of full motion video into the GEOINT domain was a leading indicator in the shift from reconnaissance to surveillance and from periodic collections to persistence, which is made easier by other future trends such as small satellites and the Internet of Things.

Two ABI precepts, data neutrality and integration before exploitation, highlight the need for another future trend: big data analytics. Big data analytics can provide hypotheses on the intention, strategies, or motivations of an adversary or ally. Ideally, analytics are anticipatory in nature and will be completed long before an issue appears on one’s radar as actionable intelligence. Again, Clapper’s definition of GEOINT was purposefully broad relative to data sources (e.g., literal and non-literal) as one could not know in advance all the questions or issues that would require a GEOINT response. Implicit in the definition is the desire to understand hidden patterns or correlations between related but unique sources. What unique intelligence can we gain from infrared, spectral, or SAR? Or, can we confirm with a greater degree of confidence a finding that we suspected?

Machine Learning: This technological advance is either a necessary post-condition of the explosion in GEOINT content or a pre-condition to ABI and big data analytics, or both. Increases in machine learning are used daily for all of the above reasons and more. For example, machine learning is used to increase confidence in an analytic result through triangulation of analytic results. Virtually any forecast for the explosive growth of GEOINT content in the next year or decade ends with the conclusion that organic assets (i.e., people) cannot keep up with the pace of information. Machine learning is the only practicable solution on the horizon.  

NGA Director Robert Cardillo noted in his keynote address at GEOINT 2017: “For ‘Team GEOINT’—this is our time. We are standing where the SIGINT community stood when the internet became the digital fabric of the planet. And whether our new, persistent view of the world comes from space, air, sea, or ground—in five years, there may be a million times more than the amount of geospatial data that we have today. … We’ll either sink, or we’ll swim, or we’ll ride the rising tide. I say we ride!

I could not agree more. The point is not that we won’t see new capabilities in the future—of course we will.

In keeping with the famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi, “The future depends on what you do today,” the GEOINT domain abounds with potential for new development. 

There is enough yet unexplored territory in the current GEOINT landscape for us to make our mark, to reach new horizons, and to fulfill the promise of the GEOINT premise as envisioned not quite 12 years ago. 

The post The Future of GEOINT appeared first on Trajectory Magazine.

Weekly GEOINT Community News Mon, 25 Sep 2017 16:53:03 +0000 Community Continues to Support Natural Disaster Response Efforts; Discount for Live Online Augmented Reality Course; ManTech to Acquire InfoZen; LizardTech Awarded U.S. Patent for LiDAR Point Cloud Compression

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Community Continues to Support Natural Disaster Response Efforts

The GEOINT Community continues to support response efforts following the series of natural disasters that have occurred in the past weeks. Esri released an interactive impact summary map of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck Central Mexico last week. This analysis, built in the “Enrich Layer” in ArcGIS Online, also presents a Shakemap of the earthquake.

DigitalGlobe released high-resolution satellite imagery showing the impact of the earthquake in Mexico City. Images include collapsed buildings near Parque Espana and Rancho del Arco and rescue teams at the Enrique Rebsamen School. DigitalGlobe separately released pre- and post-earthquake imagery of affected areas through its Open Data Program.

On Friday, DigitalGlobe also released images showing in high resolution the damage Hurricane Maria caused on the island of Dominica. The company is also working to capture and make available imagery of Puerto Rico once cloud cover lifts over the region. DigitalGlobe’s tomnod crowdsourcing platform has also kicked off a campaign in support of Hurricane Maria response.

Live Online Training Course: AR and the Future of Work

Tech authors and futurists Robert Scoble and Shel Israel will produce a live online training course called “AR and the Future of Work” based on their recent best-selling book The Fourth Transformation. The course will be held Monday, Oct. 2, and is intended for executives seeking to understand how and why AR will transform their businesses. The standard rate for the class is $247, with a discounted rate of $147 for those who register before Sept. 29. Register here and enter the code GSIF1 for a $20 discount.

ManTech to Acquire InfoZen

ManTech International will acquire IT company InfoZen in a $180 million deal expected to close next month. InfoZen’s portfolio will bolster ManTech’s already strong footprint in the homeland security and aerospace marketplaces as well as grow Mantech’s cloud migration and agile development capabilities.

LizardTech Awarded U.S. Patent for LiDAR Point Cloud Compression

Software solutions provider LizardTech was awarded a U.S. patent for the lossless compression of LiDAR point clouds. LizardTech’s flagship software, GeoExpress, uses wavelet transformation algorithms to compress LiDAR data to MrSID and LAZ formats with no content loss. These algorithms can be licensed via the LizardTech SDK for integration with third-party geospatial solutions.

SpaceX Files to Trademark “Starlink” Satellite Network

SpaceX filed to trademark the name “Starlink” for a satellite network that will provide low-cost broadband internet access worldwide. The trademark also included provisions for remote sensing and aerial photography services. Elon Musk first announced the satellite project in 2015, and Geekwire reports prototype satellites could be launched as early as this year.

Peer Intel

UK Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach has been appointed the new NATO Chairman of the Military Committee, the Alliance’s senior military office position. Peach led a long and successful military career after joining the Royal Air Force in 1977, commanding the UK’s intervention in Libya and becoming first Commander of UK Joint Forces in 2011. He will succeed Czech General Petr Pavel as Chairman in June 2018.

Photo Credit: DigitalGlobe

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