The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation hosted more than a dozen separate events at various locations throughout Northern Virginia June 4-9 as part of its 8th annual GEOINT Community Week.
Combined attendance for all events totaled more than 3,000, with government and military attendees comprising about 30 percent of GEOINT Community Week guests.
The events ranged from workshops and panel discussions, to technology exhibits, networking opportunities, and fun for a good cause.
Commercial Remote Sensing
Nearly 100 attendees were present for the USGIF Workshop Series on “The Future of U.S. Commercial Remote Sensing.” The workshop featured a keynote address by Eric Viglione, deputy director of commercial imagery, products and services at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and was moderated by Kevin O’Connell, president and CEO of Innovative Analytics & Training, and Josh Hartman, CEO of Horizon Strategies Group.
The workshop featured notable panelists from industry and government, including Kelly Gaffney, deputy assistant director, systems and resource analysis, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and Gil Klinger, deputy assistant secretary of defense for space and intelligence within the office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics.
Speakers offered frank discussion about the proposed cuts to NGA’s EnhancedView commercial imagery program. Viglione acknowledged that while commercial imagery is and will remain vital, cuts are coming. Gaffney said that after assessing investments in the program, ODNI concluded that it could make a significant budget reduction without impacting capability.
Klinger described this volatile period as an opportunity for industry to assess its maturity and focus on the needs of the future.
“What’s Google going to do next? What’s the virtual reality/gaming industry going to do next?” Klinger said. “The next tectonic shift is far more likely to come from a commercial initiative than from the U.S. government.”
Dave Bottom, director of the Information Technology Services Directorate at NGA, spoke at a special edition of GEOINTeraction Tuesday as part of Community Week.
Bottom was appointed to director of IT Services in February, and the new organization, created to merge NGA’s IT functions, is expected to reach full operational capacity in September. He outlined changes NGA is making to what and how it delivers in terms of IT.
“For the past 10 years, IT decisions have been about getting information out quickly and supporting the fight,” Bottom said.
Now, changing budget, technological, and political landscapes need to be considered.
“We really need to change our strategy and lens as far as how we assess IT,” Bottom said.
Bottom said NGA’s IT strategy ties directly to the ODNI goals of integrating intelligence and saving money. He said it’s necessary to tackle IT, because integration on the back end will facilitate broader integration throughout the Community.
Bottom’s goal is for GEOINT to be a driving force to intelligence integration. He said NGA has responded to the ODNI’s mission by focusing on two objectives: broadening and deepening analytics; and online, on-demand.
USGIF also co-sponsored two classified events throughout GEOINT Community Week. More than 1,000 attendees gathered at NGA Campus East for the NGA Tech Showcase. The two-day event provided an opportunity for NGA employees and their Intelligence Community and industry partners to see more than 65 NGA-hosted activities displaying the Agency’s capabilities.
USGIF also co-hosted the Ground Warfighter Geospatial Intelligence Conference (GGC), formerly known as the Army Geospatial and Imagery Conference (AGIC), along with the HQDA Deputy Chief of Staff (DCS), G-2, and the Office of the Chief of Engineers (OCE). The conference drew more than 400 attendees to the TASC Heritage Conference Center in Chantilly, and featured the theme “GEOINT to Support the Ground Warfighter.”
Keynote speakers for GGC included Dr. Joseph F. Fontanella, the Army Geospatial Information Officer and director of the Army Geospatial Center, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Peter (Duke) DeLuca, Commandant of the U.S. Army Engineer School, and U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Thomas Meek, director of military support for NGA.
USGIF Technology Day featured 64 technology exhibits, an emerging technology showcase, and presentations on topics such as commercial SAR capabilities and big data. Over the course of the day approximately 1,200 people came through the exhibits, presentations and reception.
The exhibit hall remained open throughout the day, while presentations took place next door. The Emerging Technology Showcase featured Al Price from NGA, who spoke about upcoming professional GEOINT certification, Dr. Jennifer Schopf, of the National Science Foundation, who spoke about a new community-driven cyberinfrastructure called Earthcube, and Dave Kolas of theOpen Geospatial Consortium (OGC) who spoke about a new standard called GeoSPARQL.
Experts from Astrium, MDA GSI, and e-GEOS provided an update on commercial SAR satellite capabilities.
The afternoon presentation was a “lightening round” science and technology forum on the topic of big data, which included more than a dozen presentations each lasting only about five minutes.
USGIF Technology Day also offered some outlets for younger members of the GEOINT Community. USGIF’s Young Professionals Group held an at-capacity lunch panel discussion on leadership. Five slightly more-senior young professionals shared their experiences with a group of peers. Recurring themes in their stories included the importance of finding mentors and taking risks.
Meanwhile, the USGIF high school student and technology showcase gave students a chance to share GEOINT-related science fair projects recognized for high achievement by academic and industry professionals at local competitions.
Technology Day wrapped up with a free evening community reception sponsored by trajectory magazine.
Winding Down the Week
The USGIF invitational was held at 1757 Golf Club in Dulles, drawing 124 golfers, and raising proceeds for the USGIF Scholarship Program, which has awarded almost a half-million dollars in scholarship funds over the last seven years.
GEOINT Community Week concluded with the 8th annual invite-only GEOGala, an evening of dining, dancing, and networking. The gala drew 630 attendees, including leaders from the Defense, Intelligence and Homeland Security communities, as well as USGIF members and guests. The evening featured a cocktail reception, gourmet meal, dessert lounge, live music, and green-screen photography.
If you couldn’t make it to GEOINT Community Week or are left wanting more, the GEOINT 2012 Symposium is less than four months away. Registration and housing will be open before the end of June. The Intelligence Community will convene in Orlando for the nation’s largest intelligence even of the year before you know it.