A Dynamic Discipline

Steady growth for USGIF working groups and individual membership


USGIF CEO Keith Masback with two students who are pursuing the University of Southern California’s Spatial Sciences Institute graduate certificate in geospatial intelligence.

The days after Labor Day in the D.C. area are always challenging as vacations end, college students return, and the local K-12 schools are back in session. It’s a traffic nightmare, and those of us who live and work in the region know getting from one place to another takes even longer than usual. So, it’s even more gratifying to see the daily flow in and out of the USGIF offices by our various working groups and committees, with dedicated volunteers making time in their schedules to contribute to the work of the Foundation and to the greater good of the GEOINT Community.

Our working groups have steadily grown to be an important action arm of the Foundation. They are initiated and managed by member volunteers with the support of our full-time staff. This model flourished in the past 18 months thanks in part to Carrie Drake, who was the single point of entry for the working group chairs to access anything they needed from USGIF staff. Carrie developed a manual for the chairs, held plenary meetings to share best practices, and worked diligently to normalize the working group administration and structure. Carrie recently departed the Foundation after eight years to accept a position with a USGIF member company, and she will be missed. We will continue to build upon the legacy of Carrie’s hard work.

Two great examples of relatively new working groups gaining considerable traction are the SmallSat Working Group and the Geospatial and Remote Sensing Law Working Group. Both have worked with USGIF staff to plan workshops during the 2015 GEOINT Community Week in mid-November. These workshops follow in the tradition of superb events previously developed by the Commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar, Activity-Based Intelligence, Electro-Optical, and Africa working groups. Since the working groups are dynamic in nature, some will endure and some will inevitably become inactive, even as others are initiated.

Speaking of dynamism, for the cover story in this issue of trajectory, I’ve attempted to capture the essence of a presentation I’ve given at conferences and on campuses throughout 2015 regarding the advent of the GEOINT Revolution. I intend for the article to serve as a starting point for discussion across our Community as to what awaits us on the other side. I hope you’ll find it thought provoking because it’s incumbent upon us to get out ahead of this revolution, as opposed to being dragged along behind it.

Our second feature provides a glimpse into the DC-area startup scene, with a couple of great exemplars from the GEOINT Community. Finally, we’ve included a snapshot of each of USGIF’s 2015 scholarship awardees. An exciting milestone lies ahead next year when we will eclipse $1 million in scholarships awarded by the Foundation in the last decade.

I look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events, at the USGIF offices, and on our ever-growing membership list. We’re gratified by the tremendous support we’ve experienced for our new Individual Membership program, and we recognize the responsibility that accrues to the staff based on our membership growth. USGIF will remain an innovative, learning organization focused on providing significant value to our individual and organizational members, and to the ever-expanding GEOINT Community.

Posted in: Vantage Point   Tagged in: 2015 Issue 4, Remote Sensing, Small Sats

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