NGA’s Ernest Reith on Fusing Big Data

Approximately 150 people attended the first USGIF GEOINTeraction Tuesday hosted by a USGIF Organizational Member. Held at VRICON’s office, the event kicked off with a ribbon cutting, marking the opening of the company’s new headquarters.

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Approximately 150 people attended the first USGIF GEOINTeraction Tuesday hosted by a USGIF Organizational Member. Held at VRICON’s office in McLean, Va., the event kicked off with a ribbon cutting, marking the opening of the company’s new headquarters.

“We’re planning to build the whole globe in 3D,” said VRICON CEO Magnus Brege. “We’ll have the capacity of producing two million square kilometers of data per month, which is quite amazing.”

Attendees also had the opportunity to network and hear from Dr. Ernest Reith, deputy director of IT services at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).

Reith’s speech focused on data fusion, a subject he professed to be quite passionate about. He began by reading Wikipedia’s definition of data fusion: “the process of integration of multiple data and knowledge representing the same real-world object into a consistent, accurate, and useful representation.”

Reith said the visualization aspect of data fusion, where imagery and 3D merge, today provides NGA good representation and context in order to make critical decisions.

“We’re on the cusp of the legendary dog catching the car—the car being Big Data,” Reith said. “One piece of that is IC ITE (the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise). Every time [DNI] James Clapper talks about IC ITE, it’s about integration, which goes back to data fusion.”

Reith also spoke about NGA’s newly released Commercial GEOINT Strategy and how the agency’s unclassified GEOINT Pathfinder project will contribute more data for fusion.

“We [NGA] have to spend our time creating exquisite intelligence,” Reith said. “In doing that, we have to provide that platform to industry partners. We have the folks to build it, but we have to help them out with the technologies.”

Reith also recognized VRICON’s contributions to the GEOINT Community as the first contract awardee via both NGA’s GEOINT Solutions Marketplace and Innovative GEOINT Application Provider Program.

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