Government Insights

Senior leaders from across the USG to speak at government pavilion stage


Valuable GEOINT Symposium content extends far beyond the general session main stage. In response to overwhelmingly positive feedback, the Government Pavilion Stage (Hall B, Booth 8105) will for the second year be featured in the exhibit hall each afternoon of GEOINT 2015.

The Government Pavilion Stage offers even more diverse content throughout the week and provides an additional outlet for attendees and exhibitors alike to hear federal leaders discuss business opportunities.

Following is a preview of two of the many great topics to be discussed in the pavilion over the next few days. Check the GEOINT 2015 agenda for a full listing of Government Pavilion Stage presentations and speakers.

The Army Geospatial Center

Dr. Joseph Fontanella, Director, U.S. Army Geospatial Center; and Army Geospatial Information Officer

Tuesday, 2:30-3 p.m.

Dr. Joseph Fontanella has a story to tell and some homework for Army Geospatial Center (AGC) staff.

Fontanella has directed AGC since 2011 and worked with the organization since it was born out of the Army Topographic Engineering Center in 2008.

“I want to outline what we think our challenges are and lay out some thoughts about how we’re going to tackle those challenges,” Fontanella said.

The mission of the AGC, to build the Army’s net-centric geospatial enterprise, hasn’t really changed since the organization’s inception, Fontanella added, but the environment in which the center operates and the manner in which that mission is accomplished have.

“We’ll talk about how the Army’s Common Operating Environment (COE) has really helped us reshape our approach to innovating a geospatial CONOPS across the Army,” he said. “We’ll talk about how the governance process that we’ve put in place has yielded cost savings and improved continuity of operations.”

The COE, released in January 2012, brought forth computing technologies and standards designed to shorten time and reduce expense when implementing new IT infrastructure.

Ahead is the Army Geospatial Center’s quest for better ways to get data to and from soldiers in the field.

“I’m talking about OpenStreetMap kind of stuff, or service- or soldier-generated content,” Fontanella said. “How do you take the most current data and bring it up to a higher echelon and conflate that data and get it back into national holding so everybody can take advantage of it? There’s really no mechanism, in my opinion, to do that.”

To help discover such mechanisms, Fontanella tasked AGC personnel to take advantage of GEOINT 2015’s proximity to the organization’s Alexandria, Va., headquarters and spend some time in the exhibit hall.

“We have folks who will go to this conference—some of my program managers, branch chiefs, and division directorate chiefs—and they will get work done that otherwise would probably take them six months and a dozen TDY trips to accomplish,” Fontanella said.

Legal and Policy Trends

By Cynthia Ryan, General Counsel, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA); and Kevin Pomfret, Executive Director, The Centre for Spatial Law and Policy

Wednesday, 3:30-4 p.m.

Cynthia Ryan and Kevin Pomfret plan to outline the “lay of the legal land” in geospatial intelligence and encourage their audience to “bring the lawyer in on the ground floor.”

“We want to talk about the complexity of legal issues out there and that it doesn’t mean that you can’t resolve them,” Ryan said. “It just means that it’s easier to resolve if you consult your lawyer up front.”

She calls upon industry to create a three-legged development process that includes technology, business, and legal solutions.

“We have to figure out how we’re going to do something in the beginning,” Ryan said. “Not if—but how. The motto in [my] office is ‘Know the Law, Find a Way.’ Our purpose is to find a legal way to meet the purpose and objective of what the agency is trying to do.”

In that way, NGA was able to legally deliver vital information via a public website in the recent West Africa Ebola outbreak.

Pomfret will offer context from a societal viewpoint about privacy concerns in geospatial data gathering and use—concerns that are becoming more prevalent with the proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles.

“As [UAVs] become more commercially viable, there is a visceral reaction among a lot of people,” he said. “They don’t know if it’s government collecting information or industry collecting information or their creepy neighbor next door.”

Pomfret cites what he calls the “privacy paradox,” in which more people are sharing more information than ever, but they also are becoming more concerned with privacy than ever.

Ryan and Pomfret are also working to stand up a new USGIF working group on geospatial law, which will formally meet for the first time in July.

“We want to educate attorneys on legal geospatial issues,” Ryan said. “We want to develop training on key legal issues in GEOINT for non-attorneys and we want to develop a community of interest to share information regarding geospatial law.”


NGA Looks to Accelerate Commercial Acquisition of GEOINT Tech

NGA’s procurement leaders outline strategies to meet new strategic objective


Multipurpose Science for a Changing World

David Applegate, Ph.D., Director of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), gave closing keynote remarks on the final day of USGIF’s GEOINT 2023 Symposium in St. Louis, Missouri.


NGA’s Mark Munsell Envisions 100% Accuracy with AI

The NGA Director of Data and Digital Innovation predicts success with computer vision