On behalf of the entire trajectory team, I’m thrilled to share our first special edition. It’s our hope that this is an important step in further integrating the precepts of geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) into the practice and lexicon of public safety professionals. As I like to say, while GEOINT was created in the “laboratory” of the defense and intelligence communities in the wake of 9/11, it has in the intervening years escaped the confines of that lab and gone viral.
The national security sector loosely defines GEOINT as the combination of: remote sensing from phones, drones, and space; geospatial/location information of all layers and types; and data management, analytics, and visualization for an actionable purpose. However, in the public safety community, GEOINT may be called something else entirely and be leveraged through the combination of visualization tools such as crime mapping, network analysis, CompStat, route analysis, crisis mapping, critical infrastructure assessment, and more.
USGIF identified the virulent nature of GEOINT in trajectory’s 2015 cover story, “The GEOINT Revolution,” and further explored it when we subsequently themed our 2016 annual Symposium with the same moniker. The thesis of the GEOINT Revolution article is there are multiple technologies undergoing rapid change, and when viewed collectively, create a powerful synergy for revolutionary advances in the GEOINT field.
In the years since 9/11, the defense, intelligence, and, more recently, the homeland security communities have leveraged the power of GEOINT to enhance their respective and collective mission effectiveness. Over time, doctrine has been generated and training, education, and professional development opportunities have developed.
As GEOINT is increasingly adopted in other sectors, I see a tremendous opportunity to share this body of knowledge and to leverage lessons learned. Our first responders ought not make the same mistakes or blindly face some of the same challenges the traditional GEOINT Community has already overcome. And it is my hope as you find new ways to deploy these approaches that we in turn can learn from your community.
We at USGIF have endeavored to engage with law enforcement, fire and rescue services, emergency medical services, and others to foster an ongoing dialogue regarding public safety mission applications for GEOINT. Our respective communities share meaningful core values exemplified by selfless service to others, fierce dedication to mission, and genuine camaraderie.
We’ve all seen recent exemplars of the close cooperation among first responders and national security organizations during wildfires in the American west and southwest, and in the wake of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. At every level, rescue and relief organizations rely upon GEOINT to accomplish their missions.
It’s my fervent hope that this edition of trajectory ends up in the hands of police officers, fire services professionals, EMS workers, emergency planners, and others who will recognize the opportunity at hand. As a result, I hope you will participate in the discussion that will fully unleash the power of the GEOINT Revolution in support of your vital role in serving, protecting, and responding to keep our nation safe.
USGIF is eager to extend its educational mandate to this important constituency and use our unique power as a convening authority to create and sustain knowledge transfer to further develop the GEOINT tradecraft in support of public safety missions.
Featured image: USGIF CEO Keith Masback with members of the Orange County Sheriff’s department at USGIF’s GEOINT 2016 Symposium in Orlando, Fla.