Standardizing Army GEOINT

The Army Geospatial Center aims to streamline data sharing among soldiers


To perform their missions, today’s warfighters are using increasingly sophisticated maps with elevation data, features, and imagery. But what if they’re all using maps slightly differently?

The Army Geospatial Center (AGC), which was organized under the Army Corps of Engineers in 2009, supports the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community by providing technical reachback and collection, production, exploitation, and dissemination of geospatial information tailored to the Army’s mission requirements.

At the heart of what AGC does, said Director Joseph Fontanella, is the Army Geospatial Enterprise, an integrated system of technologies, people, processes, standards, and data that delivers a Standard and Shareable Geospatial Foundation (SSGF).

“SSGF means soldiers will use the same feature data, the same elevation data, the same imagery,” Fontanella said at the GEOINT 2017 Government Pavilion Stage Tuesday in a presentation about system testing, certification, and interoperability within the Army Geospatial Enterprise.

“It means everyone will use the same digital map. Our goal is to eliminate these stovepipe systems.” Fontanella said it’s critical to have systems in place so soldiers can inherit geospatial databases seamlessly from the soldiers they’re relieving from duty. “It’s very difficult to support provisioning of geospatial data if every system has its own geospatial map solution.”

Fontanella acknowledged other services have similar challenges, but said the Army is the largest, with about 180 systems that consume or create geospatial intelligence.

The Army Geospatial Enterprise is in the process of establishing standards and testing within its mission. Fontanella said this is the first time the enterprise has been able to perform geospatial testing at every phase.

“One of the things we’ve learned is that geospatial is not the same between computing environments,” he said. “Geospatial on a handheld will be inherently different from geospatial in a command post. Even if we have a synchronized solution, you can still have stovepipes between the environments.”

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