The Common Thread

The idea of GEOINT is spreading virally and being adopted by new sectors


USGIF CEO Keith Masback at Towson University’s TUgis conference in April 2016.

Recent flooding in Louisiana and Texas, wildfires in California, and the impact of Hurricane Matthew are all reminders of the destructive power of natural hazards. Acts of terrorism in New Jersey, New York, Orlando, and San Bernardino are reminders of the violence we face in our homeland. Ongoing military operations and the sacrifices brought home graphically with the arrival of a fallen service member at Dover Air Force Base remind us of the price of being a world power. Through all of these challenges, geospatial intelligence is a common thread that prevents and alleviates human suffering.

In the past few months, I’ve had opportunities to speak at a number of events and to audiences including GIS professionals in Maryland, emergency managers in New Jersey, executives responsible for critical infrastructure protection, and national gatherings of both law enforcement professionals and public safety practitioners. GEOINT resonates significantly with these stakeholders.

They recognize the skills that have served them well for many years, and/or that they’ve relied upon from others, mostly limited to GIS, are necessary but insufficient. They recognize the power of remote sensing from both air and space. They recognize the need to perform data analytics and provide visualizations that are immediately intuitive to decision-makers. They are immediately receptive to my description of an integrated whole, which brings those elements together at their point of decision. When I illustrate the power of GEOINT, they are emphatic in their articulation of how badly they need it for mission success.

This idea of “GEOINT” we crafted in 2003, around which has grown a vibrant community, has transcended its original bounds. We have a tremendous opportunity at hand to share our education, training, and tradecraft with these important sectors. We have a responsibility to ensure they don’t make the same mistakes we have in the past 13 years and that they benefit from what we have learned on battlefields and in disaster areas both at home and around the globe. USGIF is excited to lead the way as the idea of GEOINT spreads virally and is rapidly applied to new mission sets and adopted by new sectors.

In this issue, veteran trajectory writer Matt Alderton pens a cover story about diverse remote sensing phenomenology, exploring the latest in LiDAR, SWIR, NIR, thermal infrared, and multi-, hyper-, and super-spectral sensors. There are certainly applications for these technologies outside the bounds of our traditional community. Our trajectory managing editor Kristin Quinn writes how geospatial technology is being used to fight the atrocity of child sex trafficking—demonstrating how GEOINT technology and tradecraft extends far beyond its traditional realm.

We’ve also included in this issue the stories of USGIF’s 2016 Scholarship Winners. I’m thrilled to say this year the Foundation eclipsed $1 million in total scholarship funds awarded since the program began in 2004. Our ability to support scholarship awards and accredit 14 college and university certificate programs, not to mention USGIF’s many other programs, is sustained by our individual and organizational members as well as the participants, attendees, and sponsors of our events. If you aren’t yet a member of USGIF, I encourage you to join us in supporting the GEOINT profession now and into the future. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be a GEOINTer, and we’d love to have you as part of the USGIF team.

As always, I look forward to seeing you soon in our hallways and conference rooms, and at our events. Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season, and a healthy and prosperous 2017!

Posted in: Vantage Point   Tagged in: 2016 Issue 4, Education, GIS

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