Johns Hopkins to introduce new master’s degree program in geospatial intelligence


Johns Hopkins University’s (JHU) new master of science in geospatial intelligence (Booth 702) is accepting applications for its first semester, which begins in May. The program will combine math and science with history of the geospatial profession and the art of analysis, equipping students to become practitioners of foundational and case-specific GEOINT.

“[The degree] models the DNA of GEOINT. Any future solutions and iterations of GEOINT will have to exhibit the four characteristics of art, science, math, and history. That’s how we’ve shaped our curriculum,” said program director Jack O’Connor.

Jack O’Connor

An introductory course for new students will establish this framework, presenting an overview of how the four columns blend within the geospatial intelligence discipline.

The remainder of the program allows students to explore their interests and hone particular applications they may want to pursue in their careers. Courses are offered in big data analytics, satellite tasking, remote sensing, ethics, cartography, and more.

GEOINT communications courses will help students learn to convey data and intelligence with brevity and clarity. The program concludes with a semester-long capstone class in which students develop an analytic plan to address a geospatial problem and present their results.

“The idea is to have students demonstrate they understand the four threads,” O’Connor said.

The program will continue JHU’s long history of geospatial research, which includes crowdsourced studies on the effects of oil fracking on public health in Pennsylvania and Ohio; 38 North, a website that analyzes North Korean weapons of mass destruction facilities using commercial satellite imagery; and numerous satellite projects from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Additionally, O’Connor will present a training and education session Tuesday afternoon about the history of collection management based on a lecture from the program’s introductory course.

“There were two heroes in the history of GEOINT—one goes back to the U2 program, the other came when satellite imagery caused the first big data problem,” he said. “I’m going to talk about the current big data problem and put out a challenge: who will be the third hero?”

Photo Credit: Johns Hopkins University

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