The Remote Sensing Revolution

Government and industry panelists to discuss new technologies, policy and regulation, and more


The hyper-availability of remotely sensed information was unimaginable just a handful of years ago, now we can’t imagine a world without it readily accessible. Large satellites, small satellites, government-flown UAVs, hobbyist drones, and other platforms all play a part. The GEOINT Revolution is fueled by this next generation of remote sensing, which has made the creation robust new sensing networks much more accessible.

At 11:15 a.m. Tuesday in the general session a panel of government and industry leaders will discuss “The Remote Sensing Revolution.”

This discussion on the GEOINT 2016 main stage is important for many reasons, according to Kevin O’Connell, CEO of Innovative Analytics and Training, who will moderate the panel and focus on the following topics:

  • The fast and dynamic change in industry and in remote sensing technology globally as well as the emergence of more and more new companies with interesting ideas.
  • What the remote sensing revolution means for intelligence agencies in terms of commercial acquisitions and internal investments.
  • The policy and regulatory urgency that is needed to modernize thinking in terms of everything from licensing to security matters.

“There’s more recognition that there’s a diversity of companies, business models, technologies, and phenomena,” O’Connell said.

“The Remote Sensing Revolution” panelists are:

  • Winston A. Beauchamp, Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for Space, and Director, Principal DoD Space Advisor Staff
  • Steve Coast, Space Know; Founder, OpenStreetMap Foundation; Chief Evangelist, what3words
  • Douglas L. Loverro, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy
  • Dr. Lisa Porter, Executive Vice President and Director, CosmiQ Works
  • Robbie Schingler, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder, Planet Labs
  • Dr. Walter S. Scott Executive Vice President, Chief Technical Officer, and Founder, DigitalGlobe

The Honorable Jeffrey K. Harris, chairman of USGIF’s Board of Directors and former director of the National Reconnaissance Office, encouraged GEOINT 2016 participants to attend the panel to gain an understanding of current remote sensing technology and challenges from policy and industry experts.

“Historically, the job of planet data curation was that of nation state governments,” Harris said. “Today, the advance of technology is empowering companies and NGOs to provide important new and timely insights. This information can challenge the old world order, and in a good way help foster innovative approaches to improved planet management and understanding. Markets pick winners and losers. Technology for the good can also be misused. Bad actors can develop new threats and individuals can feel threatened as their privacies are redefined and sometimes challenged.”

In sum, Harris said, emerging remote sensing advancements are changing our understanding of the planet, its systems, and its inhabitants.


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