This year has certainly gotten off to an interesting start with regard to the weather in the Northeast United States. Of course, it has drawn just about everyone in the region to social media, the web, and television to examine maps supplemented by images from weather satellites and to try to predict the likely impact of the next big storm.
The public is routinely exposed to other examples of GEOINT, including the changing, amorphous blobs depicting the locations of ISIL in Syria and Iraq; ongoing challenges with Boko Haram in Nigeria and neighboring countries; and increasingly well-armed “separatists” who look remarkably similar to Russian military forces in Ukraine.
Anecdotally, I’m told there is a large map on the wall of one of our intelligence agencies titled “For Russian Soldiers.” A bold red line traces the borders of Russia, with everything inside labeled “RUSSIA” and everything outside cross-hatched and labeled “NOT RUSSIA.”
My point is that GEOINT continues to pervade our daily lives, making us all GEOINTers of sorts. Further, the combination of exciting advances in the world of geospatial information, remote sensing, and data science—along with rapid changes in other enablers such as data processing, storage, and transmission—have brought us to the brink of a GEOINT revolution.
USGIF’s inaugural 2015 State of GEOINT report explores some of the implications of this coming GEOINT revolution. This report, which you may have received in the mail with this issue of trajectory or seen on the USGIF website, is a project we plan to produce annually. I hope the report will foster fruitful discussions about GEOINT tradecraft and the community’s collective mission among our increasingly broad and diverse set of stakeholders.
In addition to the State of GEOINT report, this issue of trajectory contains a great article on the GEOINT contributions to the fight against Ebola in Western Africa; a look at how evolving data science is enabling predictive analytics; and an “op-ed” piece urging us all to pay requisite attention to the workforce of today—and tomorrow—as we aggressively pursue technological solutions to our vexing problems. Without an appropriately educated, trained, and prepared workforce, the community will not succeed, regardless of the power of our processors or the integration of our technical architectures and systems.
When the weather finally breaks, spring will bring new USGIF events and the launch of the Foundation’s revamped membership program, including a new individual professional membership opportunity. I hope you’ll consider joining and supporting USGIF, and our work on behalf of the entire GEOINT Community. After all, we’re all GEOINTers—and USGIF is our professional society.