By Jacquelyn Karpovich, Office of Corporate Communications, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (www.nga.mil), Springfield, Va.
According to National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Director Letitia A. Long, the agency’s transformation from a static product provider into a dynamic resource for geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) services is happening in a variety of ways.
During a speech at the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation’s GEOINT symposium in April 2014, Long cited six priority NGA initiatives making the transformation possible: Map of the World (see “NGA’s Map of the World Provides Foundation for Intel Integration,” below); analytic capabilities; next-generation data collection; the Globe, a Web portal through which NGA shares intelligence information; open information technology; and research.
“These pillars are so critical that we are changing the way we do our mission and manage our enterprise,” said Long.
According to Long, this transformation and the initiatives supporting it will usher in the next intelligence phase—immersion.
“By immersion, I mean living, interacting and experimenting with the data in a multimedia, multisensory experience with GEOINT at its core,” said Long. “Immersion will break down the barriers between collectors, analysts, customers and decision makers.”
Long expanded on the concept of an immersive intelligence environment by asking the audience to imagine a not-too-distant future where virtual teammates “live in the data,” collaborating in virtual multimedia and gaming environments with constant access to multisource data in the cloud.
Adding to Long’s comments during a presentation at the conference’s government pavilion, Dave Gauthier, NGA’s Activity-Based Intelligence lead, says a future immersive intelligence environment must be considered from an analyst and a network perspective.
“I think immersion goes both ways,” said Gauthier. “Not only do we have to have analysts immersed in a data environment and comfortable in that environment, living there every day, but we need to think the opposite as well. We need to have our network and our algorithms immersed in the knowledge that the analysts have in their minds about our intelligence problems. … We’re really out there looking for power tools we can put in the hands of the analyst where they’ve been given hand tools in this environment in the past.”
Related Conference Highlights
The location of this year’s symposium in Tampa also is the headquarters location of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) and the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). CENTCOM and SOCOM commanders spoke at the symposium, highlighting the importance of GEOINT to their mission requirements and reflecting the symposium’s theme of “Operationalizing Intelligence for Global Missions.” GEOINT is the “coin of the realm” and is at the core of SOCOM’s operations, said Navy Adm. William McRaven, SOCOM commander.
“I realize there’s no such thing as a local problem,” explained McRaven. “Things that happen in Mali affect us. Things that happen in Algeria affect us. Things that happen in the Pacific, in Asia, they will affect us. They may not affect us this very minute, they may not affect us tomorrow, but sooner or later they are going to affect us, so we can’t ignore those problems. We have to look at the problem set globally. We have to have a global perspective.”
NGA staff also demonstrated capabilities for Map of the World and the NGA App Store and concepts behind Activity-Based Intelligence in the exhibit hall at a government kiosk space shared with counterparts from the Defense Intelligence Agency and National Reconnaissance Office.
Logan Schwartz, systems engineer in NGA’s Xperience directorate, was one of the NGA staff manning the agency’s kiosk in the exhibit hall. According to Schwartz, the value of NGA’s symposium presence demonstrates the agency means business when it comes to GEOINT.
“We want to engage our partners, we want to be out there,” said Schwartz. “We want to be forward leaning, we want to change the way we acquire new technologies and get them into the enterprise.”
Editor’s Note: Thanks to the NGA Pathfinder staff for their assistance with this column.
By Nancy McGillicuddy, Office of Corporate Communications, National Geospatial-
Intelligence Agency (www.nga.mil), Springfield, Va.
NGA’s Map of the World is an environment where all geospatial intelligence (GEOINT)-related and multisource content is integrated and available to users. It is the foundation for intelligence integration, according to NGA Director Letitia A. Long, and NGA has made tremendous progress making the Map of the World a reality during the last year. Map of the World will comprise 12 different data views, and nine of them are online now, including maritime and aeronautical.
“As we integrate these views and add analysts’ observations, we can deliver deeper analysis more quickly than ever before,” says Long.
As the Map of the World continues to evolve, NGA knows it is building more than just a map, according to John Goolgasian, director of NGA’s Foundation GEOINT Group.
“It is the foundation for intelligence, information and knowledge to be anchored, integrated, presented, accessed and analyzed,” explains Goolgasian. “Through a single point on the Earth, the Map of the World will present an integrated view of collection assets from across the community, mapping information for military operations; GEOINT observations; and NGA analytic products, data and models.”