SatNews] Robert Cardillo, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, highlighted potential areas for collaboration between the agency and industry during a speech January 21 at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance leadership dinner.
GEOINT organizations should cooperate to democratize geospatial information, deliver more anticipatory intelligence, and boost data security through identity and access management, Cardillo said. He cited NGA’s new online portal GEOINT Solutions Marketplace, which allows professionals to share their ideas with the NGA.
According to Cardillo, two factors are driving the democratization: the rapidly spreading geography of the Internet and the “darkening of the skies” by smallsats and new airborne collectors.
“First, the rapidly spreading geography of the Internet—as more people carry more handheld devices to more places—and the emerging Internet of Things demonstrate what you and I have long known: Everything, everyplace, everyone exists in a time and a place. Their dependence on their georeference makes what we do—spatio-temporal analysis—the bridge to the future of commerce, cooperation, transparency and security. We look at questions from a broad geographic point of view. We use geospatial data to analyze questions with scientific methods that give unique perspectives grounded in reality.
“Second, the skies—really space—will darken with hundreds of smallsats to be launched by Skybox, Planet Labs, BlackSky and others. The questions that arise from the persistence of geospatial data streaming from hundreds of satellites covering the earth multiple times a day are staggering. The challenges of taking advantage of that data are daunting. We cannot afford—nor need—to store it all, so will we have to go to an “imagery as a service” model and buy only what we need when we need it? This will be less about the images and more about the derived information or analytics.”And these are only the beginning of the questions we must answer—or even know to ask—about the impact of the smallsat revolution. What questions can we answer with daily coverage of the planet? What choices will our adversaries make with daily coverage of the planet? How will we maintain decision advantage in such a playing field?”
Despite the security challenges, he said the NGA aims to take an active role to maintain public confidence in the intelligence community’s efforts to safeguard privacy and security. He also credited the agency for its work to provide digital access to Ebola-related unclassified information, encourage development of geospatial applications through open sourcing and crowdsourcing programs.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency infosite is located at https://www.nga.mil/