Home Articles DGI 2013: Geoint in nation building

DGI 2013: Geoint in nation building

<< DGI 2013 was held at London recently and was attended by more than 800 people from over 40 countries >>

Geoint in nation building, reconstruction and security was the theme for DGI 2013 conference and exhibition, London, which for the first time, was a three-day event, the additional day focusing on North America. It was attended by around 800 professionals from over 40 countries, and close to 30 companies showcased their products and solutions.

The day brought together major geospatial players from the region to network, present their cases and discuss future plans. North America has the largest number of geospatial intelligence professionals and is also the largest market for both commercial and government products and services. Experts described the world class geoint being conducted in the US and Canada. Among the issues discussed was the use of social media for geoint support and how to build a unified and integrated database for all types of operations. Professionals from the US National Ice Centre and the Canadian Ice Service described the marine geoint requirements in ice infested waters. Though discussions were focused on North America, participants from across the world got an opportunity to benefit from the experiences.

In his keynote address Jack Dangermond, Founder and President, Esri, explained how geography is a platform for understanding our complex and very rapidly changing world. “GIS is at a major turning point,” he said. New technologies are extending GIS into a platform (cloud) and providing a new architecture. This platform facilitates the integration of all types of information. It provides geospatial capabilities across the organisation, enabling everyone to access and use GIS – a framework for sharing and collaboration. Geoint applications are growing rapidly – mapping, charting, data management, analysis and dissemination.

Olympics 2012 London was a major multi-sport event with over 200 nations and 10,000 athletes participating for a fortnight. This was followed by Paralympics which had a participation of around 4,000 atheletes. In addition, there were a large number of spectators, officials, logistics and support staff. The task of conducting the games and ensuring security was stupendous. Vanessa Lawrence, Director General and Chief Executive, Ordnance Survey UK, described the contribution of the geospatial community in ensuring the safety and security of the games. Lt Kendal Moran, Royal Engineers, explained the nuances of providing operational geographic support to the Joint Military Command and the Metropolitan Police, particularly in the areas of traffic and for route management and security threat assessment based on demographic analysis.

Discussing the future of geoint in maritime environment, Vice Adm Robert B. Murret, former director of NGA, spoke about the various mission sets for geoint – ship monitoring and reporting, surveillance and border protection, fisheries and environment protection and search and rescue. He emphasised the strategic importance of the maritime domain and the need for readiness for unanticipated challenges, both from civil maritime requirements and military operations.

John Allan, exactEarth, explained how Satellite AIS(S-AIS) provides rich comprehensive data and is a key component of the global effort to achieve Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA). Guy Thomas, C-SIGMA, explained the concept of Collaboration in Space for Global Maritime Awareness and the progress so far.

Nowadays with multiple intelligence gathering, organisations and sources, imagery and data is growing exponentially. Too much data can be as problematic as too little data and clients are unable to realise potential, particularly where actionable intelligence should be available in near real-time to benefit operations. How do we better enable operators and analysts to leverage robust collection systems and data rich enterprises to optimise intelligence production? James P. Dolan from Textron Systems, and Nazlin Kanji from General Dynamics, suggested that the intelligence value of big data can be maximised by deploying flexible, automated, multiintelligence workflow management capabilities. Discussing the future, Paul O’Hanlon from HP, argued that the cloud model is relevant even in the geoint environment.

A highlight of the conference was the Guest Keynote Address by General Sir Peter Wall, Chief of the General Staff, UK Army, who spoke about the challenges of geospatially enabling every military operation. He gave his vision for UK Army’s implementation of geoint capabilities into its processes and strategy.

The event drew professionals and users from across the globe, with participants from industry, government, academia and the military. Emerging technologies in geointelligence, their applications and case-studies were shared and discussed.