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Experts explore ways to utilise yottabytes of data

UK: Do you know that there are nearly 1.85 million close-circuit cameras in UK today? And by 2015, the world is going to produce yottabytes (1024 bytes) of data. Well, these and several such astonishing facts came to light at DGI 2012 where experts from around the world gathered to discuss the challenges facing the geospatial community in today’s world. 
One of the biggest challenges facing the community is the ability to analyse the vast amounts of data generated by various sensors. Little wonder then, that exploitation and analysis of geospatial information was the topic that was widely debated at the event. “We need an ability to bend together multi-intelligence from multi-sources, fuse them into an intelligent product and provide those products to soldiers,” said Major Matthew H Jones, MoD Operations Directorate – Afghan CCT, UK MoD. 
“Intelligence operations have changed in the last decade and it’s changing now. We need technology that is going to give us better insight/ understanding of a situation, and hence enhance our intelligence,” said Lt. Gen Michael Maples, US Army (retd), Chairman of the Board, Intergraph Government Solutions (IGS), adding, “Geospatial technology improves our situational awareness by providing us information about a particular area. Fusion of this kind of information is important. We need to exploit the technology further to better our capabilities.”
“Information dominance is a critical success factor in modern military conflicts. Information dominance relies on an information plan – what information is required for a mission, who is responsible for producing that information, who needs the information and for what purpose,” said Bert Tiems, Chief C2 and Operations services, C3 Agency, NATO. He also stressed on a need to build common standards. “At present, we are having two types of standards – GIS standards and C2 standards. There is a need to build a bridge between the two.” 
“Standards are what will enable us to process and utilise the multi-int capabilities better,” said Lt. Gen Maples. “We need to bring together all the information in a coherent manner.” 
Talking about the growing importance of geoint in today’s environment, Robert B Murrett, Deputy Director, Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT), said, “Intelligence engagement and alliances matter more now. Geospatial intelligence, in all its dimensions, is a very important factor. It aids leadership and enables the most informed choices for decision makers. It helps in maintaining focus on strategic matter,” he said.
Experts also drew attention to the advantages that geoint capabilities have bought in the warzone. Some of the capabilities highlighted were – Insight and foresight (the power to predict what might happen next based on facts gathered), threat management, providing decision and operational support, targeting, enhanching surveillance and improving response with the help of SAR (search and rescue) satellites, and elements of intelligence (environmental, human analysis and insurgency).
“SAR provides us dawn-to-dusk and all weather capability. It has also improved our response time to emergencies and such situations,” said Marcello Maranesi, Senior Vice President, TELESPAZIO group of Geo Information Business Unit and Chief Executive Officer, e-GEOS, during a panel discussion. The topic for the discussion was ‘Enhancing Your Surveillance and Response Capability’. Some of the issues raised by the panel were – there is a need to build collaborative environment in critical areas of service, integrate satellite data with other source data, and employ more sensors for improved situational awareness.
Talking about the future of the technology, experts were of the opinion that future belongs to cloud and apps. While many appeared excited with NGA’s vision of enabling geoint in a soldier’s hands by way of mobile technology, some expressed apprehensions about so much dependence on technology. “We have to ensure that our soldiers look ahead and are not always glued to phone,” said Lt. Gen Maples. 
“What lies ahead is greater, more complex threats, different budgetary constraints. New challenges will require enhanced multi-int,” said Lt. Gen Michael Maples, adding, “We have to exploit technology in such a way that right information is provided to the right person and for right purpose.”
There was also a panel discussion wherein experts discussed the future requirements and growth of multi-int and expressed a need to strengthen collaboration between the defence forces and the industry. “There’s a need to encourage partnership between the two. This will aid in the research and thus help us build new and better products in this sector,” said Lt Col Neil Marks, Chief Geospatial Officer, NATO Joint Force Command Naples, NATO. Meanwhile, Richard Hermann, Deputy Director, Army Geospatial Center, raised an interesting point when he said that military and industry needs to work together to build common standards. 
Source: Our correspondent