Home Geospatial Applications Miscellaneous ‘Location info to spur growth of geospatial industry’

‘Location info to spur growth of geospatial industry’

San Antonio, US: This is a fascinating time for the geospatial industry as location information becomes more available and more important to everything that goes on throughout the intelligence, defence, homeland security communities and beyond, observed Keith Masback, USGIF president, on the first day of GEOINT 2011 in San Antonio, US. Masback said, “The technology is maturing quickly, and the training and tradecraft that are at the heart of USGIF’s mission are catching up to the technology. The uses and applications of these technologies are far-reaching and remarkable.”

“The industry remains strong, as does interest in every aspect of it, from remote sensing to the analysis and production of information associated with that remotely sensed data, whether from airborne, manned or unmanned, or space platforms,” Masback continued. “The analysis and production using that information, and all its uses to support intelligence operations, are all very critical. Commanders and decision makers at every level are not going to make decisions without this information. They’re expecting to see it, and for it to be timely, accurate, relevant and available, when, how and where they need it. That is sparking a lot of innovation and hard work in the industry. That’s indicative of how strong this industry is and how relevant it is to national security.”

Looking back at the progress of the industry over the past year, Masback pointed in particular to the expanded work that has occurred on motion imagery standards. As the community has come together under the leadership of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the Open Geospatial Consortium, he said, these motion imagery standards for the proliferation of sensors and platforms have provided a framework to make it more useful.

“As these sensors and platforms were being developed, there was a bit of a Wild West environment,” he recalled. “It was all well intentioned, with people wanting to get great technology out into the field and into the hands of people who could apply it in supporting national security. But there needed to be standards to make all this information more readily accessible and sharable. The standards are really now coming into their own, as people recognise the critical nature of adopting those standards and building to them.”

A second key development has been the continued strengthening of understanding of the importance of information sharing. “Under the leadership of Director of National Intelligence Clapper, the idea of a responsibility to share, versus the need to know, has become engrained,” Masback added.

“GEOINT provides the where, as part of the ‘where and when’ that makes intelligence information valuable. It’s one of the organizing principles for integration. So it seemed natural for us, with this consistent focus by the leadership on intelligence integration and sharing, that we would support that with the idea of forging integrated intelligence,” he added.

A third trend has been the tremendous amount of innovation. “There are a lot of uncertainties in this economy, and where we’re headed on defense, intelligence and homeland security spending,” Masback acknowledged. “But one thing that is certain is that these technologies are incredibly relevant and in demand. That excitement and interest are sparking tremendous innovation in the field, and we’re excited to feature that in our Exhibit Hall this year.” He singled out the ongoing work in bringing GEOINT data and information to handheld devices as a recent “game changer” in the field.