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Maps are becoming apps: DGI 2012

London, UK: “Maps are becoming apps. Today, data is a commodity and apps must be readily available to users; for users, nowadays, are tech savvy customers, collaborators, contributors and creators,” said Barry Barlow, Head of Acquisitions, NGA. Barlow was speaking at the DGI 2012, which began in city on Tuesday. Speaking about “The current and future role of geoint in intelligence, defence and national security: Going from maps to apps,” he said, “We are trying to change the face of geoint. It’s about putting the power of geoint in your hands.”

While Barlow talked about the need to build new apps, John Day, Director, Global Defence Business Development, Esri, focused his talk about cloud-enabled geoint. “Is a cloud implementation right for you? Will a cloud solution improve your operational effectiveness?” asked Day. He advised the audience to ask these kind of questions to themselves and opt for these services when they are convinced that it will benefit them. Talking about advantages of using cloud in today’s environment, he said, “GIS capabilities are rapidly evolving in the cloud,” adding, “GIS is for everyone.”

Another interesting point that was discussed at the event was the need for exploitation of data. Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart William Peach, Commander Joint Forces Command, UK MoD, said, “Data overload must be addressed. Exploitation of data is a reality now.” He adviced his men in the country to adapt quickly to today’s technology trends to avoid any conflict with the future generation and also with the country’s soldiers who are using sophisticated technology to address challenges in Afghanistan.” He also spoke about the need to speed up the process of acquisition/ procurement in defence forces.

Echoing Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart William Peach’s views, H. John Oechsle, Executive Vice President Strategy, Product, DigitalGlobe, said, “Right now, we have vast amounts of data from multiple sources. Making sense of this data is a problem. But that’s also an opportunity,” he said, adding, “Tremendous new opportunities are emerging with integrated visualisation of complex data sets. By studying the past trends, we can anticipate future trends.” He, however, said that there is a need to quicken the process of data analysis.

However, the highlight of the day was the talk delivered by Eliza Manningham-Buller, Former Head, MI5. She spoke about how she revamped the organisation following 9/11, and how the agency was successful in averting major threats in the country. Talking about the challenges she encountered, Eliza Manningham-Buller said, “In intelligence, you must remember that by trying to manage risks, you cannot prevent all risks. Also, you must realise that it is not possible to know everything in advance, and everything cannot be prevented.” Talking about the changes that have taken place over the years, she said, “Earlier, only a few people in intelligence services were capable of using technology. But now knowledge of technology is a must for getting into intelligence – the person should be tech savvy.”

There was also a panel discussion on ‘Empowering the users to access data and make decisions – The role of online on-demand access to multi-int knowledge,’ wherein experts debated about the need to engage with the user and the necessity to build common standards. They further stressed upon the necessity to build applications which enable quick processing of data. The day also witnessed separate sessions on various topics like Creating new value through effective use of multi-int, Strategy and policy, Leveraging the use of geospatial information in collaboration for C2-processes, etc.

In fact, image exploitation and collaboration and analysis of huge volumes of geospatial data, is focus of exhibitors at the two-day seminar-cum-exhibition. More than 30 companies are showcasing their products at the event. The theme of this year’s event is ‘Empowering decisions through online on-demand access to multi-int knowledge and analysis.’

Source: Our Correspondent