US: The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency this week joined GitHub, a popular social network that allows programmers to collaborate and share computer code between users. NGA began by sharing its code for GeoQ, a tool the agency developed to assist with Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Recovery (HADR) efforts.
The tool was further refined in partnership with FEMA and has since begun to be used as the backbone of a shared disaster response solution across the US government and first-responder community. GeoQ enables analysts to review imagery from different sources simultaneously, rather than sequentially, which results in much faster damage assessments and better prioritization of limited first-responder resources in a time-sensitive environment.
Participating on GitHub will make it possible for other organisations to benefit from the agency’s development efforts. In return, NGA hopes to reap benefits in innovation, creativity, and the power of a far-reaching community of programmers who approach the development of the program from different perspectives.