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GEOINT 2012: Getting Smarter on Spending Limited Resources

Last month, the SST-US team exhibited at GEOINT 2012, America’s largest gathering of intelligence professionals in Orlando, Florida.
James Clapper speaking at GEOINT 2012
This ninth symposium welcomed a diverse range of intelligence professionals, with 264 exhibitors and 4300 attendees from 26 countries. The conference theme was innovation, and Stu Shea, the chairman and CEO of the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF), laid down the challenge with the words “getting smarter on spending limited resources.” If the SST-US booth was anything to go by, cost-effective innovation was the order of the day – we were busy discussing new approaches to delivering geospatial data for end users throughout the week and our brochures were flying off the rack.  Here are some of our highlights from GEOINT 2012.

One of GEOINT’s keynote speakers, James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, congratulated the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) on its sixteenth birthday. Clapper went on to draw an interesting parallel between intelligence professionals and motorcyclists. Using Robert Pirsig’s best-selling philosophy book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance as a reference point, Clapper noted, “There's profound wisdom that comes from old bikers – in life, and for intelligence.” He used this comparison to highlight the value of a close-knit band of allies across the world. Continuing the theme of innovation, he emphasized the importance of combining the “science” with “art” to deliver quality in geospatial intelligence.

Director of the NGA Letitia Long spoke about the challenges of data licensing and management, emphasizing a need for mobile commercial application development to increase from 20% to 80%, reversing the current trend for NGA to develop applications in house. Long also said that the use of commercial imagery would continue to remain an “enduring part of the architecture.”

On the third day of the conference a DigitalGlobe project funded by Hollywood actor and political activist George Clooney won the 2012 Industry Intelligence Award. The Satellite Sentinel Project uses satellite imagery to deter mass atrocities along the border between Sudan and South Sudan.

In a similar theme, the Intelligence Achievement Award was awarded to the U.S. Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command JPAC for its work in recovering information about missing personnel from past wars using satellite imagery.

Jeff Harris, Credit USGIF.Continuing the topic of innovation, Jeff Harris, retired corporate VP of Lockheed-Martin and former director of the NRO, was the master of ceremonies for GEOINT’s final day. Harris engaged attendees by explaining how he had seen innovation “make the ordinary extraordinary,” which he likened to a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat.  We at SST-US believe innovation is alive and well, and we look forward to playing our part in cutting the costs of delivering geospatial intelligence solutions by offering an alternative approach. 

One of the great things about GEOINT is that it connects the suppliers of geospatial solutions, the application developers, and the users from the field. This was typified at the Service Roundtable later that morning, which brought together USAF’s Lieutenant General Larry James, the U.S. Army’s Major Stephen Fogarty, the U.S. Navy’s Rear Admiral Sandy Daniels, and the U.S. Marine Corps’ Mr. Phillip Chudoba. Discussion included the discovery and sharing of data, and the move towards a new Data Common Ground System (DCGS) that integrates different geo intelligence networks.  The participants also commented on how commercial data is helping coalition operations – and its use for maritime domain awareness with 30-minute timelines. 

Later that day General Keith Alexander, Director of NSA and Commander of U.S. Cyber Command focused on hacking.  It’s a little outside the scope of our space-probing blog, but it’s incredible to think that we go about our business sending 419 billion emails on average per day and conduct 4.7 billion Google searches – yet according to Alexander 72% of people have been hacked, and most without knowing it.  He also said that there are 75 million pieces of malware in the world, with 1.5 million created in the past ten months alone.

Thank you to everyone we spoke to at GEOINT 2012. We look forward to seeing you at GEOINT’s tenth anniversary conference in Tampa in 2013.


08 November 20120 Comments1 Comment

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