The GEOINT 2015 Symposium hosted by USGIF returns and this time it is located in Washington DC. The symposium in 2013 was delayed due to budget impacts to the government until Spring of 2014 in which the conference was still called GEOINT 2013* but with an asterisk to reflect representation of the two years combined event. This year with over 5500 registered attendees and 1600 registered federal attendees, an increase of 10-15% from last year, the conference offers more opportunities for networking and geospatial awareness than previous years.

One Attendee, Trent Wakenight, highlighted many of the keynotes and their points through creative graphic recordings. Below are  a few that summarize the keynotes...

To see the Keynote Videos for yourself USGIF has them posted here: https://vimeo.com/trajectoryonlocation/videos

NGA's Pathfinder Program was announced by NGA's Director Cardillo. Pathfinder will be an unclassified lab to answer key intelligence questions using open source data. The project will operate through a network of in-house labs, off-site locations and telework, all of which will be interconnected through a secure collaborative service. The GEOINT Pathfinder team will consist of a cross-discipline group of data scientists, application developers, open source researchers, methodologists and analysts culled from the agency as well National System for Geospatial-Intelligence and Allied System for Geospatial-Intelligence partners.

“We must drive the synergy of our new unclassified sources and our sophisticated classified sources to enable more exquisite insights and understanding on the new, higher open playing field,” said NGA Director Robert Cardillo.”This shift requires major changes in every aspect of our discipline. Classified sources, methods and networks will always have value in our agency and to our customers, but we cannot always view unclassified information as supplemental,” said Cardillo. “Moving forward the reverse is more likely to be true – that which is exquisite, but classified will supplement an ever broader and richer unclassified base.”

Activity Based Intelligence was not as much as a buzz word as last year but the concept is as strong as ever with different speakers and products aiming towards anticipatory collection of satellite imagery and interacting with Structured Observation Management (SOM) of object databases. Analytic Modeling programs are more common and slowly becoming a norm as contractors are aiming to create efficiencies in the workflow of analysts throughout the Intelligence Community.

Exhibit Floor

NerVve - We stopped by the NerVve booth after how impressed we were after last year's demo to check to see if they had any updates. A quick reminder and background, NerVve is an In-Q-Tel funded company that made its name last year at GEOINT by demonstrating object recognition software for video and imagery libraries with machine learning on top that to improve the results over time. Overall they didn't have any major updates but we did inquire about the management of objects such as if they had a common object library. They said they do not and rely on each customer to have their users develop their own object models from scratch each time. This is one area NerVve could improve their business models by offering customers a common object model library to work off of.

Leidos had an interesting product called GLIMPS. It was based around using data sources such as the  Global Database of Events, Language, and Tone database (GDELT) and using it to derive a score applied to a global grid indicating where high interest areas around the world are. The dataset was described as being updated annually and distributed as a service to help NGA determine where they might focus their analysis efforts in the following year.

ESRI teased their upcoming product ArcGIS Earth. At first glance this is ArcGIS Explorer overhauled but the business strategy is to scoop up the void about to be created by the deprecation of various geospatial products by Google to include Map Engine and Google Earth Enterprise. ArcGIS Earth will be a 3D light weight client that will be very KML friendly along with other formats such as CSV and Shapefiles. This is a huge change from ArcGIS Explorer which acted primarily like visualization program. Google Earth compared slightly better than ArcGIS with point and line creation, KML management, along with CSV import put it slightly ahead of ArcExplorer. This new product maybe a game changer for ESRI as Google Earth slowly leaves the stage with lack of support from Google and no major updates to its capabilities in years. According to their website, http://www.esri.com/landing-pages/arcgis-earth, the product will be released to Windows users first with plans for other devices and OS platforms down the road. 

Orbit Logic showcased a new version of its mobile application, SpyMeSat. Before the application just showed where and when a satellite would be passing over your current location. With the updates the app now lets you order imagery of a 1km2 or a 2km2 area at the cheap price of $20-$40. It even allows you to task a satellite for $500. Users buy the imagery simply through Google Wallet on Android Devices. Traditionally satellite imagery cost anywhere between $1000-$3000 per image. Orbit Logic has managed to bring imagery to consumers while bringing more market value to archived imagery. 

Mappt was kind enough to allow us to interview them on their product. They offer a mobile solution to mapping that allows users to create, edit, store and share spatial information while disconnected networks. Primarily designed for tablets a user can go out to remote locations and map their surroundings by dropping points or taking geotagged pictures of the area. Mapping data created by the application can be synced when the application reconnects to a network. Checkout more about Mappt's mobile application here: http://mappt.com.au/

Map Story, http://www.MapStory.org, provides a free and open source platform for organizing data about how the world changes over time and space. Users create webmaps of from uploaded Geospatial data. The platform allows them to visualize the data in a way that tells a story about the data and enables the user to embed the Webmaps in their websites or share them. Ideal for journalists, researchers, and Educators this service can be comparred to a non-profit open alternative to MapBox.

GEOMAKERS an collaborative community of volunteers and enthusiastic makers that  dream, build and implement open source Maker’s projects that involve mapping, remote sensing, navigating, and understanding our world geographically. The group had a booth at GEOINT showing off some of their maker projects while encouraging passing participants to get involved. Maker communities are an excellent way to innovate on a private level but can lead to out of the box innovations in the industry as a whole.

Education and Training

This year USGIF beta testing their new certification program offering analysts who attended the conference two tests, one focused on Remote Sensing and the other for GIS. The tests are designed to help USGIF refine the certification process and gain efficiency in testing professionals on skill sets that mirror real on-demand professional knowledge base of industry experts. As they are continuing to refine their program they continue to ask for more beta testers. For more information on USGIF Education and Training or If you are interested in becoming a beta tester for their certification program you can contact Darryl.Murdock@usgif.org.

Wrap-up

Next year the GEOINT Symposium will be back in Orlando, Florida at the Gaylord Resort. Our presence this year at GEOINT was low as we are restructuring our website and content but we look forward to seeing everyone in Florida and plan to cover more topics just as we did at previous GEOINT Symposiums.

Sources:

NGA Pathfinder Press Release: https://www1.nga.mil/MediaRoom/PressReleases/Pages/2015-07.aspx

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