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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

From the Exhibit Hall: GEOINT Symposium 2016

May 26th, 2016 by Susan Smith

The GEOINT Symposium 2016 attracted a great many exhibitors all focused on providing excellent resources for the geo-intelligence community. Tools for mobility, analytics, cloud, open source, business and location intelligence, moving data back and forth between unclassified and top security listings, and much more abound in this showcase of commercial offerings.

IMG_5117John Timar, vice president, Worldwide Sales, for TerraGO, said the focus on their products is on mobility. TerraGO Edge is their cloud platform. Within that platform are Smartforms that are based on conditional logic, and allow users to inspect transportation infrastructure based on selections made. The forms provide the information you need in a question and answer format that include conditional logic.

The mobile platform is open and not tethered to a particular database or GIS system. The company launched TerraGO Edge last year at this time and it is the first time they have demonstrated it at GEOINT.


IGAPP, a product of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), connects app developers with government customers to provide them with a mobile experience that more closely matches their expectations. Rather than developing and procuring apps on a project-by-project basis, IGAPP connects end-users to a qualified pool of registered app developers.

IGAPP makes it possible for commercial companies to provide products that meet government specifications. Timar explained that the code has to be scanned for threats and has to have a business model that works for the government. The products are mission-specific on a secure network.

IGAPP Award Presentation

IGAPP Award Presentation

TerraGO has gone through this process, and as a commercial company, when they publish to Google and Apple they also publish to IGAPP. Google and Apple have a way to bring people to your app, said Timar, but the question still remains how that may happen with the government.

Diffeo, founded by MetaCarta founder John Frank, is a two-year old company that provides autonomous tools for tracking how people interact with machines, i.e., the contact area between human and machine intelligence.

In looking at an island of the China Sea, Sansha, the system generates recommendations of content that can be used to improve an article on the subject. There is no keyword search. Diffeo is competing head on with Google but takes on hard search challenges such as cyber threat, supply chain risk management and multi-tier vendor analyses.

George Heilmier who ran DARPA found journalists’ information would have so much data, that it was necessary to run rich text analytics and run it on user’s documents while they were writing. This way you could find things you didn’t know to search for.


Diffeo has a new set of tools for OneNote in Microsoft Office. An example of a search would be seeking information on the Lomonosov Ridge, an unusual underwater ridge of continental crust in the Arctic Ocean that touches on the Continental Shelf and has rich oil reserves. By building queries to the search engine to get data, they could broaden the search to pull in more data that the system prioritizes. As new ones arise, they slide into place. Russia, Denmark and Canada have all made claims on this location. Russia wants to have more shipping lanes in the Arctic and there is a military buildup occurring there, with 6,000 soldiers in place to control the Arctic.

“How do you pose questions about this?” asked Frank. “How can we measure if this did anything? By chaining through mentions of concepts in the data, we can query if there is interest in these military bases.”

The Diffeo tools also work with relationships. In a discussion of a Chinese political leader plus the boat that brings supplies, called “the ship of life”, the relationship with the boat can be explored, as the system aggregates the relationship. The system is also valuable for tracking cyber-criminals by following the leads of personal information left by people attacked by malware, making it easier to find who is behind it.

In a conversation with president and CEO of Vricon, Magnus Brege, we discussed how Vricon is producing the entire globe in 3D at 0.5m resolution and with an absolute accuracy of 3m SE90 (Spherical Error 90%).

Mecca (satellite imagery)

Mecca (satellite imagery)

“We leverage unique 3D image processing algorithms with high-resolution satellite imagery to create highly accurate, photorealistic 3D products and elevation data of the earth in open data formats.” Said Brege.  In addition Vricon’s algorithms can be applied to any satellite source data to create immersive 3D environments to meet critical mission needs.

They are building the globe at a geocell level (an area bounded by one degree of latitude and longitude) using a fully automated process, leveraging the entire DigitalGlobe archive which is more than 80 petabytes and growing every day. “With a 3D globe, customers will have access to a photorealistic, commercially available foundation to which all events or activates can be geo-referenced,” said Brege, “this also can be used to provide solutions like GPS-denied navigation.”

The company is the result of a joint venture between DigitalGlobe Inc, a US company, and SAAB AB, a Swedish company. The new company is headquarter in McLean, Virginia and produces the globe in 3D in a state of the art commercial datacenter in northern Virginia.  They plan to produce 2M square km of 3D data per month.  For comparison, the entire area of the two countries of Iraq and Afghanistan is roughly 1.1M square km.

Cloudera is a commercial software company that is the largest distributor of Apache Hadoop, and a market leader in multiple segments of the Hadoop market. Cloudera is committed to the Apache Open Source Foundation. The pace of innovation in open source is very fast. Key points of Cloudera include: natively multi-INT, infinitely scalable, extensible and open source.

More use cases are brought on to the Hadoop platform under Cloudera, including geospatial. The company is not specific to geospatial but because of scalability, Hadoop’s native multi-intelligence allows for fused analytics for activity based intelligence, situational awareness and predictive analysis.

Hadoop is both a data and compute framework that is open and extensible. Cloudera has over 2,000 ecosystem partners, and can be applied against mission critical data. Cloudera’s partners “allow the magic to happen.”

“The bulk of our business is intelligence because we can do fused intelligence and can infuse disparate data (INTS).

Senior vice president Chris Bellios of Cubic said Cubic created a simulator to offer Virtual Training Systems using ISR imagery. They offer real time FMV and networking. Cubic provides a video context with metadata and is the second most active site within the situational awareness group. The product has commercial applicability as well.

Game based training allows the company to customize information. “We gamify intelligence problems and lead analysts through a game, and how to figure out whether the participants are civilian or military,” said Bellios. This brings life to training techniques.

Cubic recently acquired GATR, manufacturer of the inflatable 2.4 meter satellite antenna for the military only.

Vencore ABI is a fully open sourced unclassified way to monitor open source in traditional GEOINT. Geography lends itself to how we procure information, said Patrick Biltgen, technical director for the Analytics Intelligence Group. In a partnership with Praescient Analytics, Vencore and Praescient Analytics Reporter look at social media including photos and videos. Instead of pulling in every tweet, they created specific agents to look for specific information.

Charlie Caris, analyst consultant of Praescient, looked at tweets in Syria that were posted in the Russian language, for example. “Even when people are trying to keep their signature low, it’s still there,” he said. Vencore could identify where the people were and where the Russian equipment was located in the Syrian desert.

“Our ABI is about using open source,” said Caris. “You must visualize cyber in order to fight it. Cyber is changing and morphing around us.”

Tresys has the ability to move data from top security to unclassified. This was their first time exhibiting at GEOINT, according to Jackson Kemper III, senior vice president, Sales and Business Development.

Theirs is the only NSA-certified secure gap transfer solution. Their XD Air looks at a thumb drive or CD to check for malware, and they can look for messages in PDF files with their “kiosk” solution.

XD Bridge is available in the U.S. XD Guardian Global Services Business is available worldwide. The company is a large contributor to the SE Linus Forum.

Example of a small satellite similar to those used by LGS Innovations

Example of a small satellite similar to those used by LGS Innovations

Ray Ivie, president of the Engineering & Integration Services Group at LGS Innovations, said the company has a long heritage with Bell Labs. They recently purchased Axios, a traditional networking group.

As the radio frequency is getting more crowded, the company is engaged in spectrum management. Bluetooth and wireless is in big demand with the government. LGS allows the Department of Defense to see what’s going on the spectrum.

“LGS’ Code Guardian can look at source code and correct it, diversity it. Each agency can have different codes and make it hard to hack,” said Ivie.

Secure Mobile-to-Mobile internet security protocol is encrypted and moving so that it’s hard to trace and to hack, intercept, or listen in on.

Axios brings to the table mission operations support, analytic software and developing software platforms for JCID. The DoD framework is plug-in sensors JCID 4.2 that offers a common language and brings in different sensors.

As was mentioned in an early GEOINT report, the NGA wants better access to Silicon Valley and academia. They have offered a $25,000 prize called the IGAPP Challenge through TASC/Engility.

Because of federal agency regulations, it is tough to bid on government efforts. Currently, it takes 18 months to acquisition. Now with the acquisition of TASC by Engility in 2014, they can document it in the government footprint, bringing the cost from $400,000 for acquisition to $5,000, in as little as one month.

Engility has over 300 leads for Silicon Valley companies who want to play with the NGA. 60 applications are being considered, in the develop, test or negotiation phase.

The government doesn’t have to pay for R&D, the industry pays for those costs. The NGA only pays for what they use.

TASC/Engility looked at each system of the government and came up with the following needs:

  • Retain end user data quality
  • Alleviate duplication of data
  • Moving to the cloud – data driven approach.

Bringing the two companies together allows them to address these problems and to sell ideas at a good price point for the government.

Joe Francica, managing director of Geospatial Industry Solutions, Digital Commerce Solutions for Pitney Bowes talked about the company’s focus on the launch of horizontal location intelligence.

“We define ‘geoenrichment’ as appending customer data,” said Francica. “We can’t map unless we geocode.”

Pitney Bowes has a deep background in geocoding. Their Master Location data is a pre-geocoded dataset that serves as the foundation for the U.S. market, with U.S. addresses to use as a data factory for datasets. They can append more data to create vertical datasets. Currently the dataset has 140 million addresses with over 200 attributes with 20 different data products. The plan is to extend this beyond the U.S.

Location intelligence for business intelligence is another big area for Pitney Bowes for which they offer Spectrum Spatial for Business Intelligence. Their Commerce Cloud as SAAS offerings, Geo APIs, geocoding, mapping data for which the target audience is software developers.

MapInfo Pro Advanced now offers raster image processing, a new file format for raster, lossless rasterization, which prevents the loss of spatial resolution.

Predictive Customer Analytics serves the big data market. One of the four major telcos uses their map. Telco is a major market for Pitney Bowes, and as long as the analytics includes lat/long, any sensor device can be used.

“It doesn’t matter who the client is, whether it’s for public safety, military, etc., precision geocoding is important,” said Francica.

It is heartening to see the U.S. government’s interest in Silicon Valley and the commercial vendor community, reflected in the offerings on the Exhibit Hall. GEOINT 2016 demonstrated recognition of the commercial sector’s huge R&D resources and flexibility which in the end, may be able to raise GEOINT to greater levels of responsiveness, analytics and broader reach and focus than in the past.

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Categories: 3D designs, 3D PDF, analytics, ArcGIS, asset management, Big Data, climate change, cloud, CRADA, crowd source, data, developers, DigitalGlobe, disaster relief, drones, emergency response, FEMA, geocoding, geoinformatics, geospatial, GIS, iPhone, laser radar, LBS, mapping, mobile, NGA, NOAA, Open Source, OpenGeo, OpenGeo Suite, Pitney Bowes, small sats, TerraGo, transportation, Trimble, UAS, UAV, UAVs

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