From Federal News Radio —
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has experienced more changes over the past decade than all the other 16 intelligence agencies in the U.S. government.
Geospatial information intelligence was essentially spawned in the technology boom that led to big data, mobility and cloud computing raised the stature and importance of the NGA to both the intelligence and Defense Department Communities.
This was brought out in a recent press release about the NGA’s commitment to GIS at the ESRI Federal GIS Conference in Washington.
“We are no longer doing business as usual. The work around us is changing rapidly, and NGA is changing with it,” said Letitia Long, director of NGA, Tuesday at the ESRI Federal GIS Conference in Washington. “We are transforming from a traditional provider of products, static maps, charts and analytic products into a dynamic content and services provider. As the provider of this dynamic geospatial intelligence, we deliver advanced analysis. We drive integrated intelligence. We are constantly evolving our critical geospatial content and at the same time offering expert services to all of our many customers.”
Part of that transformation is entering phase three of the evolution of geospatial information services (GIS). Phase one according to Long, was all about coordinatino, where users could bring together disconnected data and systems to solve a problem. At this stage the data was still siloed and segmented and there was not much going on with information sharing.
The intelligence community moved into phase two called “connection” during the late 1990s.
Long said this is where the community moved past coordination by connecting the different disciplines and fostering mutual support among them. She said the data still wasn’t integrated, but at least there was collaboration.
The intelligence community, led by NGA, now is in the early stages of phase three, called “integration.” Long said these efforts and capabilities depend on the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise (ICITE) initiative.
Long said all of these phases are part of a historic shift that NGA and the intel community are going through. She said the intel community could move into phase four over the next five years.
Meanwhile, NGA is leading the way in phase three with four new capabilities launched in the last six months.
All four are dependent on one another and integrated through ICITE.
Long said NGA moved first to open IT standards starting in 2011. This included operating in the cloud and focusing on customer satisfaction and efficiencies.
The second capability is called Map of the World. This is to be the home for all geoint related content, data, knowledge, reporting and analysis. It will provide a seamless, integrated environment for analysts to integrate all their data about anything.
The NGA Map of the World includes classified geospatial content about maritime and air safety and imagery data. Its content also is tailored for DoD and intelligence senior decision makers which differentiates it from other Map type approaches. Intelligence analysts can access the Map of the World through the Globe, a Web portal that will become the entry point for all intelligence data.