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Posts Tagged ‘National Geospatial Intelligence Agency’

Most important geospatial advancements of 2014? What do you think?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

We’re almost at the end of the year and we’d like to hear from you, the readers, about what you think the most important geospatial advancements have been for 2014.

Esri CityEngine allows users to visualize both qualitative and quantitative impact of design scenarios, perfect for the integrative planning needs of those looking to develop vibrant, sustainable communities.

Esri CityEngine allows users to visualize both qualitative and quantitative impact of design scenarios, perfect for the integrative planning needs of those looking to develop vibrant, sustainable communities.


GameSim announces CRADA with the NGA

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

The notion of gaming and geospatial coming together has been explored for some time. Gaming simulation and GIS software provider GameSim Inc. announced a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. (NGA). This agreement will give credence to GameSim’s 3D environment with standards and data created and validated by the NGA.

In 2013, GameSim, ranked by Inc. Magazine as one of the 500 fastest growing companies in the U.S., introduced an innovative software product, Conform (, which generates a 3D representation of an environment from GIS data (vectors, elevation, and imagery) in near real-time. The integrated scene can be viewed in both 2D and 3D, or exported, into other run-time formats.

GameSim was interested in furthering their process of fusing together a single 3D environment by supporting additional data products (e.g., LiDAR, OTW video, and thermal video), to create a more accurate and rich 3D environment, while still maintaining near real-time performance. GameSim had previous experience working with these formats. The agreement with NGA through CRADA will provide the company with proper standards and data validated by NGA. In addition, GameSim and NGA will research the creation of a low bandwidth, browser-based visualization of that fused environment, according to GameSim company materials.

“We are creating a product that can fuse a variety of formats that adheres to established standards,” said Andrew Tosh, GameSim founder and president. “By collaborating with NGA it helps assure that GameSim produces a product that can meet the demands of the intelligence community, in terms of accessing their content and producing valuable visualizations.”


Special Blog Coverage of 3D Cities Coming in November!

Monday, October 20th, 2014

During the week of November 17th, GISCafe Voice will run a special feature blog on the topic, “3D Cities: Envisioning Communities of the Future.”

smarterbettercity_130021 (more…)

Special Coverage: Greater Clarity from Space — Update on Satellite Imagery

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Satellite imagery has undergone a paradigm shift in the past couple of years.


Airbus MOJ Tracker

Airbus MOJ Tracker


Reposting — New indepth coverage for September: Satellite Imaging

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Reposting: During the week of September 15th, GISCafe Voice will run a special feature blog on the topic, “Satellite Imaging.”


If you wish to have your company included, please let me know, Susan Smith at The Satellite Imaging Questionnaire will be sent to all companies who offer satellite imaging products and services, so that we may thoroughly cover all opportunities available. Or, you can print it yourself from this blog and email it to me.

At Esri UC, we heard about the launch of DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-3 from DigitalGlobe senior scientist, Product Development and Labs, Bill Baugh. This satellite will be especially helpful for mapping mineral mining.

WorldView-3 is superspectral and has 16 spectrums, and contains the overall structure of spectrum. “The bands coming in WorldView-3 will allow you to go after data you might not be able to go after normally,” said Baugh. “You’ll be able to see iron, rocks (short wave infrared) and steel infrastructure.”Additionally, with SWIR-6 you can see through the smoke from a fire, which would be valuable for crisis response, when you have to see what’s on the ground.

At the other end of the spectrum (excuse the pun), in 2009, a couple of Stanford grad students envisioned that they could “index the earth the way Google indexes the Internet.” This is how the radical satellite imaging company Skybox was born. And now Google has acquired the company. So I guess that’s where Google comes in: already there, in the way of indexing. And Skybox is already there in terms of providing the satellite. Last November the company launched its first mini-bar-sized satellite, SkySat-1 into orbit aboard a Russian Dnepr rocket. Plans are to launch eight more by the end of 2015. Skybox even has its own rocket.

I spoke to many of you at Esri UC, but I know there are many out there that I may have missed seeing. Please contact me at your earliest convenience to be included in the September coverage. Deadline for materials: September 1, 2014.

Satellite Imaging Questionnaire

NASA needs help from citizen science

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

A recent CNN report announced thatNASA is asking for the help of citizens in viewing hundreds of thousands of images taken from space over the years, from the 1960s Mercury missions to the present images snapped from the International Space Station.

North Korea is barely lit when juxtaposed with neighboring South Korea and China.
North Korea is barely lit when juxtaposed with neighboring South Korea and China.

Via The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth, NASA is making these images available for citizens to examine.

NASA says the hope is that the images “could help save energy, contribute to better human health and safety and improve our understanding of atmospheric chemistry. But scientists need your help to make that happen.”

The catalog contains more than 1.8 million photos, about 1.3 million of them from the space station and roughly 30% of them taken at night.

 Photos: International Space Station
NASA gets rare view of black hole
NASA tests supersonic parachute for Mars

Tyson on deep space exploration

The CNN report said that before 2003, night images from the space station could be blurry, even with high-speed film and manual tracking, because the station moves at about 17,500 mph. In that same year, astronaut Don Pettit used a drill and assorted parts he found on the station to cobble together a “barn-door tracker,” a lower-tech predecessor to the European Space Agency’s NightPod, which was installed at the space station nine years later.

According to the report, NightPod’s motorized tripod compensates for the space station’s speed, providing what NASA scientist William Stefanov says are the highest-resolution night images from orbit. Satellites collect data more regularly, but the photos tend to be lower resolution. “Now the pictures are clear, but their location may not be, which limits their usefulness,” the NASA news release says.

Citizen science has a better handle on location than the night images from the space station and satellite imagery. The Complutense University of Madrid is spearheading efforts to get citizen input and organize the photos.  They have broken down the  the images into three components requiring different levels of participation:

1. Dark skies. This is the easiest project, as it requires no scientific expertise. “Anyone can help” by sorting the images into the categories: cities, stars or other objects, said Alejandro Sanchez, doctoral student at Complutense.

“Without the help of citizens, it is almost impossible to use these images scientifically. Algorithms cannot distinguish between stars, cities and other objects, such as the moon. Humans are much more efficient for complex image analysis,” he said.


NGA evolves

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

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.


What’s new in geo at Autodesk University 2013

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Robots for the future jobsite, flying drones for delivering packages and reality capture were all part of the show at Tuesday morning’s Mainstage presentation at Autodesk University 2013. Clearly, these technology directions are dependent upon location and geospatial technology.


Iris the robot


GeoEye and DigitalGlobe plan to merge

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

In a move that the geospatial industry had been expecting, on Monday, GeoEye announced plans to combine with competitor DigitalGlobe in a deal worth $900 million. This move is in response to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency informing both companies that it plans to curtail funding for its $7.3 billion EnhancedView contract, pieces of which were awarded to both firms in 2010.

The two former competitors provide photos and satellite imagery from satellites that are contracted by the NGA, the products of which are generally sold to federal agencies, the military and other government institutions.


GeoEye announces proposal to acquire DigitalGlobe, DigitalGlobe rejects it

Monday, May 7th, 2012

On Friday, May 4, GeoEye held an investor webcast announcing that it proposes to acquire DigitalGlobe, Inc., seen by DigitalGlobe as a “public hostile offer.” The combination of these two satellite imaging companies would form the world’s largest fleet of high resolution commercial imagery satellites, according to GeoEye.

Matt O’Connell CEO and President of GeoEye, said that the two companies combined would result in “greater capabilities to meet national security needs, be more cost effective to the U.S. government during a fiscally restrained period, improve value to decision makers, warfighters and shareholders.”

A quick overview of the proposed acquisition: DigitalGlobe shareholders will receive $17.00 per share in total consideration, payable $8.50 per share in cash and $8.50 in GeoEye stock, or 0.3537 shares of GeoEye stock for each share of DigitalGlobe stock. This price represents a 26% premium to DigitalGlobe’s closing share price on May 3, 2012. According to O’Connell, the proposal is structured to provide DigitalGlobe shareholders with the opportunity to participate in the dynamic future growth of the combined company.


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