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November 03, 2008
Report on GEOINT Symposium 2008
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
Each GIS Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the GIS industry, GIS product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by GISCafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

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Industry News

Report on GEOINT Symposium 2008

By Susan Smith

The world of geointelligence has access to a plethora of technologies that the commercial world does not, and rightly so. In some areas, this world marches bravely into the future, while in others, it holds back. Blogs and other communication avenues that we have taken for granted for some time now are a new thing to media relations of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF), producers of GEOINT Symposium, perhaps because the chatty style of blogs has not been the style of geointelligence.

However, USGIF officially launched
got geoint?, a “new blog covering all things related to geospatial intelligence training, technology and tradecraft” at the Nashville conference held at the Gaylord Grand Opryland Resort and Convention Center this past week.

The topic of what to share was part of the bigger topics being addressed at GEOINT 2008. The impending change in Administration in the White House was also of top concern.

click to enlarge [

Hon. James R. Clapper, Jr., USDI
The Honorable James Clapper Jr., Under U.S. Secretary of Defense (intelligence) presented the opening keynote address to the 2,000-plus in attendance entitled: “Some (Geezer) ruminations on transitioning to the future.”

Clapper, who has had 45 years of service in the area of intelligence, talked about GEOINT themes and future, constant challenges and what the USGIF has accomplished in the five years since its founding. Currently the U.S. is involved in two wars – one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. Yet there is also the more elusive war on terrorism that is harder to pin down.


Intelligence, Security and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems are the norm in both Afghanistan and Iraq. These systems range in size from hand-held devices to orbiting satellites. The term “ISR” also describes a market for these systems that can collect basic information for a wide range of analytical products; other systems are designed to acquire data for specific weapons systems. The uses of these systems vary; some are intended primarily to collect information of national interest to Washington-area agencies; others are “tactical” systems intended to support military commanders on the battlefield. They can be comprised of unclassified radar, sensor and/or specific intelligence

Areas GEOINT is working on include:
  • Executive order 12333
  • Defense intelligence strategy- extend/enhance/explore/enable
  • HUMINT form a humint/ counterintelligence center – professional development of people involved.
  • Integrated intelligence architecture.
  • Security clearance reform – reduce investigations to selective bases and as is standard, and reducing the amount of time it takes to get a clearance. President signed a key order which laid this out. There is a new plan to measure success in the White House.
  • Intelligence rebalancing

  • Future constant challenges include –
  • Integration, integration, integration
  • Commonwealth and coalition-based operation is going to be standard feature.
  • Persistence – eventually ISR is going to be an accepted commodity
  • Data “tidal wave” and PED – to include Airborne
  • Standards for data, products and services
  • Human terrain
  • Cyber
  • Biometrics

  • A topic of discussion was the recently canceled Broad Area Space-Based Imagery Collection program (BASIC), which involved the purchase of two 1.1 meter remote sensing satellites by the National Reconnaisance Office (NRO). The NGA did get consensus on the purchase, however, Congress decided that the urgency that had precipitated the program no longer existed. Admiral Murrett is continuing to lead a study on this purchase, and according to Clapper, “it shouldn’t take long.” Clapper was a huge proponent of commercial satellite imagery when it was introduced and states that an unclassified environment is invaluable for sharing both here and overseas.

    Clapper’s concern that there would be less funding available for geointelligence because of the current economy slump was shared by other presenters. “I would try to champion the preservation of capabilities, keep the expertise and assemble capabilities, even at a smaller scale,” suggested Clapper. “I think there is sufficient recognition of the importance of ISR.” According to the Secretary of Defense, ISR saves lives.

    ISR is the “centerpiece” of everything done in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Clapper. In a recent trip to the AOR (which includes Afghanistan and Iraq), he was impressed by what developments were most surprising and most gratifying, “In Iraq they are operating pretty much on their own with modest support from U.S. counterparts, but they don’t have ISR enablers. The planning it takes for what they do is heavily dependent on Geospatial intelligence. INSTIKI, a simple open source wiki program, is used widely there. Intelligence training for Iraqis is a huge effort, and the whole theme is to get Iraqis self sufficient so that the U.S. can take more of a support and systems

    The need to share and leverage information with coalition elements is critical, and Clapper pointed to an Intelligence Fusion Center in the UK which is the NATO Framework organ, led and funded by the U.S. “They are sending some really good people to participate in this,” said Clapper. “We must engage coalition members and remove barriers to sharing.”

    This is easier said than done, of course. Today’s adversary is not what it once was. Clapper reminded his audience that in the past the U.S. was dealing with “an industrial sized adversary with lots of things we could count on,” referring to the Cold War and the Soviets. “We don’t have those cyclical patterns now so the requirement has become finite, specific, a whole business of developing a pattern of life, so you have to solidly identify individuals. The reaction to that is to bring to bear all the disciplines and meld them in a way and have ability to study and watch very steadily and consistently and at the appropriate juncture go after with a view to lowering
    casualties.” We do great at determinable phases, noted Clapper, but we do need something beyond that, and intelligence to assist that will be effective.

    The visibility of foreign companies’ interactions is a major challenge to the U.S., and how the country preserves its technologies, while at same time taking advantage of what foreign companies offer, presents an opportunity to set up some procedural mechanisms within the department.

    During a press conference General Clapper stated that the next administration should look at industrial interactions with foreign countries – Engendering partnerships and taking advantage of technology where you can, while at the same time he noted there are intelligence and security issues.

    “We need to look at how we look at technological innovations both ways. The whole way we regulate foreign ownership of US companies, regulate so it doesn’t interfere with positive business arrangements and secure US equities. We’re not adequately postured to do that in the way the world works today with globalization.”

    The question was asked, Why would you think the budget would be cut when we have two wars on and terrorism to deal with?

    Clapper said we have other crises such as economic, health care reform and environmental change to deal with. Intelligence capability is only part of the broader context of demands on the budget. “My sensing is that we’re probably in for a period of some entrenchment, maybe not of the magnitude of what was after the Cold War.”

    “Regardless of who wins, there is recognition that intelligence will play a huge role in the safety and security of the nation,” said Clapper. It is up to Congress how much money will be allocated to national intelligence. He said he “would be surprised to see an increase” over the 2008 budget of $47.5 billion.

    There is $1.4 billion for ISR taskforce money, but how much of that is devoted to Afghanistan and how much Iraq? “The ISR taskforce is to generate capability, how that capability is allocated between the two theaters is to be determined,” said Clapper. “We have a lighter force in Afghanistan, we are now in a mode of generating as much generic capability, want to create technology that is plug-in and not hardwired for one theater or the other.”

    He noted that Afghanistan is larger than Iraq, it has much more demanding terrain, drug trafficking, political situation, dispersion of forces, that are different from the problems in Iraq. There is a review scheduled to plan for what to do in the next administration in these countries.

    Clapper compared his experience in Vietnam in 1965 in intelligence, remarking that there is “no comparison with what we can do today – what data we can move or portray.” Even in the time since Desert Storm, ISR improvements have been “phenomenal.”

    Vice Admiral Robert Murrett

    Vice Admiral Robert Murrett
    Vice Admiral Bob Murrett, director of NGA, talked about the new facility to be built to house the NGA, “New Campus East.” One quarter of NGA personnel work outside the NGA, which allows them to make sure GEOINT is provided in ways that are relevant across many different domains. There are more than 2,000 people making sure GEOINT is utilized both domestically and internationally. Murrett mentioned that the personnel of the organization have gone forward and operate in tough environments, and they come back as different people. These are the future leaders of GEOINT.

    Murrett said that the NGA is getting better at integrating architectures, particularly their ground architecture, with forms of imagery that are platform neutral. The array of sensors they have across electromagnetic spectrum is becoming very important.

    GEOINT is viewed best by what it really looks like, said Murrett, giving examples which were essentially humanitarian examples. One was to support the humanitarian crisis in Darfur with layers of geoint analysis. In Asia and the Far East, GEOINT offered support for natural disasters and is available immediately for any disaster.

    Foundation data domains were discussed as a way to have data distributed across numerous domains, retrievable in different forms for key purposes and services. This is particularly valuable for the international work they do.

    Data centers allow the NGA to keep data together in a data center, and allow the integration of people, data and common access to data. Integrated data centers are where people can access data rapidly.

    NGA provides the most support of any entity for commercial imagery, which has become incredibly valuable.

    IC Collaboration Tools are being used by people using virtual analytical integration and community knowledge base.

    Current and future challenges include:
  • Retaining and deepening workforce expertise – biggest asset is the workforce, 8,000 government and 7,000 others – leadership of personnel is great- retention is “too high.”
  • Balancing mission requirements. Warfighting support provided is essential, proliferation, WMD, humanitarian concerns – balance all these.
  • Moving to a sensor-neutral architecture – taking all the diversity of platforms and types of data and harnessing them most effectively in sensor neutral architecture, ground architecture is part of that, and entities such as USGIF
  • Developing IGA/community IT
  • Expanding industry engagement
  • Sustaining consistent R&D investment, typically cutbacks throw out R&D first, NGA have fenced part of the organization to keep R&D regardless of the pressures in the next few years economically.

  • “New Campus East is about us being more effective as a broader team, not just a new home, we spend a lot of time driving around Washington in traffic,” said Murrett. They should be moved in June next year and finished moving in Sept. 2011.

    Murrett was appointed one of three GEOINT functional managers by the Presidential Executive Order 12333. He said the “most important thing for functional managers to do is to integrate with other functional managers, and explain the importance of the mission set to people.”

    In a press conference, Charles Allen, assistant secretary, Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Department of Homeland Security, spoke on the importance of GEOINT to homeland security. Allen said that the most important thing from a functional management point of view was to continue to participate but not be completely responsible for training the entire U.S. government, yet coordinate training for everyone.

    Access to common libraries that are rapid and instantaneous in real time are available today, said Murrett, with most commercial imagery available to personnel today. One concern is that “For bandwidth disadvantaged personnel who need imagery in a time sensitive way, we need to make sure we have an appliance or data storage facility that is in the same time zone they’re located. We will have more data centers in the future.”

    Top News of the Week

    The U.S. Army Topographic Engineering Center demonstrated its BuckEye system, Geo-referenced PDF project (GeoPDF), Joint Geospatial Enterprise Services (J-GES) program, and Engineering Field Planning, Reconnaissance, Surveying, and Sketching Set (ENFIRE) during the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation's 2008 GEOINT Symposium, October 28-30.

    BuckEye is a high-resolution digital imagery system that uses a 39-megapixel color camera and Light Detection and Ranging elevation data to produce unclassified 10-15 centimeter resolution imagery for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and change detection missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    ISC announced the availability of the public beta release of
    MapDotNet UX, the next generation .NET GIS platform. MapDotNet lets organizations visualize, analyze and maintain their geospatial data. Application developers can build easy to use desktop and web-based mapping applications that can be used by an executive, manager, analyst or the general public. The beta release can be downloaded at

    The first public release of a RapidEye image is being unveiled on the company's website. This demonstration image highlights the capabilities of RapidEye imagery in many market segments, by showing diverse landscapes that include agricultural fields, forests, cities and roads.

    The image shows the area of El Bolsón in Argentina near the Argentinian-Chilean border. El Bolsón is situated in the far southwest of the Río Negro Province in Argentina at the foot of the Piltriquitron Mountain. The image was recorded by RapidEye's camera built by Jena-Optronik of Jena, Germany from the satellite RapidEye # 1, named Choros, at a nadir view angle and has a pixel size of 5 meters. It was downloaded to KSAT (Kongsberg Satellite Services) in Svalbard, Norway and electronically transmitted to the RapidEye headquarters in Brandenburg, Germany.

    Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances

    Lockheed Martin and Pictometry International Corp., have signed a collaboration agreement to provide next-generation geospatial technologies to federal, state and local government customers. The two companies will work together to integrate Pictometry's unique imagery and algorithms with Lockheed Martin's geospatial-intelligence analysis systems, creating powerful solutions for a wide variety of national and local applications.


    Optech lidar technology has detected snow on Mars. The discovery was made by the Optech-designed lidar system aboard NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander, which landed near the Martian North Pole on May 25th, 2008 to search for water and environmental habitats that could harbour life. The snow was detected from clouds about 4 kilometers above the spacecraft's landing site, and data shows the snow vaporizing before reaching the ground. Spacecraft soil experiments have also provided evidence of past interaction between minerals and liquid water, processes that occur on Earth.

    At the GEOINT 2008 Symposium in Nashville, ERDAS featured the recently announced ERDAS APOLLO 2009, and the latest releases of ERDAS IMAGINE, LPS and ERDAS TITAN. ERDAS and SGI also showcased the main server, a SGI Altix XE 240 system, from Empire Challenge 2008 at GEOINT. This server hosted indexed metadata for various data stores of imagery, serving data via Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) services.

    Pictometry International Corp hosted its third annual Pictometry FutureView user conference in San Antonio. FutureView 2008 began October 27th at the Marriott Rivercenter and ran through October 29. This year’s featured guest speaker was Don Cooke, Chief Scientist for Tele Atlas, a leading provider of digital maps and content for the burgeoning personal navigation industry.

    Standards developed by the members of the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC) play a key role in
    OneGeology, a global project to produce the first digital geological map of the world. OneGeology, launched in August, 2008 at the 33rd International Geological Congress in Oslo, Norway, is now supported by 94 nations and seven international umbrella bodies. It is the flagship project for the UN International Year of Planet Earth 2008.


    Intermap Technologies Corp. reported financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2008. All amounts in this news release are in United States dollars unless otherwise noted.

    For the third quarter of 2008, Intermap reported total revenue of $12.8 million, compared to $14.3 million in the third quarter of 2007. Intermap’s contract services revenue component contributed $10.3 million and multi-client data license (MCDL) revenue from NEXTMap datasets contributed $2.5 million of the total revenue. See
    press release

    Garmin Ltd. announced third quarter results for the period ended September 27, 2008. See
    press release


    DigitalGlobe announced the addition of Karen Diener and John Allan to the DigitalGlobe defense team, effective immediately.

    DMTI Spatial (DMTI), Canadian provider of location intelligence solutions, has announced the appointment of George Staikos to President, DMTI Canada effective immediately. George will lead the Client Management and Project Management Office to accelerate the acquisition of new enterprise clients in DMTI's target industry sectors and ensure the successful deployment of DMTI solutions within all client engagements.

    ITT Visual Information Solutions' Christopher Jengo has been named the recipient of the 2008 Geospatial Intelligence Award in the Industry Achievement category. The award is offered and presented annually by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF). Mr. Jengo is being recognized for his exceptional work in the development of SPEAR (Spectral Processing Exploitation and Analysis Resource) tools. SPEAR is a suite of over 15 tools developed for use with ENVI software to automate and guide image analysts through image processing tasks common to defense and intelligence workflows.

    New Products

    Intergraph has introduced new software capabilities for its widely deployed geospatial intelligence production solution to enable the defense and intelligence community to create higher quality geospatial analysis products faster and more efficiently.

    Intergraph’s proven Geospatial Intelligence Production solution is now enhanced for hardcopy production, and is available to defense and intelligence agencies to facilitate a more efficient workflow for collecting, viewing, manipulating, and producing geospatial products. Users will benefit from increased quality and efficiency when producing large-scale maps to specification.

    Silicon Graphics, Inc announced the availability of EventVUE, its new real-time visual solution for Complex Event Processing (CEP). EventVUE software blends the company's uniquely scalable Intel- and Linux-based servers, storage, and visualization solutions with its real-time software extensions to Linux and years of professional services expertise in creating immersive Reality Center visual environments.

    Silicon Graphics, Inc. launched Silicon Graphics VUE, a suite of software visualization solutions that changes the way you create, distribute and use visual information.

    At the GEOINT 2008 Symposium Microsoft Corp. continued to highlight its numerous contributions to the growing market for geospatial software offerings with the unveiling of Microsoft Single View Platform (SVP), a collaboration and data visualization platform that provides government agencies with solutions for one comprehensive geospatial view of critical data. Microsoft SVP provides a single, geographic view of complex information and data sets across multiple roles, locations and user interfaces, which can vastly improve agency communication, collaboration and decision-making, and significantly increase the success of government missions.

    East View Cartographic introduced a brand new series of digital geospatial datasets, organized under the product lines of EVCmap and EVCdem. The new series of EVC products range from VMAP1-compliant datasets to raster mosaics to digital elevation models, and are only available through East View Cartographic and its distributors.

    Tele Atlas announced that the new version of its MultiNet digital map database is the first global digital map database to use community-provided data to validate changes. Released in October, MultiNet version 2008.10 incorporates community input provided by TomTom users in Europe and North America that strengthened Tele Atlas’ map change detection and validation process. MultiNet version 2008.10 also features an initial delivery of major specification upgrades including improved navigation, visualization and search capabilities.

    Around the Web

    Getting down to the Wire: Election Maps 2008

    Electoral vote.com President, Senate, House updated daily.

    NPR: 2008 Presidential Election Map

    This one is so popular we’re running it again.

    ODT’s 2008 Presidential Election Map allows you to see exactly how and why the election is so close. This map ignores land mass in favor of one dimension only – how many people live in each state. Each of the map’s grid squares represents 250,000 people. On the map is the exact population of the larger states (for ease of comparison, and to eliminate the need to count individual blocks) along with each state’s electoral votes. The bigger the state on the map, the greater the electoral clout.

    ODT’s 2008 Presidential Election Map was created by cartographer Paul Breding, former cartographer for the Chicago Tribune and an associate of ODTmaps.com, a publishing company specializing in innovative map images. Breding previously completed a similar World Population Map which is available on the ODT
    website. ODT also published an Equal Area Map of the USA in 2007, where one can compare the exact size of each state to others. Black & white outline maps of the Equal Area USA map are available as free downloads, as are many other map resources. ODTmaps.com also published the Peters World Map which appeared on NBC's hit show, The West Wing, in 2002, and the Hobo-Dyer World Map which was used by President Jimmy Carter when he received the Nobel Peace Prize.


    Date: November 5 - 7, 2008
    Place: Irvine, CA USA

    The ACM SIGSPATIAL International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems 2008 (ACM GIS 2008) is the sixteenth event of a series of symposia and workshops that began in 1993 with the aim of bringing together researchers, developers, users, and practitioners carrying out research and development in novel systems based on geo-spatial data and knowledge, and fostering interdisciplinary discussions and research in all aspects of geographic information systems. The conference provides a forum for original research contributions covering all conceptual, design, and implementation aspects of GIS ranging from applications, user interface considerations, and visualization down to
    storage management and indexing issues.
    Date: November 11 - 13, 2008
    Place: Hotel Okura Amsterdam

    Amsterdam, Netherlands

    The International Association of Airport Executives (IAAE) are pleased to present the Third Annual International Airport Geographic Information Systems Conference, November 11-13, 2008 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Following the first two successful conferences in 2006 and 2007, which drew more than 130 attendees from 25 countries, the third conference promises to be an educational experience you will not want to miss! By attending this unique conference, which has been lengthened by a half-day and includes additional general sessions and an extra luncheon, you will learn from European, American, African and Asian airports how and why GIS is being used at large and small airports, as
    well as the ways in which GIS has made airports safer and more efficient. Airports from all corners of the world, new to GIS or experienced with GIS implementation, are welcome to participate!
    Date: November 13 - 14, 2008
    Place: Classroom Resource Group Learning Center

    One Glenlake Parkway, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30328 USA

    This hands-on workshop focuses on teaching the fundamentals of using a Geographic Information System (GIS) for community analysis. Participants will learn to create thematic maps with
    Census data, Geocoding (Address mapping) and Spatial Queries. Other features of the workshop are learning to extract Census data and good map layout and design.
    Date: November 16 - 20, 2008
    Place: Denver, CO USA

    This conference extends the William T. Pecora Memorial Remote Sensing Symposium tradition of emphasizing the applications and benefits of land imaging data. In addition, given the recent release of an Office of Science and Technology Policy report recommending the United States maintain a core operational capability for land imagery through the creation of a U.S. National Land Imaging Program, a special focus of Pecora 17 will be on the challenges of migrating satellite programs from reasearch missions to operational capabilities.
    Date: November 17 - 19, 2008
    Place: Shaw Conference Centre

    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    It’s time to inspire, innovate and collaborate at the 2008 GIS Conference, GeoAlberta will bring together over 500 GIS professionals from around Western Canada to discuss and collaborate on the latest in GIS  applications, technologies and innovation.GeoAlberta is a collaborative effort between the four associations - the Alberta Chapter of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), the Alberta
    Chapter of the Geospatial Information Technology Association (GITA), the Alberta Geomatics Group (AGG), and GeoEdmonton.
    Date: November 18 - 20, 2008
    Place: Huntsville, AL USA

    The Rocket City Geospatial Conference will present a wide range of key topics of local and regional interest. The following list is presented as a guideline for proposed topics of discussion and for anyone interested in submitting a presentation:
  • Evolving Directions for Discovery and Access to Geospatial Information
  • Visualization and Analysis Tools for Geospatial Decision Support
  • Date: November 19 - 20, 2008
    Place: Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center

    Tallahassee, FL USA

    We invite you to join us at our seventh annual SHRUG GIS workshop "GIS Revolution". We want you to participate by being an attendee, a vendor, a speaker, and/or a poster presenter.
    Date: November 20 - 21, 2008
    Place: University of Houston Central Campus

    University Center 2nd Floor, TX USA

    This event is the largest showcase of how Geographic Information Systems are used in the City of Houston and surrounding areas. For two days, business people, educators, students, and the general public are given a free access pass to products and services that encompass GIS.
    Date: November 20 - 21, 2008
    Place: Knowledge Source

    3100 Smoketree Court, Suite 200, Raleigh, NC 27604 USA

    This hands-on workshop focuses on teaching the fundamentals of using a Geographic Information System (GIS) for community analysis. Participants will learn to create thematic maps with Census data, Geocoding (Address mapping) and Spatial Queries. Other features of the workshop are learning to extract Census data and good map layout and design.

    Date: December 2 - 6, 2008
    Place: Ocean Hotel

    Guangzhou, China

    PORSEC 2008, the Ninth Biennial Conference with the overall theme-Oceanic Manifestation of Global Changes, will be held in Guangzhou, China on December 2nd-6th, 2008, hosted by the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology (SCSIO), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

    Date: December 2 - 5, 2008
    Place: The Venetian Resort Hotel

    Las Vegas, NV USA

    It’s the perfect opportunity for me to talk with customers from all over the world about their projects, their use of Autodesk tools, and the challenges they’re facing in their day-to-day work.

    You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

    To read more news, click here.

    -- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.