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USGIF Show Touts Geospatial Intelligence Role

By | August 30, 2004

      The U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) is moving forward on its inaugural industry event, the GEOINT 2004 Symposium, slated for Oct. 12-14 in New Orleans. The Va.- based non-profit foundation, aimed at promoting collaboration among key players in the geospatial intelligence arena, has been working for the past year to fulfill its goal of strengthening the connections between government, industry, academic and professional organizations and individuals involved in this emerging sector, and this show is part and parcel of that plan.

      The symposium will bring together some 2,000 participants from every discipline of geospatial intelligence to exchange ideas, to view current and emerging technologies, and to form new partnerships. Keynote speakers include Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper Jr., director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA); Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee’s Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence; and Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, director of the National Security Agency (NSA).

      In addition to these and other speakers from the government, military and private sectors, the symposium will feature exhibition space where both large and small defense and intelligence companies will showcase their latest geospatial intelligence technology. As proof of the growing interest in geospatial intelligence, most of the 40,000 square feet of exhibition space already has been claimed, said Steve Jacques, USGIF’s vice president of operations. Exhibitors already include USGIF member companies Alcatel [ALA] The Boeing Company [BA], DigitalGlobe, Lockheed Martin [LMT], Northrop Grumman [NOC] and Space Imaging along with Government Solutions. Other member companies include BAE Systems, General Dynamics [GD], Goodrich, IBM, Oracle [ORCL] and Raytheon [RTN].

      A unique aspect of the upcoming symposium is a scheduled interoperability demonstration aimed at allowing several organizations to demonstrate how they could work together to respond to a terrorist attack, such as the take over of a chemical plant. Each company would act as a node in an orchestrated response to the crisis scenario, demonstrating that horizontal intelligence integration is both possible and necessary. That demonstration would aid USGIF in highlighting its mission to pull together multiple sources of information.

      A separate demonstration offered by multiple exhibitors will show how geospatial interoperability is allowing many organizations to working together via standards-based interfaces and architectures to share data and to work more effectively to meet geospatial intelligence needs, Jacques added.

      Longmont, Colo.-based DigitalGlobe, a provider of geospatial information products and high-resolution satellite imagery, plans to use the event to highlight its proposed next- generation satellite system called WorldView. Chuck Herring, DigitalGlobe’s director of communications, said the WorldView system is on schedule to become fully operational in 2006. The next-generation technology would feature several upgrades from DigitalGlobe’s current system, called QuickBird, which the company claims is the world’s highest- resolution commercial satellite.

      WorldView will have 3.5 times the collection capacity of QuickBird due to a higher orbit and an improved downlink, Herring said. DigitalGlobe also will add four new color bands to the standard eight bands, enhancing the natural coloring of the imagery provided by the WorldView satellite. DigitalGlobe will showcase some simulated imagery at the symposium, and company executives will discuss its ongoing development of the latest technology in commercial Earth imagery, he added. The U.S. government has been the major buyer of DigitalGlobe imagery.

      More About USGIF

      During its short life, USGIF already has initiated several programs to provide support for students of geospatial intelligence at all levels of study through scholarships, internships and mentoring.

      Earlier this month, USGIF announced the implementation of a program to award three $5,000 scholarships to graduate students during the October symposium. In the future, USGIF hopes to extend its scholarship program to include awards for undergraduate students and graduating high school seniors who are pursuing a course of study related to geospatial intelligence. USGIF also is working with the NGA to create a series of certification standards that will aid those looking to enter the geospatial intelligence profession.

      -Tonya Oben

      (Steve Jacques, USGIF, 301/753-1947; Chuck Herring, DigitalGlobe, 303/682-3800)

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