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Innovation will Drive Growth for Defense Geospatial Market

As the geospatial intelligence domain continues to grow in capability and prominence, strategic technological innovation will be the main market driver for the Department of Defense, according to a recent market analysis released by Frost & Sullivan. Authored by Senior Industry Analyst John Hernandez and Research Director Wayne Plucker, the research into the U.S. defense geospatial market finds that strong demand for deeper situational awareness and information integration will boost DoD spending on geospatial products, services and research in the coming years, reaching an estimated $2.43 billion in 2018.

Of that projected spending, the largest piece, approximately $900 million, is predicted to be allotted to engineering and integration initiatives, such as the possibility of multi-fused geospatial products that could enhance the common operating picture for military and civilian units and could also provide a foundation for modeling and simulation training programs. DoD will also aim to expand its abilities to collect and process terrain data, and develop mission applications that integrate data from various sources.

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The Courage to Thrive

While attending the GEOINT 2013* Symposium in Tampa, Fla., last week, KMI Media Group Publisher and Chief Financial Officer Conni Kerrigan had an opportunity to take part in another meaningful meeting: a luncheon hosted by the Greater Tampa Bay Chapter of Women in Defense. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Director Letitia Long delivered the keynote address to a packed house, as almost 500 men and women gathered for the occasion.

In her speech, Long, the first woman to head a major U.S. intelligence agency, discussed her own experiences as a female professional in a traditionally-male dominated field and her commitment to helping other women succeed in the national security and intelligence disciplines. She began by noting the advancements that have been achieved by women in the defense community in the past years, citing the increased access to more military positions and the fact that three of four services have seen women rise to the rank of 4-stars, along with the growing presence of women in high-ranking defense positions.

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Long Paints Compelling Intelligence Picture

At a conference stacked with high-profile keynote speakers, informative break-out sessions, and an exhibit hall full of innovative industry experts, attendees at the GEOINT 2013* Symposium have had their choice of attractions and activities to fill their time. One highlight, however, was the keynote speech on Tuesday morning by National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Letitia A. Long, addressing the importance of immersive intelligence and the future of geospatial data analysis.

“NGA is at a decisive moment in our history. NGA is driving intelligence integration, and NGA is leading the way from integration to the next phase of intelligence,” she began. Over the past several years, NGA has worked tirelessly to pursue its goals of intelligence integration, putting GEOINT in the hands of user, providing online, on-demand access to GEOINT, and broadening their analytic expertise. “Today I can say without any doubt, we are achieving our goals. We have crossed the tipping point in realizing our vision.”

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More Meaning from Every Pixel

While the Hadoop open source distributed file system is becoming an increasingly important tool for crunching big data for intelligence analysis, it is not inherently well equipped to handle geospatial data. As a result, companies in the field are moving on several fronts to develop and market environments, appliances and tools specifically designed to handle problems of geospatial intelligence within Hadoop.

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Buckeye's 10 Years of Service

This year marks a decade of service by the Army Geospatial Center’s BuckEye program, which has provided unclassified, shareable, high resolution three-dimensional (HR3D) terrain data to U.S., coalition, and host nation forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The BuckEye “standard” 10 cm color imagery and 1 m post spacing, LiDAR-derived terrain data became nearly ubiquitous in all manner of systems in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, whether on military, diplomatic or development missions. Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the BuckEye program over the past decade, however, has been the revival of combat mapping, and the expectation that warfighters should have tactical and urban scale HR3D terrain data at their disposal wherever they go, rather than merely data at strategic and operational scales.

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Game on for GEOINT

Technology advances are bringing the worlds of geospatial intelligence/GIS and electronic gaming closer, and opening new vistas for both. The benefits of this synergy may be most obvious to players of the widely popular games, which increasingly are being grounded in real locations with the help of detailed geographic data. But what may be less well known are the potential advantages that new gaming technologies can bring to location-based training and intelligence analysis.

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Polar Intelligence

As the Arctic region, with its diminishing icepack and resulting increase in maritime and other human activity, becomes a more important part of the strategic picture of the United States and other nations, geospatial technology is playing a vital role in improving knowledge of its forbidding sea- and landscapes. President Obama last year issued a national policy articulating the linkage between events in the Arctic and enduring U.S. national interests, and the Department of Defense followed up with a policy statement addressing “potential changes in the future security environment due to the increased access and activity in the region.”

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Sharing While Mobile

As geospatial intelligence, like so much else in the modern world, increasingly integrates mobile technology into all aspects of operations, one of the key challenges facing developers is to ensure that the ubiquitous devices can efficiently share the data they collect and receive. The goal is to enhance the utility and effectiveness of GEOINT by bringing users—virtually—to places of interest in near real time.

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