The Magazine of the National Intelligence Community
GEOINT Strategist Robert Cardillo Director NGA
May/June 2016 Volume 14, Issue 1
SAR Innovations O Geospatial Crowdsourcing O Joint Space Operations Federal GIS Report O JSTARS
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INTELLIGENCE & GEOSPATIAL FORUM Features
May/June 2016 Volume 14, Issue 1
Cover / Q&A
Air Force Renews Key ISR Tool
GIS Conference Highlights Information Sharing
Identified as the Air Force’s fourth largest acquisition priority, the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System weapon system is currently undergoing a major recapitalization. By Justin Oakes
During addresses to Esri’s Federal GIS Conference held in Washington, D.C., in February, federal leaders outlined steps to make geospatial data more available within and outside the intelligence community.
16 Robert Cardillo
Tracking Crowded Space
The U.S. military and intelligence communities are stepping up efforts to monitor and share information about the increasingly crowded and potentially threatened orbital space. The most recent step came from the ongoing establishment of the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center. By Harrison Donnelly
Departments 2 3 14 27 28
Editor’s Perspective Program Notes/People Industry Raster Resource Center Industry interview
The latest synthetic aperture radar (SAR) capabilities— including new frequencies, new platforms and techniques, and more-accessible interpretation tools--are increasing the technology’s value for security needs while also greatly expanding its usefulness in a host of other areas. By Henry Canaday
Geospatial companies and the intelligence community are developing new ways to further integrate crowdsourcing of information into intelligence and imagery analysis. Hexagon Geospatial, for example, recently launched a crowdsourcing app development project to contribute to its geospatial computing platform. By Peter Buxbaum
Industry Interview ?? ??
Director National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Intelligence & Geospatial Forum Volume 14, Issue 1 • May/June 2016
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Advanced layered sensing, command and control and cyber technologies are anticipated to be important contributors to future Air Force capabilities. Air Force officials are rejuvenating the strategic development planning process to deliver the multi-domain solutions needed to fly, fight and win in 2030 and beyond. [Image courtesy of U.S. Air Force]
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SPOT Marks Three Decades of Earth Observation Thirty years ago, Europe’s first Earth observation satellite, SPOT 1, lifted off from Kourou, French Guiana, on board an Ariane 1 launcher. It opened the door to three decades of major technological innovations and a host of new applications. Meanwhile, SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 represent the most recent steps of success and innovation. SPOT 1, conceived and designed by the French space agency, was equipped with steerable mirrors, enabling it to look to the right and left of its path, unlike other earth observation satellites during that time. Thanks to this first technological revolution, it was able to observe a given site every five days and measure the elevation of the terrain. It acquired images with a resolution of 10 m for a footprint of 60 km, a swath/ resolution ratio that was unique and one that has been retained by its successors. Each following satellite in the SPOT family has seen performance improvements. A further milestone was reached with the arrival of SPOT 5 in 2002, offering images with a resolution of 2.5 m and almost simultaneous stereo pair acquisitions. It paved the way for the commercial use of satellite images, in particular, its ability to offer precise coverage of large areas in record time for this level of precision. The first five SPOT satellites have been financed by the space agency and built under the prime contract of Airbus Defense and Space, which was in charge of platforms and high-resolution optical systems. To ensure long-
term continuity of the high-resolution data service, Airbus Defense and Space decided in 2009 to completely finance the two successors SPOT 6 and SPOT 7. The SPOT family then entered a new area. Based on the AstroBus-M platform, designed by Airbus Defense and Space, SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 offer even better performance than their predecessors, while at the same time being four times lighter. They also form a constellation of Earth observation satellites equipped with reactive systems, thereby increasing acquisition capacity and simplifying data access. SPOT 6 and SPOT 7, which are absolutely identical and phased at 180° in the same orbit, allow daily revisit of any point on the globe, offering an acquisition capacity of six million square kilometres per day with a resolution of 1.5 m. These satellites are also agile, and can rapidly turn to a point within a zone of 1,500 km around their position. It is no longer just the mirror that steers, but the entire satellite, thus making it possible to cover large areas in monoscopic as well as stereoscopic mode. Following a strategic cooperation agreement signed in 2014, SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 are now jointly operated by Airbus Defense and Space and Azercosmos. SPOT satellites have covered the emerged surface of the Earth more than 700 times over the past 30 years, setting a record for high-precision surveillance of the constantly changing planet.
Dr. Stacey Dixon
Dr. Stacey Dixon is the new deputy director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity. She most recently served as the NGA Deputy Director of InnoVision, where she oversaw research and development for
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geospatial intelligence. Prior to InnoVision, Dixon served as NGA’s chief of congressional and intergovernmental affairs. From 2007 to 2010 she worked on the House Intelligence Committee staff, serving as program monitor for many national intelligence science and technology activities, and later as budget director. She worked for the CIA where she was assigned to NRO’s Advanced Systems and Technology Directorate and served as the chief of the Science Division for a satellite program from 2003 to 2007.
Air Force Command Chief Master Sergeant Patrick F. McMahon is the new command senior enlisted advisor for U.S. Strategic Command. Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant Scott H. Stalker has been selected as the senior enlisted leader to the director of Defense Intelligence Agency. Army Major General Kirk F. Vollmecke has been named as program executive officer, Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
Army Brigadier General Robert P. Walters Jr. has become deputy chief of staff, intelligence, for coalition operations in Afghanistan. Esri has given Dr. John Brockhaus, director of the geospatial program at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, its “Making a Difference Award” for inspiring students to serve others. Brockhaus has been director of the geospatial program within the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at West Point for the past 22 years
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Tracking Crowded Space Military, intelligence communities support initiatives to better gather and share information on the “darkening skies.” By Harrison Donnelly, IGF Editor
The U.S. military and intelligence communities are stepping up efforts to monitor and share information about the increasingly crowded and potentially threatened orbital space. The most recent step came from the ongoing establishment of the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center (JICSpOC) at Schriever AFB, Colo., which will seek to improve processes and procedures for ensuring data fusion among the Department of Defense, IC and other agencies, coalition partners and industry about the 23,000 satellites, rocket bodies and pieces of debris currently circling the Earth. The JICSpOC will work with the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC), which currently tracks space conditions from Vandenburg AFB, Calif. That center, which military leaders say has been accomplishing its mission with somewhat outdated equipment and software, is currently undergoing a technology upgrade known as the JSpOC Mission System (JMS). Many aspects of the JICSpOC, as well as its future division of responsibilities with the JSpOC, are still being worked out. The new center is expected to achieve initial capability status in June. Whatever final arrangements are determined, the two actions clearly signal a perceived need to pay more attention to the 4 | IGF 14.1
crowded orbital regions, where a total of 39,000 objects have been launched since mankind entered space in 1957. While many of those objects have since fallen to space, there is still an enormous amount of junk--working satellites or payloads represent only 5 percent of the current total. The multitude of objects raises the potential for collisions in space, and the JSpOC devotes substantial resources to “conjunction analysis”—predicting when objects will come in potentially dangerous proximity—and informing operators about remedial action. The center also tracks radio interference that could harm communication with vital satellites. The problems of crowded space have only become more prominent with the rapid commercial development of space, as a host of companies plan burgeoning constellations of satellites for communications and Earth monitoring. An even more critical factor, however, is the fact that U.S. military and intelligence functions—as well as growing portions of the international economy—are critically dependent on space for everything from GPS to video up-links. With experts warning that these assets might be targeted by adversaries in some future conflict, there has been a growing realization of the need for both www.GIF-kmi.com
expanded capabilities and for greater data fusion not only within the U.S. government but also with its key allies.
Experimental Focus Air Force Major General Robert Rego, individual mobilization assistant to the commander and U.S. Strategic Command lead for the JICSpOC, voiced many of these themes in explaining the rationale for the new center: “DoD and the intelligence community recognize a need to work together to address the increasing threats to our nation’s entire national security space enterprise, and a need to better integrate our space operations in response to these threats. The JICSpOC will be the focal point for operational experimentation and tests that will lead to better unity of effort for the diverse space communities.” Comparing the two organizations, Rego explained that the JSpOC is charged with conducting critical day-to-day operations, while also performing the type of experimentation and testing necessary to prepare the U.S. and its allies for future conflicts. The JICSpOC, meanwhile, “will provide an operational experimentation and test environment to develop the tools, relationships, processes and procedures that will be effective in a contested environment. As new procedures are developed in the JICSpOC, they will be incorporated into JSpOC processes,” he said. During its first phase, from its launch last October until May 2016, the center has been focusing experimenting with various options to inform the precise makeup and concept of operations for the final JICSpOC organization.
So far, he continued, “Our most significant lesson learned is the need for unity of effort across the national security space enterprise. To achieve this, our experimentation focuses on identifying the right people from the right agencies to comprise the initial cadre of JICSpOC professionals.” Procedures for working with the IC and other partners are critical, and Admiral Cecil Haney, commander of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), and Betty Sapp, director of the National Reconnaissance Office, not long ago signed a memo of cooperation on the topic. “NRO, as well as other stakeholder agencies across the national security space enterprise, has been instrumental in helping the JICSpOC achieve a unity of effort concept. While specific procedures and systems are still under development, one important focus of experimentation will be to formalize these relationships in such a way that allows the JICSpOC to best leverage these capabilities,” Rego said. “Fusing the operation of our space systems and intelligence capabilities in real time will enhance our ability to track, monitor, analyze and predict irresponsible and dangerous activity in space, and ensure the U.S., its allies and partners remain free to use space for civil, commercial and national security purposes,” he added.
Heavenly Catalog The purpose of the JSpOC is to provide a focal point for the operational employment of worldwide joint space forces and enable the commander of USSTRATCOM’s Joint Functional
Industry Partners Aid Space Operations Centers component of the JSpOC-Mission Systems (JMS) upgrade. There are many difficult challenges involved in monitorAGI’s software brings advanced SSA capabilities to the ing and managing space operations. Two of the most critical JMS program, which are needed for the evolving congested are tracking the precise locations of orbiting objects, espeand contested space operations environment. These miscially in a congested environment, and maintaining commusion applications bolster catalogue maintenance and include nications by preventing radio interference. orbit determination, observation and maneuver processing, As the commercialization of space has advanced rapidly sensor calibration and additional critical mission capabiliin recent years, military and civilian needs for such capaties, explained Travis Langster, vice president bilities have converged. Products and services of Department of Defense and intelligence initially developed largely for the commercial space business development. satellite market are now providing organizaIn addition, AGI last fall signed an tions such as the Joint Space Operations Center $8.4 million contract with the Air Force (JSpOC) and Joint Interagency Combined to provide data from its Commercial Space Space Operations Center (JICSpOC) with vital Operations Center (ComSpOC), reportedly data, software and services. to the JICSpOC. The company established Industry support for the centers includes ComSpOC two years ago to provide orbital both systems engineering and installations, data by combining Air Force and other puband space situational awareness (SSA) inforlicly available information with information mation from commercial sources. Executives Travis Langster provided by commercial satellite operations. argue that a data-as-a-service model enables Such services are even more important today, Langster the military to take advantage of commercial advances withsaid, because of the growing accessibility to space and the out heavy capital investments. criticality of space as resource. Despite that growth, howOne company active with both centers is space software ever, the U.S. military has been the sole provider of space developer AGI, which is both a major contractor and a data monitoring or space traffic management. provider in this field. Its COTS SSA Software Suite is a key
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Component Command (JFCC) Space, of which it is a part, to integrate space power into global military operations, according to Captain Nicholas J. Mercurio, director of 14th Air Force/JFCC Space public affairs. The JSpOC maintains the catalog of all Earth-orbiting objects, charts preset positions for orbital flight safety, and predicts objects reentering the Earth’s atmosphere. It tasks the Space Surveillance Network (SSN), a worldwide network of military and civilian space surveillance sensors to observe space objects, collecting about 400,000 observations each day. “Crews operating on the operations center floor match sensor observations to the orbiting objects, catalog, and update the position and velocity of each one. These updates comprise the Space Catalog, a comprehensive listing of the numbers, types, and orbits of all monitored objects in space, which is shared at no cost to all registered users at www.space-track.org,” Mercurio explained, adding that it also share space situational awareness (SSA) with more than 60 partner nations, intergovernmental organizations and commercial entities. “As the space domain becomes more contested, degraded and operationally limited, the role of the JSpOC has evolved to meet SSA requirements that now extend beyond simply knowing an object’s ‘address’ in space,” he continued. “To be effective today we must be able to characterize an object’s capabilities, discern its intent, calculate potential vulnerabilities and determine appropriate countermeasures.” But the JSpOC’s legacy systems, such as the Space Defense Operations Center (SPADOC), were designed when the space domain was less congested, contested and competitive. To meet
“The private space industry continues to mature and demonstrate a growing market demand for private space services,” he explained. “As a result, the U.S. government’s precious military resources, including warfighters, space surveillance sensors, and battle management systems, are being unnecessarily burdened by the current responsibilities to perform space traffic management for the international community. This comes at a critical time of increasing threats from adversaries, and senior government officials acknowledge that the space domain is no longer a sanctuary.” Kratos’ Spectral Services, meanwhile, relies on its global network of RF monitoring sensors and geolocation assets to provide monitoring, interference detection, geolocation and radio frequency/electromagnetic interference mitigation services in support of the Joint Functional Component Command for Space and the JSpOC. “Our Network Operations Center provides 24/7/365 coverage of CENTCOM and PACOM to provide situational awareness of all government leased bandwidth within those AORs,” said John Monahan, senior vice president of Kratos Technology and Training Satellite. Products. “We regularly detect interference in these AORs and locate it/mitigate in support of our government customer. We hope to see this service expanded beyond CENTCOM and PACOM in the coming years--possibly
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the new challenges, the center is deploying JMS, which will provide a complete, real-time, predictive operating picture of the environment with visualization tools to support rapid decisionmaking. The headquarters infrastructure will also be extensively refurbished. “JMS will provide JFCC Space the appropriate data integration and exploitation infrastructure and capabilities to make better use of the tremendous volume of available sensor data, allow improved integration of intelligence data, enable more dynamic and innovative employment of our systems, and provide a more complete, real-time and predictive picture of activity in the space domain,” Mercurio explained. “This enhanced operating picture will help us ensure safety and security in the space environment in the near future.” The JMS version used by the JSpOC since November 2014 fuses data from legacy systems and a wide variety of surveillance data sources to create a common Earth map. It has received extensive use in JSpOC day-to-day operations and participation in USSTRATCOM exercises, and in initial JICSpOC scenarios. The next JMS iteration will enable the center to administer and maintain a high-accuracy space catalog of objects orbiting the Earth using inputs and observations from the SSN.
For more information, contact GIF Editor Harrison Donnelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or search our online archives for related stories at www.gif-kmi.com.
even beyond monitoring just commercial bandwidth.” The company also employs a global network of RF monitoring/location sensors that are contracted as a service, supporting both JFCC-Space and the Defense Information Systems Agency in assessing/assuring the electromagnetic interference environment. “At any given point in time a portion of commercial and MILSATCOM capacity is impaired or even rendered useless due to RF interference, mostly from unintentional rather than an adversary. Incidents of interference will worsen as more communication satellites and new ground antennas/ networks are deployed,” said Monahan. Common causes of interference include adjacent satellite with mispointed antennas, overlap of used frequencies, wrong polarization, and equipment failures. Once detected, the interference can frequently be stopped just by making a phone call to the right location. Newer technology will take this a step further, “subtracting”’ or cancelling out unintentional interference that otherwise cannot be negated. Another recent issue concerns high throughput satellites (HTS), which have some 70 “spot beams” that are smaller than the typical single widebeam of a conventional satellite. In response, Monahan said, “We are shrinking the size and cost of the sensors that detect the interference within the spot beams, coupling that with a platform to collect, visualize and manage that exponentially greater amount of data.”
Rising SAR New synthetic aperture radar capabilities increase its security value and expand its commercial applications. By Henry Canaday, IGF Correspondent
The latest synthetic aperture radar (SAR) capabilities—including new frequencies, new platforms and techniques, and more-accessible interpretation tools— are increasing the technology’s value for security needs while also greatly expanding its usefulness in a host of other areas. “SAR was not a very fast growth market for 20 years, but in the past few years it has accelerated,” said Claude Rousseau, research director at Northern Sky
Research (NSR). Rousseau attributes the speed-up to more competition among SAR providers, better processing of SAR imagery and greater comfort with SAR among potential users. SAR has been too complex to use, but smarter processing has helped a lot, he added, noting, “That enabled awareness of what it can do and can’t do.” On the supply side, manufacturers are providing more high-resolution SAR imagers, high-res images
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are available at more frequent revisit rates, and different resolutions and coverage are available. SAR technology has advanced with enhanced digital beam-forming antennas enabling wide swaths and high resolution, reducing prices per image and increasing counts of image layers. “Price points were horrible, but now they are coming down,” reported Prateep Basu, an NSR analyst. The World Radio Conference (WRC) has doubled bandwidth for SAR, from 600 megahertz to 1.2 gigahertz, which allows higherquality images and better analysis of imaged surfaces. “They can now go for small areas, using SAR to detect small vessels for maritime safety and identifying suspicious activities,” Basu explained. Many ships have corner reflectors, allowing SAR to measure length. The technique can also measure wakes and ship direction, track oil leaks and illegal bilging of tanks. caption text “With more layers of data for the environment, we will see land mapping, and it will get more precise on surface movements and unstable layers,” Basu predicted. The NSR analyst pointed to SAR’s cloud-piercing abilities, noting that some frequencies can even see through tree canopies. For agricultural users, SAR can assess humidity and determine whether crops are dry. The multiple images enabled by SAR interferometry and polarimetry are powerful for measuring displacement and subsidence. Images of the same location taken at different times can quantify shifts of fault lines after earthquakes. Interferometry analyzes changes while polarimetry works with horizontal and vertical pulses sent by and returned to SAR imagers. Active SAR imaging generates massive files, and transferring these to end-users had been a challenge, often met by physical distribution. But cloud computing now supports file storage, processing and distribution. “Apps in the cloud will be a major support for greater use,” Basu said. “People are more comfortable with SAR, and they get data in hours or minutes.” Rousseau said he sees SAR, once used almost exclusively for defense, getting into enterprise markets. High resolution, frequent revisit, data analytics and the cloud as platform make that possible. But prices, though declining, are still an issue. “Cost per square kilometer is not as low as optical, but getting lower.” Experts say SAR will be used most extensively in cloud-dense regions, enabling users to get SAR surveillance faster than by waiting for optical to get clear-day shots. So SAR may often complement rather than replace optical tools. It’s still tough to reduce SAR’s footprint, as firms have tried to do for years. The active power array and other features present multiple challenges in minimizing SAR. Radars and lenses are now the major constraints on further reduction, Basu said, adding that four planned NovaSAR satellites, weighing 250 to 300 kilograms, will be the smallest satellites yet when they fly.
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Bandwidth for Color One company with high expectations for SAR is Airbus Defense and Space, which sees the WRC decision to expand bandwidth for SAR opening the door to an unprecedented image resolution quality in color of future SAR satellites. Alexander Kaptein, head of future SAR programs at Airbus Defence and Space, said expansion of bandwidth for earth observation by X-Band SAR satellites to 1.2 GHz will give a clear boost to commercial SAR. “This will allow resolutions better than 25 centimeters and colorful imagery using multi-polarized data.” The new images will be 16 times better than standard 1-meter data used today, and closer to what users are accustomed to with optical images. Airbus has been working for several years on its next generation of SAR satellites to follow TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X. The next-gen constellation will be funded by Airbus as well as participating governments and private partners. No date has been set yet for launch of next-gen SAR satellites, but the company will ensure business continuity, Kaptein said. Similarly, the number of satellites has not been fixed. As Airbus is planning on high-quality and high-resolution radar, power needs will be substantial, so satellite sizes will remain similar those previously launched. While resolution will be better than 25 by 25 centimeters, Kaptein cautions that resolution is only one improvement. Image quality will also dramatically increase due to noise reduction. And the images will be in color, which he predicts will disrupt radar imagery. The new constellation will operate between 500 and 800 km, likely in polar orbits in the same orbit tube Airbus has used before. “We want to maintain the constellation principle and allow interferometry,” Kaptein said, while adding that Airbus will evaluate other orbits for special mid-latitude or equatorial monitoring. High-resolution images with quadruple polarization will enable www.GIF-kmi.com
colorized images and better image interpretation, leading to improved recognition and classification of objects and infrastructure. “This will be possible even for larger areas of interest, such as military airbases, harbors and mining locations,” he explained. Better images also enable better monitoring of smaller vessels and suspicious activities at sea, especially piracy and smuggling. In addition, colorized images from polarimetry will improve environmental applications such as monitoring land cover, forestry and oil spills and mapping land use. Airbus is targeting all these and other applications. The new satellites will measure geolocation in two dimensions, model elevation in three dimensions and detect surface movements in four Surface Movement Monitoring of Underground Construction in Budapest, Hungary, with multi-temporal TerraSAR-X images. [Image courtesy of ???] dimensions. “The new sensor generation will allow monitoring of single buildings or bridge dynamics and resulting stress thanks to unprecedented resolution and best-in-class geolocation accuracy,” Kaptein said. “Satellite geodesy will become operational reality.” The company is also aiming for ground moving target identification with new processing approaches. Still, no single sensor can solve all of the issues people are facing, Kaptein acknowledged. But he predicted that Airbus’s smart combination of radar and optical satellites provides customers what they need, when they need it, in wide coverage, fine detail, intensive monitoring, reliable collection and extensive archives. Airbus already offers the largest earth-observation satellite fleet commercially available. Its optical satellites comprise three twins: the very-high-resolution Pléiades and high-resolution SPOT 6 and SPOT 7, which share Pléiades’ orbit, guaranteeing daily revisits worldwide. Weather-independent radar satellites TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X will be complemented by Spain’s PAZ in 2016. And Airbus has access to data from other firms’ satellites such as DMC or KazEOSat-1.
Next-Generation Constellation MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA), meanwhile, is moving into next-generation SAR with a 2018 constellation for the Canadian government. Under contract with the Canadian Space Agency since January 2013, the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) will consist of three new RADARSAT satellites, orbiting at 586 to 615 km, well below their predecessor RADARSAT-2’s 798 km. “There’s lots of activity in earth observation, not just SAR specifically,” observed David Belton, MDA vice president of geospatial services. “There’s a wealth of new satellite operators and new mission concepts, the bulk in optical, but also in SAR.” SAR satellites tend to be large, since SAR is power-hungry for projecting and receiving pulses, and this drives significant mass. There are ways to reduce weight, Belton said, but not to the minimum levels reached by optical satellites. The new-generation RADARSATs will be significantly smaller than RADARSAT-2, with radar compacted into a smaller space to reduce launch costs without sacrificing image quality. At launch, RCM satellites will weigh 1,400 kg, more than a third less than RADARSAT-2. The radar alone will weigh 400 kg, down from 750 www.GIF-kmi.com
kg in RADARSAT-2, and antenna length at 6.75 meters is less than half that of previous antennae. RCM mostly responds to Canada’s desire for more frequent revisits and coverage of broader areas. Consistent and reliable matching of these goals is not possible with a single satellite. Certain applications require returning to locations in days or weeks. RCM will enable daily revisits to 90 percent of the earth’s surface. Defense, security, resource monitoring and maritime surveillance will be the primary missions of RCM. Although built for the Canadian government, the constellation will eventually serve commercial customers, many of which MDA already serves with RADARSAT-2. IGF 14.1 | 9
A new feature will be compact polarimetry, which is a shortcut to obtain data similar to that of quad-polarimetry. This will yield radar images analogous to multi-spectral optical sensors that can see different elements of changes on the ground. RCM resolution will be similar to RADARSAT-2, with the highest in spotlight mode at 1 by 3 meters. Broader coverage decreases resolution. RCM’s largest coverage swathe will be 450 km. “There’s a tradeoff of resolution versus coverage,” Belton noted. The new constellation has a mission life of seven years. MDA is already looking ahead of RCM, because it is important to plan for data continuity, as well as coverage, in SAR. The obvious SAR advantage over optical is its ability to see through clouds, and some regions cannot be observed regularly without cloud cover. Another important driver is caption text vessel detection in maritime surveillance, as optical cameras are best suited to look at local points, while SAR can observe large areas. Apart from putting up satellites and providing images, MDA also offers value-added satellite services in geospatial markets, and this latter business is growing fast. The company is rolling out new applications to serve new markets. MDA is now looking at monitoring illegal fisheries, an increasingly important function. It also wants to support ship navigation through ice as polar ice retreats and shipping lanes open up. RCM will offer four passes per day in Canada’s far north and several passes caption text per day over the Northwest Passage. MDA has already rolled out a service that detects deforestation in areas so consistently cloudy that optical sensors cannot do the job. MDA has long supported the oil and gas industry, receiving three new oil-and gas contracts early this year. But the market is troubled by low oil prices, so MDA is looking at the mining industry, for which SAR can detect small changes in vertical elevation. Such detection can spot subsidence and ground heaves, which can represent significant risk factors for the environment and personnel safety in mining. Belton stressed that MDA handles all SAR pieces, designing satellites, defining missions, building satellites, running ground stations, providing images and interpreting them. RADARSAT satellites have the broadest areas of acquisition, and MDA has 30 direct-access stations around the globe that it downloads image data to. “We can process data in minutes and give near real-time data to customers,” said Belton.
Low-Cost Approach Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) is working to bring the price point of space systems down to encourage wider use, 10 | IGF 14.1
according to Andrew Cawthorne, head of earth observation for the company. Gallium nitride amplifier technology has been a key enabler of low-cost SAR, and combining it with SSTL’s low-cost construction of satellite platforms has led to development of a lowcost S-band SAR satellite. NovaSAR, due for launch later this year, is the first application of the low-cost approach. SSTL is talking to several potential mission partners about the NovaSAR constellation, with both low costs and unparalleled revisit times. Instead of an expensive satellite that does everything everybody wants, NovaSAR targets and is designed for a few applications. It will be perfectly tuned for maritime surveillance, forestry, flooding and a few other uses. It also has a distinctive maritime surveillance mode for very wide-area ship detection. SAR images are not really colored like optical images, Cawthorne explained, but different polarizations can create pseudo-color images that are easier to interpret. The future will see more such colorized SAR images as people learn to exploit SAR more fully, he predicted. Another player in this field is UrtheCast, which plans to launch a constellation of at least eight SAR and eight optical satellites by www.GIF-kmi.com
specific algorithms and application platforms.” 2020. There will be two orbital planes, each with four Future applications will include monitoring of satellite pairs. Dual-mode, high-resolution optical terrain displacement, transport and energy infrasatellites will fly in tandem with dual-band high-resstructure, he said. SAR will also be used for detectolution SAR satellites. Processing will be real-time ing changes in human activity in both rural and onboard, satellites will cross-cue, and real-time urban areas. These capabilities will require not cloud imaging by leading SAR satellites will enable only next-gen SAR images but development of new cloud avoidance by trailing optical satellites. Two applications. orbital planes will maximize revisit rates in mid-latExploiting these possibilities requires not only itudes, while still yielding global coverage includunderstanding SAR, but also experience with the ing poles. phenomena being observed and how they correlate SSTL will build the optical instruments and Marcello Maranesi with backscatter from SAR. “Education and training spacecraft, while UrtheCast provides SAR payloads. of many more people and more automated application platforms Flying in pairs, SAR will lead optical satellites by a minute or two. will be necessary to boost use of SAR data,” Maranesi said. Having optical and SAR imaging at virtually the same time and E-GEOS itself has made substantial investments in research look angle will enable an image with high-resolution optical, video, and development over the last decade to prepare for exploitation of X-band and L-band SAR taken at the same time. This will revoluits COSMO-SkyMed Constellation. Funds have come from e-GEOS tionize what can be done with the data, Cawthorne predicted. and its European Union partners. The company has been working closely with potential end-users and learning about internal workFast-Response Mapping flows at these users. This collaboration with customers has helped developed chains E-GEOS’s COSMO-SkyMed constellation has four identical SAR for processing SAR data that are specialized for each product in satellites and provides revisit capabilities at least four times a day each market segment. E-GEOS can now provide customized supall over the world. port for maritime surveillance, rapid mapping, change detection “SAR has day, night and all-weather imaging capability that and monitoring agriculture, urban areas and infrastructure, many guarantees use by customers,” noted CEO Marcello Maranesi. of which are part of the European Copernicus program. “With such capability, services such as maritime surveillance or fast-response mapping are possible.” The future will see an increase in applications based on specific capabilities of SAR, Maranesi predicted. While SAR data can For more information, contact IGF Editor Harrison Donnelly be regarded as images and photo-interpreted like optical images, at email@example.com or search our online archives other capabilities and requirements are also involved. “SAR data for related stories at www.gif-kmi.com. has much more information content that needs to be extracted by www.GIF-kmi.com
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Crowdsourcing proves to be a valuable tool in both analyzing geospatial imagery and developing geospatial apps. By Peter Buxbaum IGF Correspondent Geospatial companies and the intelligence community are developing new ways to further integrate crowdsourcing of information into intelligence and imagery analysis. Hexagon Geospatial, for example, recently launched a crowdsourcing app development project to contribute to its geospatial computing platform. “Our expertise is in developing software that turns measurements and data about our planet into meaningful information,” said Kenyon Waugh, who leads the Hexagon Smart M.App Solutions Team. “We are crowdsourcing the next generation of apps. We are providing support and content for people to come in, using cloud technology, and figure out where we should focus and where people are passionate about using geospatial information.” Imagery giant DigitalGlobe offers a crowdsourcing service that uses an intuitive web interface and advanced geospatial consensus algorithms to obtain analysis and insights from an online network of thousands of imagery analysts. In addition, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Defense 12 | IGF 14.1
Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have been experimenting with competitions and other ways of stimulating geospatial crowdsourcing. To be sure, crowdsourcing of geospatial information has been around since way before the term was coined in 2006. As early as 1999, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Hazards Program was developing “community Internet intensity maps” using geographic data submitted by the public to its Did You Feel It? website. The call for public information on areas affected by an earthquake was meant to provide data for geologic research as well as to provide situational awareness for emergency management agencies. Crowdsourcing is an approach in which a wide range of participating experts and non-experts join a project to produce data with simple processes. There are numerous examples since 1999 of the crowdsourcing of geospatial data. Researchers have turned to the public for global urban area mapping, on specific disaster relief projects, for ongoing monitoring of conflict zones, and others. www.GIF-kmi.com
Making these kinds of data collections happen in 2016 typically requires an easy-to-use software application accessible by way of a smartphone or other handheld device. The implications for military and intelligence operations are not hard to imagine. Field data collected by members of the public can enhance situational awareness above and beyond the organic resources of defense and national security organizations. An Android app called Mobile Alert, a cloud-based citizen crowdsourcing application, is already being used by dozens of local governments around the world to encourage citizen reporting of infrastructure damage and public hazards. The 2010 Haiti disaster was the first time crowdsourced information was integrated within a short timeframe to achieve situational awareness. Recent research from George Mason University has found that “prior to the earthquake, large areas of Haiti lacked coverage by the Haitian government and by commercial geospatial data producers such as Google and Microsoft.” Informational resources that would typically have been developed by the government were lacking, nor had commercial firms found it expedient to invest in detailed mapping of the impoverished country. In a project initiated by the Crisis Mappers Google Group, some 2,000 volunteers—including Haitians living abroad in 40 countries—shared their local geographic knowledge and worked with the emergency managers and first responders to geocode crisis reports coming out of the country. The research from George Mason University (GMU) notes that government agencies, after some initial skepticism, are increasingly investigating ways to incorporate crowdsourced geospatial data.
Tools for Decision-Makers Hexagon in November 2015 released a platform for early adopters to leverage cloud technology. “It allows one- and twoperson development teams to take ideas and apps into the global marketplace,” said Waugh. Early results of Hexagon’s project show that many of the newly developed apps are directed towards efforts such as better understanding electrical transmission and other infrastructures, keeping track of oil and gas assets, and inspecting agricultural operations. “These things change over time,” said Waugh. “Traditional maps are static. We are adding the ability to add to maps in a temporal fashion and putting analytical tools in the hands of people making decisions.” As far as military and intelligence applications, Hexagon has historically developed robust desktop software for those groups. But there has been a migration to the use of more handheld devices among military and intelligence operators, precisely because of their utility for use in the field. “Military and intelligence apps often require functionality in low-bandwidth environments,” said Waugh. “We have been seeing a lot of response to efforts to take live feeds from the field and incorporate them into maps to provide targeted information to end users using tablets and laptops.” There have been a number of crowdsourcing efforts relevant to the issue of global urban area mapping which would be of interest to military and defense organizations, according to the GMU research. Three of the most prominent are OpenStreetMap www.GIF-kmi.com
(OSM), the Degree Confluence Project (DCP), and Geo-Wiki. OSM was started with the purpose of providing freely available road map data. DCP is a crowdsourcing project for building ground truth databases, while Geo-Wiki provides web-based interfaces for global land maps. Among applications directed at particular world trouble spots, SyriaTracker is an open-source application designed specifically for crowdsourcing of information about violence in that civil-war-torn nation. The app receives reports of missing persons, killings, arrests, and other incidents and crimes. “SyriaTracker is unique in the flexibility of user input,” said the George Mason report, “allowing contributors to report crimes in multiple languages and multiple channels.” Channels accepted include direct web entry, smartphone and email transmission, tagging Twitter tweets with hashtags, and using the Google Speak2Tweet111 service to call a phone number and leave a message. The DARPA has also gotten into the crowdsourcing act, with its DARPA Network Challenge, also known as the Red Balloon Challenge. The activity was a real-world search for the locations of 10 weather balloons placed in public, but undisclosed locations around the United States. DARPA’s real interest, according to an agency document was to “explore the roles the Internet and social networking play in the timely communication, wide-area team building, and urgent mobilization required to solve broad-scope, time-critical problems.” About 4,300 teams participated in the challenge. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology team won the $40,000 prize. “Their approach,” said DARPA, “emphasized both speed (in terms of number of people recruited) and breadth (covering as much U.S. geography as possible). They set up a platform for viral collaboration that used recursive incentives to align the public’s interest with the goal of winning the challenge.” DigitalGlobe last summer participated with the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation to sponsor a crowdsourcing-focused “hackathon” competition. In addition, the company recently launched a new crowdsourcing community called GeoHIVE, which seeks to harness the power of automation and crowdsourcing to convert our raw imagery into actionable observations. “We are seeking U.S. citizens interested in participating in paid campaigns to rapidly analyze DigitalGlobe satellite imagery in response to trending global events,” explained Tony Frazier, senior vice president of government solutions. “Think of it as Uber for imagery analysis,” he added. “Members of GeoHIVE will be able to respond to opportunities to discover and validate points of interest, draw territorial boundaries, and monitor activity over areas of interest.”
For more information, contact IGF Editor Harrison Donnelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or search our online archives for related stories at www.gif-kmi.com.
IGF 14.1 | 13
INDUSTRY RASTER Geospatial Workstations Support Army Ground System
MaxVision Rugged Portable Computers has completed shipment of the initial 200 MaxPac XL portable geospatial workstations to General Dynamics Mission Systems supporting the Army’s Distributed Common Ground Systems-Army (DCGS-A) requirements. The MaxPac8261XL2 workstation was chosen by
Geocoder Hides Addresses Behind a Firewall World Geocoder for ArcGIS from Esri enables users to securely map global addresses behind a firewall so that sensitive data is never exposed. Geocoding adds location context to data so that it can be displayed on a map. World Geocoder for ArcGIS has several key benefits for organizations in addition to protecting ensitive data. It includes an API that can be used to add geocoding capabilities to ArcGIS apps and custom apps. World Geocoder for ArcGIS has been designed to geocode addresses from multiple countries, using a single locator, for a flat, fixed price. World Geocoder for ArcGIS can provide street-level information for data from over 100 countries. Using World Geocoder for ArcGIS, users can interactively locate addresses on a map, one request at a time; batch geocode many addresses at once; and reverse geocode based on provided coordinates.
14 | IGF 14.1
the DCGS-A Integrated Equipment Team out of Fort Belvoir, Va., as a result of an intensive trade study. The products were shipped to General Dynamics Mission Systems, which provides the final integrated system and worldwide support under the CHS-4 contract with the Army.
Geospatial Data Warehouse Eliminates Redundancy Harris has expanded collaboration with Boundless to further extend its capabilities in open-source geospatial technology. This partnership makes it easier and more cost effective for customers to access, manage and share the huge amount of location-based data available from devices, sensors and satellites. Most recently, Harris has developed a geospatial data warehouse called One Object One Time (1O1T), which eliminates redundant data and stores the most current representation of geospatial objects such as a lighthouse
or communications tower. This capability ensures data currency and significantly reduces the time required for processing and delivering content and products compared with traditional methods Harris is using 1O1T to provide content management services and create high-quality data and products for use by a wide variety of government and commercial customers. Boundless’ OpenGeo Suite is the leading open-source enterprise geospatial software bundle and it expands Harris’ existing offerings like 1O1T.
WorldView-4 Capacity Orders Show Strength DigitalGlobe has announced its third customer commitment for direct access capacity on the WorldView-4 satellite, which is expected to begin commercial operations in early 2017 following its launch in September 2016. Since the end of the third quarter of 2015, the company has received contracts and letters of intent from international defense and intelligence customers totaling $335 million
for capacity on WorldView-3 and WorldView-4, representing $38 million of incremental annual revenue starting in 2017. DigitalGlobe accelerated the launch of WorldView-4 to meet strong international demand for the world’s highest resolution commercial satellite imagery, and these pre-launch commitments ensure that the satellite will begin generating revenue in early 2017.
Compiled by KMIâ€ˆMedia Group staff
Video Software Offers Enhanced Visibility
The latest version of the PureActiv geospatial video management and video analytics software from PureTech Systems moves to an overall darker color scheme that not only is perfect for viewing in low light situations, but also allows better contrast in brightly lit areas. The update allows the application to further its objective for providing enhanced situational awareness in security situations. The new color scheme applies to all main application windows, including video palette, alarm window and map. It also applies to support functions including camera groups, status windows, server health, alarm cameras and map layer selection windows.
Bracket Supports Sensor Payload Variety
http://www.puretechsystems.com/images/PureActiv12GUI.png[3/14/2016 3:13:41 PM]
Northrop Grumman has successfully flown a SYERS-2 intelligence gathering sensor on an RQ-4 Global Hawk high altitude long endurance UAS, marking the first time the legacy Air Force sensor has been demonstrated on a high altitude unmanned aircraft. With the success of the SYERS-2 flight, Northrop Grumman plans to fly an Optical Bar Camera sensor and an MS-177 multi-spectral sensor later in the year. Existing models of the Air Force Global Hawk are capable of carrying an Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite, Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload and Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program. The addition of legacy and future sensors is made possible by Northrop Grummanâ€™s innovative Universal Payload Adapter, a bracket that mounts to an existing Global Hawk airframe, allowing it to support a wide variety of payloads.
GNSS Receiver Accesses Multiple Constellations
The Trimble R9s GNSS receiver gives geospatial professionals another option to consider when searching for a receiver with the flexibility to scale as needed. The receiver is built on a sleek, modular GNSS platform and users can add functionality according to their workflow demands. It provides access to multiple GNSS constellations, wide-band 450 MHz internal radio and Ethernet connectivity, and is easily configurable via the front panel. The solution also offers scalability from an entry-level receiver for post-processing, to a full-featured triple-frequency GNSS base and rover.
Airborne System Offers Autonomous Collection The Optech Eclipse from Teledyne Optech is the first autonomous airborne system to focus on operator-less data collection from tightly integrated passive and active imaging sensors on low-cost platforms. Designed specifically for the efficient data collection of smaller project areas and corridor applications, the Eclipse requires only a pilot for navigation. The Eclipsehttp://gisuser.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/R9s_Zgeo_Right_45_70930.jpg[3/14/2016 combines an 3:11:34 PM] eye-safe, high-performance, 1.5-micron laser with a high-accuracy automatic imaging system for effortless collection of high-resolution LiDAR data and imagery via its innovative sensor motion detec- (LMS). LMS includes both LiDAR and image tion system. Simply press the power button pre-processing within a single workflow, and and the sensor automatically starts collecting employs robust least-squares algorithms to data when the sensor is in motion. A small auto-calibrate LiDAR data and perform photodash-mounted status bar feeds sensor status grammetric block adjustments. Relative and information to the pilot with LEDs and incor- absolute accuracies are then quantified and porates a simple switch to start recording data is output in a variety of formats. Included data. LiDAR and image data are simulta- is a flight planning tool that leverages a digital neously captured on a single high-capacity globe for 3-D planning purposes and generates removable SSD cartridge for fast and efficient flightline waypoints for direct ingestion into data transfer to Optech LiDAR Mapping Suite navigation systems.
IGF 14.1 | 15
Geospatial Pathfinder Succeeding in the Open
Robert Cardillo Director National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Robert Cardillo is the sixth director of the National GeospatialIntelligence Agency (NGA), who leads and directs NGA under the authorities of the secretary of defense and director of national intelligence. He became NGA’s director on Oct. 3, 2014. Prior to this assignment, Cardillo served as the first deputy director for intelligence integration, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, from 2010 to 2014. In addition, he served as the deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the deputy director for analysis, DIA, from 2006 to 2010. In the summer of 2009, Cardillo served as the acting J2, a first for a civilian, in support of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Before he moved to DIA, Cardillo led Analysis and Production as well as Source Operations and Management at NGA from 2002 to 2006. His leadership assignments at NGA also included congressional affairs, public affairs, and corporate relations. Cardillo began his career with DIA in 1983 as an imagery analyst, and he was selected to the Senior Executive Service in 2000. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Cornell University in 1983 and a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from Georgetown University in 1988. Q: You have spoken frequently about the need to transform NGA and the intelligence community to respond to a transparent world. How are projects like GEOINT Pathfinder and mapping the Arctic aligning NGA for the future? A: Our GEOINT Pathfinder and Arctic efforts affirm that a key to NGA’s future success hinges on succeeding in the open--we will go wherever necessary to obtain the needed data--and we will apply that data wherever the mission demands. This isn’t an arbitrary shift, but stems from customer demand to operate on the World Wide Web for certain missions. Credit is due to the GEOINT Pathfinder team, which figured out that careful, important balance between the risks and rewards of identifying the agency when registering for free and online services. These are the same publicly available services any external researcher might use in the private sector. The Arctic is a great example of why we must become more comfortable explaining why we need access to these services. Much of our work mapping the Arctic region is unclassified. As such, we must create and post public content that expands the public’s knowledge of 16 | IGF 14.1
Arctic issues, and enable outside input to our datasets. Most of our Arctic-focused customers demand we do so. Q: You often mention the need to “succeed in the open.” If asked to give a progress report, what would you say? A: Changing culture or learned behavior is hard, and government isn’t known for its ability to turn on a dime. At both the beginning and the end of the day, mission drives the decision to operate in the open. Sometimes we’ll operate in the open, and sometimes we won’t. Sometimes, we’ll do both simultaneously. Now, if one side of the “succeeding in the open” coin is mission, the other side might be our obligation as a taxpayer-funded institution. What can we share, openly discuss, or give back to that public audience? For starters, the high rate of GEOINT commercialization gives us an advantage: We can talk transparently about some of our mission sets. Next, our release of more than 50 open source projects on GitHub established worldwide transparency of our products and helps us engage all levels of government, industry, academia and even the casual geospatial enthusiast. Doing so promotes understanding, generates ideas and helps us learn. Several of these projects have gained popularity, including GeoQ, Gamification, MrGeo, Geowave and Hootenanny. Our most popular www.GIF-kmi.com
project is GeoQ, a disaster-response tool that relies on open collaboration and has helped us and others become more efficient and innovative with tradecraft, tools and techniques. It also helps Team GEOINT change its response model for disaster events by coordinating with partners in real-time and transcending legal and policy hurdles. Q: You’ve recently concluded phase 1 of the GEOINT Pathfinder initiative. What did you learn? What can we expect to see from phase 2? A: One of the most exciting aspects of the first phase of GEOINT Pathfinder project were the lessons learned--and in a humbling way, we certainly learned a lot. As the author Samuel Beckett once said: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” My philosophy is that as long as we learn something valuable from experimentation--as long as we “fail forward”--then taking risks are worth it. Because, if we don’t challenge ourselves, someone else--or something else--will. Pathfinder 1 highlighted the technical and soft skills required to be effective in an environment where GEOINT is commercializing. It also emphasized that lifelong learning and constant retraining are essential. It also left us with some big realizations about the “big data” world we live in. We need to increase technical competence and what GEOINT Pathfinder calls our “data IQ.” We need to train our staff how to analyze data to generate unique insights, collaborate internally with globally dispersed teams, and communicate those insights to nontechnical audiences. Pathfinder showed us we can do high-quality work within flat organizational structures. When you give people freedom to fail and make it safe to fail in front of others without judgment, you’ll be surprised how often they overachieve. Pathfinder 2 has several missions, one of which is developing the agency’s flagship unclassified analytic output. We do unclassified analysis, and the analysis is often ported to our classified systems. I believe there is unmet demand for unclassified intelligence output. This doesn’t necessarily mean public. Q: You have reached out to the technology and start-up community industry, for example addressing the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) early this year. What does this convey about NGA and innovation? A: More and more. I think the federal government, Department of Defense and intelligence community have come to realize that we cannot and should not do everything ourselves internally. When there is so much amazing technology right outside of our doors, on our cellphones, why reinvent that wheel? For the IC, this means reaching out beyond our comfort zones to include more public crowdsourcing and partnering. If we are to embrace real innovation, we need to collaborate, not compete, with industry and learn from their ideas. We need to address people, process and technology to keep pace with the future. Events like CES provide excellent opportunities for us to look, listen and learn. They also provide glimpses into the future and how technology may progress. Pathfinder 1 provided most of its software development projects publicly, including a WordPress modification and a deep learning system. Transparent projects in places like GitHub help us communicate more clearly with nontraditional partners. The majority of the www.GIF-kmi.com
CES audience probably doesn’t speak the “Beltway acquisition language” we speak internally. They do identify with strong documentation within GitHub. This clearly shows what we’re working on and how industry and academia can get involved. Q: Where do you see NGA’s relationship with the commercial remote sensing industry, which provides the great majority of the imagery you use, today? How is this relationship evolving toward in the future? A: NGA’s relationship with the commercial remote sensing industry remains strong. And I see this relationship becoming deeper and broader as we move forward. Commercial imagery has been our primary source of foundation imagery data for years. However, we also use it to support a wide and expanding variety of other missions to support the defense, intelligence and federal civil communities. Its quality, accuracy and ability to be shared make it essential to many U.S. government missions, including disaster response and diplomatic actions. The ongoing explosion in commercial geospatial capabilities— and I’m talking about more than just imaging sensors here—is causing a seismic shift in geospatial intelligence. We anticipate the new generation of commercial providers will supply new insights, with opportunities to improve resiliency and spectral diversity. As companies launch increasingly capable constellations of small earth observation satellites, an enormous wave of new geospatial content will feed modern big-data analytics and pave the way for new analytic methods and tradecraft. IGF 14.1 | 17
NGA will ingest a wide variety of commercial services in the future, including imagery, geospatial information and analytics. Commercial GEOINT is a key part of our strategy to succeed in the open. Q: You released the NGA Commercial GEOINT Strategy late last year, highlighting the need for persistence--collection at the speed of the observable--from multiple sources. What role do you anticipate for small satellites in the future of geospatial intelligence? A: It’s a great time for GEOINT. The increased capabilities and sources are really exciting. And the new analytic methodologies and geospatial services the small-sat data streams will enable is even more exciting. We are engaging with industry and our mission partners in the intelligence and defense communities to understand what capabilities industry is delivering and how we can use them to support mission requirements. NGA is source-neutral regarding data sources. We are working closely with the National Reconnaissance Office, and will use all available information sources, including the best mix of commercial capabilities, to improve our ability to deliver value to our customers. Q: Last fall, NGA Deputy Director Sue Gordon announced an initiative to develop a streamlined and more efficient acquisition system. Why is this initiative important to NGA and what have you accomplished so far? A: We all know that the only way to our future is through partnership - in this case with those who produce the technologies that have increasing potential to enable emergent needs. We have done a lot. We streamlined our acquisition structure and we introduced GSM. But we, both industry and government, still need to shift to a focus on outcomes and we still need to be faster from identification to integration. Q: How has activity-based intelligence influenced such current events as the migration of Syrian refugees and the structural integrity of the Mosul Dam? A: Activity-based intelligence (ABI) is a mindset. It refers to how we think about our intelligence problems and how we go about developing the analytical judgments that provide valuable knowledge that addresses customers’ needs. ABI isn’t new. It has been part of the IC and GEOINT tradecraft for years. ABI allows us to exploit patterns of life and discover new information from data. A prime example of how we are using ABI is our multi-INT approach to conducting anticipatory analysis of Syrian refugee movement. The ongoing situation within Syria makes our process unique because we cannot solely depend on GEOINT to formulate reliable analysis. We’re combining open source, tribal, ethnic, and Syrian threat reporting with our own geospatial intelligence and structured observation management data to begin to conduct predictive analysis of population movements. While each independent data source show trends over time, we’re striving for high-confidence analytic assessments that can only be achieved by integrating multiple sources of information. This approach allows NGA to provide our mission partners the information required to provide timely humanitarian assistance. In the case of the Mosul Dam, we have been monitoring the situation 18 | IGF 14.1
since August 2014, when ISIL took control of the dam and subsequently lost it. We continue to assess its status and monitor the decline of the dam’s stability, identify structural issues and areas of movement. We continually develop processes to exploit spatial correlations of geo-located data to highlight activity at the dam that may not be visible through logical or relational means. All of that work resulted in appropriate warning to policy and warfighting customers. Q: You recently announced a realignment of your research and development directorate. What does this mean for the future of NGA and your R&D initiatives? A: Restructuring our R&D group into NGA Research is an important step to keep NGA at the forefront of GEOINT. NGA Research is key in our delivery of disruptive innovation to the IC mission. NGA Research will work with and leverage world-class talent from outside the agency, including industry, academia and cutting-edge scientific and technical institutions globally. Our previous R&D efforts focused on development. Although that focus ushered in countless GEOINT capabilities, to keep ahead of our adversaries we must strategically invest our time and trust in key scientific GEOINT areas. As innovative discoveries are made, we need to quickly and rigorously analyze, define, safeguard and execute our plan of transition. Disruptive innovation only counts to the IC if it is transitioned to the right place at the right time. NGA Research is already executing in seven areas. These areas, or “pods,” are in radar, automation, geophysics, spectral, environment and culture, geospatial cyber and anticipatory analytics. I am confident that NGA Research will give the IC the significant advantage it needs to stay ahead. www.GIF-kmi.com
Persistent Developer Increasing Space Capabilities Through New Technologies Betty Sapp Director National Reconnaissance Office Betty Sapp was appointed the 18th director of the National Reconnaissance Office (DNRO) on July 6, 2012. The DNRO provides direction, guidance, and supervision over all matters pertaining to NRO and executes other authorities specifically delegated by the secretary of defense and director of national intelligence. Sapp began her government career as an Air Force officer in a variety of acquisition and financial management positions, including business management positions in NRO; program element monitor at the Pentagon for the MILSTAR system; program manager for the FLTSATCOM program at the Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles, Calif.; and manager of a joint-service development effort for the A-10 engine at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. In 1997, Sapp joined the Central Intelligence Agency. She was assigned to NRO, where she served in a variety of senior management positions. In 2005, she was appointed deputy director, NRO for business plans and operations. As such, she was responsible for all NRO business functions, including current-year financial operations, preparation of auditable financial statements, business systems development, budget planning, cost estimating and contracting, as well as all executive and legislative liaison activities. In May 2007, Sapp was appointed deputy under secretary of defense (portfolio, programs and resources), Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. In this position, she was responsible for executive oversight of the multibillion-dollar portfolio of defense intelligence-related acquisition programs; planning, programming, budgeting and execution of the multibillion dollar Military Intelligence Program; and technology efforts critical to satisfying both current and future warfighter needs. In April 2009, Sapp was appointed NRO principal deputy director, providing overall day-to-day management of NRO, with decision responsibility as delegated by the DNRO. Sapp holds a Bachelor of Arts and an MBA, Management, both from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Q: What are your top priorities for NRO in 2016? A: This year, NRO will remain focused on delivering increased persistence and performance from space, developing the ground and transport capabilities necessary to take full advantage of our space-based assets, and improving the resiliency and protection of our entire architecture. Together, these priorities will ensure we can continue to support the nation’s highest priority intelligence www.GIF-kmi.com
requirements, despite evolving targets and increasing threats. We are constantly improving the persistence, and increasing the capabilities and sensitivities of our space systems through new technologies developed and matured by the NRO Research and Development (R&D) program. We are also developing the “thinking” ground systems necessary to exploit our full capability, as well as those of others—and at the speeds required to support future operations. For example, our SENTIENT system is currently providing automated, multi-intelligence tipping and cueing at machine speeds. That is just one example of the more advanced capabilities we have already fielded to demonstrate the potential and show the way to our future ground architecture. We are also enhancing our ability to provide all decision makers, from senior policy makers to deployed warfighters, the ability to temporally and spatially visualize intelligence information, making it easier for them to find what they’re looking for. Finally, we are investing in the resiliency of our ground- and space-based systems to ensure we continue to perform our mission, through any ground or space-based threat. By driving and harnessing new technology, and by fully leveraging all that is commercially available, we will continue to meet our strategic objectives and improve our performance, in service to our nation’s policymakers and warfighters. Q: What are your current launch plans, and how do you see your launch strategy evolving over the next few years? A: Successful launches are absolutely essential to NRO’s mission IGF 14.1 | 19
success, and we could not do it without a strong partnership with the Air Force. Getting our systems safely into the right orbit is essential and the Air Force has a stellar track record of supporting our requirements, and assuring our missions. Our current launch schedule is a busy one--eight launches in less than two years. This year began with the successful Atlas V launch of NROL-45 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on February 10. The next two launches will take place at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. NROL-37 is a Delta IV heavy mission scheduled for early June, and NROL-61 will be an Atlas V launch later that month. We will finish the calendar year with an Atlas V launch from Vandenberg, NROL-79, in early December. Next year, we hope to have our first SpaceX Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral, currently planned for March. We then have two launches planned for Vandenberg--NROL-42 on an Atlas V in June, and NROL-47 on a Delta IV in October 2017. We are also working with the Air Force to secure a launch slot at Cape Canaveral as early as August 2017 for NROL-52 on an Atlas V. Each of these launches is a visible testament to the diligent efforts of our government and contractor program teams that successfully acquire and deliver these NRO space systems, to provide enhanced intelligence capabilities to the warfighter, and improved decision advantage for our analysts and the policy makers they serve. We also continue to work with our Air Force partners to ensure NRO’s future launch requirements can be met. We must continue to have assured access to space through Air Force-certified launch service providers. Q: What do you see as some of the most important areas of R&D for your organization, and what are you doing to encourage innovation? A: R&D is absolutely fundamental to NRO success. My R&D team collaborates with American labs, universities and entrepreneurs to find new ways to do from space what others think impossible to do anywhere. The NRO R&D team has two fundamental objectives: develop and mature the technology required to support the next leap ahead in capability for next-generation NRO space and ground systems; and fundamentally challenge our planned next-generation programs with new technology, new processes, and new thinking. Yes, their job is both to enable, and to disrupt. They do an outstanding job at both. Their enabling mission allows significant new capability in space and ground systems, while maintaining low acquisition risk—the technology required for the new capability is not only developed, but matured in my R&D program before it is transitioned to an acquisition program. The fact that we have capabilities on orbit and on the ground that couldn’t have been imagined five years ago—and that we fielded those capabilities while maintaining a “green” acquisition scorecard for cost and schedule performance—is a testament to my R&D team. They are enablers, who have delivered our “current,” and who make our planned future possible. But they also challenge that future plan—by asking questions, testing new technologies and concepts, and looking at the problem in fundamentally different ways. They are disruptors, who make us test our future plan against alternatives. Both R&D objectives—enabling and disrupting—are absolutely 20 | IGF 14.1
essential to future NRO vibrancy and relevancy. In pursuing both those objectives, my NRO R&D team uses a range of techniques, including the Director’s Innovation Initiative (DII). The DII’s annual broad area announcement continues to bring revolutionary ideas for new technologies to NRO. It also brings us new partners. Since its inception, we received more than 6,000 proposals from 44 states through the DII—and more than 30 percent of those proposals came from non-traditional partners. But your question also referred to innovation, and I would not want anyone to think that innovation belonged solely to the NRO R&D team, or to the engineers and acquisition teams. Quite the opposite is true—innovation is applied to everything we do, from logistics, to contracting, to facilities management. Everyone at the NRO is an innovator. Q: What impact has the IC ITE project had on NRO operations, and how do you see it evolving in the future? A: The IC Information Technology Enterprise (IC ITE) is having and will continue to have a huge impact on NRO operations, from the way networks are built to the way applications are presented to end users. NRO is taking full advantage of the opportunities the IC ITE transition provides. For example, we are investigating how we can modernize our data centers to meet our critical mission needs while moving most of our IT infrastructure into the IC cloud. Preparing for these IC ITE services has allowed NRO to shift its focus from modernizing existing systems to adopting IC ITE services as they become available. This includes recapitalizing typical PC workstations with thin clients, and transitioning server-based applications to the IC ITE commercial cloud services environment. We also anticipate increased operational efficiency by leveraging a mature cloud-based IT infrastructure. By consolidating our IT infrastructure and using more efficient technologies, we expect to improve productivity and strengthen our collaboration with our mission partners. While there are certainly technical challenges associated in moving to common IT services, it is commonly the cultural challenge that slows the adoption of this type of initiative. Fortunately, the men and women of NRO always embrace change that better supports our mission, and IC ITE does exactly that. It also enables cost savings that can be re-invested in new mission capabilities. IC ITE really does represent a huge opportunity for the IC, and one we plan to leverage to the fullest possible extent. Q: How would you assess the current state of the U.S. space industrial base, and what is your strategy for ensuring it remains viable? A: There are certainly fewer U.S. space industry prime contractors. There are also fewer subcontractors and suppliers able and/or willing to do work critical to capabilities we must have. NRO is committed to working closely with the Air Force, NASA, and other space partners to monitor and assess space industrial base issues, share information, assess critical technologies of common concern, and sponsor projects to assist high-risk technologies and associated suppliers. Together, we recognize the need to act, and to act in a coordinated fashion. We have agreed to pursue courses of action that sustain and foster a healthy and vital indigenous space industrial www.GIF-kmi.com
base in support of national security, civil and commercial space interests. I would also hope that the new energy, significant investment, and new entrants into the commercial space market will also serve to strengthen the U.S. space industrial base. Q: How do you respond to the suggestion by some in Congress and elsewhere that NRO acquires satellites at a faster than needed pace as part of its efforts to maintain the space industrial base? Have you implemented any of the changes proposed by the House Intelligence Committee in 2014 to modify your processes in this area? A: That’s an interesting question because more often I hear the exact opposite—that NRO moves too slowly in developing and acquiring our systems. My answer to both criticisms is the same: NRO acquires its space systems in a way that ensures its systems are available to satisfy validated mission requirements from the IC. Our “launch on schedule” approach helps minimize the risk of having a collection gap, improves architectural resiliency, and achieves a more deliberate planning and budget cycle for our systems. It just makes sense from every perspective. Q: How would you assess the impact of the accelerating commercialization of space in both sensing satellites and launch capabilities? A: We leverage commercially available capabilities to the maximum possible extent—including commercially available buses, commercially available IT and transport services. We will do exactly the same thing with commercially available sensing and launch capabilities as they become available. For us, it’s a pretty simple proposition—commercially viable and available services that meet our needs are cheaper than those we would develop ourselves. So, it makes sense for us to take full advantage of those services, and apply the savings to developing the mission capabilities the U.S. needs that are not commercially viable. So, we are extremely happy to see the new investment, and the new energy in commercial space. But, let me be clear—we want to be a customer for relevant, commercially viable and available services; we don’t want to be an upfront “anchortenant” investor helping to prove commercial viability. The government does not do that very well! Q: Dr. Stewart Cameron, director, NRO Survivability Assurance Office (SAO), recently received an award for developing your organization’s resiliency strategy. What can you tell readers about that strategy, and how are you working with other agencies to implement it? A: It is clear that foreign nations understand the incredible decision advantage our capabilities in space provide, which is why some of them are actively pursuing the means to deny us that space advantage. In response, NRO is committed to making its entire mission architecture more resilient, and we have made significant investments to that end. Those investments have been informed by detailed modeling and analysis, and driven by strategy. The effort has been led by Dr. Cameron and his SAO team, and I couldn’t be more proud of their progress and the way they have changed NRO culture. We have worked our resiliency strategy collaboratively with the Department of Defense, the IC, and the broader space community www.GIF-kmi.com
through various means, including the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center (JICSpOC). One of the JICSpOC’s major benefits is that it provides DoD and the IC a robust experimentation environment to test our unity of effort approach and our resiliency strategies in response to threats--those we face today and those we will face tomorrow. We have learned a lot from our active participation in the JICSpOC, and through our close partnerships with U.S. Strategic Command and Air Force Space Command. 9. What do you see as the key information- and physical-security challenges facing NRO? A: NRO faces security challenges very similar to other DoD and IC agencies. We assess and mitigate those risks as part of our broader resiliency strategy. It does little good to invest money in more robust space assets, for example, if your ground networks are vulnerable. So again, resiliency must be assessed and assured at the architecture level. Q: What are your key initiatives for improving NRO acquisition and business processes? How can industry contribute to these undertakings? A: First, I think we have some pretty solid acquisition and business processes. We just completed our seventh consecutive clean financial audit! NRO is in a league of its own in terms of fiscal accountability. In terms of acquisitions, we have a significant number of them, and all but one is a “green” acquisition program. This means that NRO acquisition programs are being delivered at or below cost, and on schedule. This strong acquisition performance is not because we build “clones”—that would be a low-risk approach from an acquisition perspective, but would make us irrelevant from a mission perspective. NRO capabilities must stay ahead of changing targets and threats, so the NRO acquisition program has to support the need for rapid, responsive change. The NRO R&D program, discussed earlier, is instrumental in maturing leap-ahead technology to an acceptable level of acquisition risk—keeping us relevant while keeping us “green”. Our significant internal controls and our very skilled acquisition teams do the rest to ensure we stay “green.” That’s all on the government side. What I expect from industry is the same thing I expect from any NRO officer or partner—deliver on your promises. Industry partners who over promise and under deliver are quick to find me on the other end of the phone, or the other end of a conference table. Congress expects me to deliver on my promises—a reasonable expectation. I expect my industry partners to deliver on their promises—again, a reasonable expectation.
For more information, contact IGF Editor Harrison Donnelly at email@example.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.gif-kmi.com.
IGF 14.1 | 21
Air Force Renews Key
JSTARS recapitalization will take advantage of advances in phased array radar technology. By Justin Oakes For more than two decades, the Air Force’s Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) has provided valuable ISR to commanders by detecting, locating and tracking enemy ground forces from afar. Identified as the service’s fourth largest acquisition priority, the JSTARS weapon system is currently undergoing a major recapitalization, including its radar. “JSTARS has the unique ability to provide a wide-area surveillance capability from long standoff ranges that would otherwise require the use of many smaller assets to perform the same mission—and the radar plays an integral part in that role,” said Brian Carr, JSTARS Recapitalization Radar deputy IPT lead. The existing system is armed with a multitude of sensors, antennas and a 27-foot radome. The radar’s ground moving target indicator (GMTI) and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) capabilities enable the system’s ISR mission. GMTI is used to locate and track moving ground targets, and SAR is used to image stationary targets of interest. In addition, JSTARS is equipped with a passive electronically scanned array (PESA) antenna that can tilt to either side of the aircraft, resulting in a wide field of view that spans across thousands of square miles. “Although the JSTARS radar was state of the art when it was developed, technology has advanced significantly since its introduction in 1991,” Carr said. “JSTARS recapitalization is poised to leverage the technological advancements that have lowered the cost and enabled the use of active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars.”
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AESAs are currently the primary type of phased array radar used by the Air Force. The use of a modern AESA radar will allow the JSTARS recap to meet mission performance standards while operating on a much smaller business-class jet airframe. AESA radars differ from the PESAs of yesteryear in several ways. By eliminating the PESA’s complex power distribution network, AESAs reduce signal loss and increase radar sensitivity. Both characteristics enhance detection capability and reduce the effects of a smaller aperture. Also, AESA radars allow for digital beam forming, which enables a number of advanced signal processing techniques. In addition to incorporating an AESA-type radar into the JSTARS platform, the program office is also focusing on an open systems architecture approach with many of its components. By embracing open systems architecture, the Air Force hopes to ensure a competitive sustainment environment for future hardware and software upgrades. “An open system architecture will provide Recap the flexibility to handle evolving and emerging technology at a reduced lifecycle cost,” Carr said. “We are ensuring the warfighter will have the most capable system possible over its lifecycle at the best value.” Risk reduction efforts for the airframe, battle management command and control suite, communication systems and radar continue to gain momentum as the program officially reached a Milestone A decision late last year. Milestone A will allow program officials to exercise approximately $45 million in options on three
separate pre-engineering, manufacturing and development contracts; the contract options cover system functional reviews, preliminary design reviews and subsystem prototype demonstrations over the next six months. “Milestone A wouldn’t have happened without the full support and teamwork between the Air Force, OSD and our industry partners,” said Colonel Dave Learned, JSTARS Recap senior materiel leader. “Bringing together our government and industry teams for this effort is a major step toward recapitalizing E-8C’s combat-proven capabilities.”
Translating Awareness The battle management command and control (BMC2) suite allows operators to make decisions and direct and control the fight using highly capable on-board data and voice link systems. The JSTARS aircraft detects ground and maritime targets as well as slow-moving, rotary and fixedwing aircraft via radar, collects the information and then fuses with on- and off-board data in the BMC2 suite. “In essence, BMC2 is the art of translating real-time battle space awareness, operational guidance and combat potential into decisive action at the tactical level across a wide range of missions including air-to-air, air-to-ground and combat support operations,” said Megan Kozacka, JSTARS Recap BMC2 integrated product team leader. The BMC2 system itself is made up of COTS servers and workstations configured with modular software applications. The system’s software promotes mission planning,
execution support and automation aids such as data visualization, advanced algorithms for data exploitation and playback capabilities. Program officials plan to use existing technology for all components of the recapitalization, which includes the “natural evolution” of the BMC2 system. “The legacy system was at the leading edge of technology, debuting in 1991, prior to the exponential growth of COTS technology,” said Lieutenant Colonel John Kurian, JSTARS Recap Mission Systems Branch materiel leader. “Since its inception, the commercial marketplace has grown to support two- to three-year hardware refreshes and standardized data protocols in messaging.” According to Kurian, much of the existing JSTARS software had to be customized and “invented” to do the job. That won’t be the case with the new system. The Air Force now looks for the ability to easily incorporate best of breed software services. Automated tools, availability of systems and enhancements with modern technology in data visualization are a few of the characteristics being considered for the new BMC2 suite. (Justin Oakes is with 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs.)
For more information, contact IGF Editor Harrison Donnelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or search our online archives for related stories at www.gif-kmi.com.
IGF 14.1 | 23
GIS Conference Highlights Information Sharing Federal agencies outline steps to make geospatial data more available within and outside the intelligence community. Sue Gordon Deputy Director National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency In partnership with Esri, we’re in the middle of releasing a variety of non-classified data, working with a great partner, the University of Minnesota’s Polar Geospatial Center to develop digital elevation models of Alaska, and eventually all of the Arctic. This is the first time that we’re making detailed, digital models available to the public. Models that show you shoreline elevation, and how much the water levels can rise before there’s flooding. Models that can also tell you how ice and snow melts drain, how water feeds through the valleys, and how people in the Arctic get their drinking water. These models can support anything dependent on elevation. You can think of the possibilities as well as I—scientific research, commercial endeavors, economic impact, military operations, and on and on. 24 | IGF 14.1
I will spend some time talking about partnerships--not only with Esri, but with others. I’ll go into how we’re leveraging those partnerships today, and how we plan on leveraging them into the immediate future. A central component of this vision requires a geospatial platform in a shared environment. And, the intelligence community’s new enterprisewide delivery platform—what we call GEOINT Services—enables that vision and will be online this year across multiple security domains. Let’s talk about the steps we’ve taken to pull our partners more fully and completely into Team GEOINT. First of all, we’re incrementally shifting from building and using agency-specific IT systems, tools and capabilities, to sharing cloud-based services. The intelligence community’s Information Technology Environment (IC ITE) is the IC-wide strategy to accomplish this--enabling agencies to share information and capabilities on demand to meet mission needs. And, NGA will be off our own infrastructure and into the Community Cloud in two www.GIF-kmi.com
years—something that sounds yawn inducing, but is actually a move that will enable everything we want to do. The result will be a more efficient model for resource sharing that can scale rapidly to meet unexpected and emergent requirements--perfect for the dynamic world I just described. As I mentioned, GEOINT Services is the name of the IC’s solution for how we share geospatial knowledge. The concept is this simple: We will expose our content—and your content if you allow. We will provide cloud-based scalable, responsive, Open Geospatial Consortium compliant services for common use on Top Secret, Secret, and Unclassified domains. And, we will demand that every piece of intelligence is tied to a place and a time—even if it is not traditional geospatial data. This will be true whether it is data from commercial sources, open sources, or governmental sources. The biggest impact GEOINT Services will have for our users is that it will speed up the discovery, access to, processing and visualization of geospatial content to support time-critical tactical requirements. You will be able to spend less time hunting and gathering, and more time correlating and analyzing. And you will be able to more easily communicate using simple GIS tools such as Story Maps. In sum, we are making changes to how we develop, acquire and deploy tools that will allow NGA to get solutions to our workforce and our mission partners much faster and more effectively. Our fiscal year 2016 plan included building geospatial content management tools into our unclassified and ICITE service offerings. This assists our mission partners as they migrate and manage their own geospatial data in the cloud. And it provides reliability and consistency throughout the IC. In addition to the platform, we’ll provide central registry and cataloging services that will help users find and get data. As we grow the quality and quantity of services, users throughout the Department of Defense and the IC can better support the kind of analysis that will dominate our future. I’ve talked a lot about how GEOINT Services will enable the mission, and the common services we’re providing. We’re also doing a lot behind the scenes. Just to give you one example, we’re changing the way we develop and acquire tools and capabilities needed by warfighters, first responders, and our other mission users. NGA is switching to a dev/ops methodology that allows developers and solution providers to get needed capabilities deployed to mission users much more rapidly. With this methodology, we’re embracing collaboration during the solution development process, and we’re establishing a developer environment that supports automated delivery of software and code into the NGA cloud We have capabilities already available for geospatial analysts to leverage, including our base visualization and data services, where analysts can discover trusted GEOINT. For example, NGA’s Map of the World initiative has delivered our foundation GEOINT layers as services to support easy access and visualization on five secure domains. This enables NGA users as diverse as Army infantrymen and international partners to access our content on the networks where they work. We also use Esri’s ArcGIS Portal as the IC GIS Portal, providing a platform for analytic collaboration and data sharing for IC geospatial users. Our adoption of portal and web GIS promotes the sharing of geospatial data sets, tools and services in one location—about time, you say! As of yesterday, we have had more than 19,000 unique users log into IC GIS Portal, which is more than double the number www.GIF-kmi.com
of users we had just last October. These users include the traditional IC agencies, but also our partners in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and combatant commands. Nearly 50 percent of these users have been active in the portal in the last 30 days. We are also providing a modern, user-friendly, streamlined web presence on all domains, including the Worldwide Web. You won’t have to piece together the story. You’ll have it all in one place. Let me close by telling you what is still in the offing. We need solutions that will: • Enable our analysts to have simple, easy access to big data— and to not just look through massive amounts of data to find single answers, but to use the bigness of data to uncover patterns that are not obvious without looking at the whole. • Equip our analysts to make sense of all that data—and do so when the data are not geographically contiguous or temporally synchronous. • Provide more and streamlined capabilities—and to do so when users are disadvantaged--limited by low bandwidth or network access challenges. • Move further toward anticipatory, instead of responsive, analysis—and to do so when there is no known starting point for understanding the pattern you’re seeing. • Establish on-the-fly analytic services and tools—and make them so flexible that they adapt to the trial and error that is required to answer complex questions. • Develop better modeling capabilities--or, to put it another way, to provide better tools to capture knowledge in a useful, repeatable manner.
Tracy Toutant Director, Intelligence Community GIS Portal NGA It’s not so much that what we are doing is revolutionary, but that we’re trying to bring all the functions to an environment where traditionally we have lagged. If we get this IC GIS portal right, it’s going to fall right in a technology “sweet spot.” The reason I make that claim is that when we started this project, we didn’t get it right. What we want this portal to do is to enable analysts. We want analysts across the community to discover geospatial data, create and share maps and perform basic GIS functions. We want to run this as an enterprise service for the community. We want to 8increase the community’s access and usability for data service, web mapping capabilities and GIS based web applications, communitywide. We’re trying to use the portal to complement efforts not only by NGA but across the community. We want to use more collaborative technology. We have technology to help us collaborate, but the portal will be unique in that it focuses on geospatial analytical tradecraft. It provides a way to share data, models and scripts. It’s focused at the geospatial analysis level. We want to include services, and not just trusted content, but web applications—analytic tools that we can use in common. Most importantly, we want analyst-created data sets that are not usually considered trusted content, but still have analytic value. Right now, a lot of that data is not easily discoverable. We want to IGF 14.1 | 25
get more of that data and tradecraft shared across the community. When we started, the piece we got right was in deploying the portal in the cloud on the high side. Like anything else on the high side, the first person to do it has the most trouble. You have the most paperwork and security negotiations. We were able to make sure we had some of the newer functions, and to combine content from previous portals. At that point, however, we walked away and said the portal had been stood up. The catch was that didn’t actually meet the need. What happened was that the person responsible for standing up the portal did so, and then waited for NGA to say this is what we want to do with it. But NGA didn’t do that. So we weren’t surprised when complaints poured in from all the agencies that no one was getting what they wanted. So we took ownership of this. The other thing we found was that there wasn’t a single person dedicated to supporting the portal on a full-time basis. So I talked to others in the community and asked how they ran their portal. I went back to NGA with the best practices from the community, saying this is how we should run out GIS portal. We are still working on things like workflows and adopting best practices. But by taking ownership we can say we like how certain agencies control different functions, and look for the best of breed. We aren’t going to reinvent the wheel or make up a new way of doing business. Now we’ve made our portal better, and people want to put things on our portal, which is the highest form of praise. I’m an analyst, and I’m very focused on what I can do to make the lives of analysts better. How can I get them what they need to do their jobs? How do we support models, scripts, tools and widgets? How do we move from product focused things to working on the web? How do we enable teams? How do we keep the platform flexible and keep the barrier to entry low? We found that by using the portal, and reconfiguring what we need to, we could divert all of our programming resources to the pieces we needed to support our unique workloads. We also needed classification tools, which are required. The first tool we rolled out was exactly what we had asked for. But we had to pull it down and start over, building a simpler classification tool. We are trying to support multiple types of missions, and to get better at service enabling our data, so you can get what you need when you need it. We don’t consider this project done. We’ve been able to add functionality, and we’re looking at how to get trusted data into workflow pipelines. We’ve added a separate server attached to the portal. What we need to do is to leverage what we are doing right. That sounds obvious, but we’ve all seen projects that end up languishing. We’ve tried hard to set up good conduits for feedback, and decided to call the link ‘enhancement requests’ rather than feedback. We want to hear what works well and doesn’t, and to use this as a place for innovation and collaboration. We know that we have issues specific to our community, classification and release being the biggest ones. We’re constantly taking feedback from our users. We have dependencies—we’re relying on people who are creating data services to tell us they are there. We are relying on people to want to create applications on the portal. Participation is the key. We’re starting to see the impact. Last summer, analysts were complaining everywhere about this, with the chief complaints about content. We had a lot of broken links, and were making it 26 | IGF 14.1
hard for analysts. Don’t think we didn’t hear that—so much that it’s going to be a huge part of what we do going forward. It’s not a technology problem, but a workflow and a policy problem, and we can fix those. We’re looking for help in making improvements in data, applications and services.
David Alexander Geospatial Information Director Department of Homeland Security Our critical infrastructure information is now being delivered as open and secure data. The Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data (HIFLD) site includes 275 data sets available as dynamic web services and downloadable files with built in digitalization. To understand the significance of this, we need to understand how homeland security has changed in the last 15 years After 9/11, the immediate need was to secure and protect our infrastructure from terrorism. While this remains a critical part of the core DHS mission, homeland security is much more diverse, and considers areas like economic security and resiliency. Addressing this broad mission requires a whole of nation approach. No single department can solve everything. It will take all of us. Navigating between open and secure information is a balancing act. Which of our critical infrastructure data can we make open to increase our economic security, and which data must remain secure to strengthen our homeland security? Reaching this decision has been a challenging journey for all of us, to change our thinking and to adapt our culture both inside and outside DHS. Recent events like the Boston Marathon bombing have triggered a new type of community engagement. This requires adopting new technologies that facilitate open community collaboration. We continue to deliver secure services to government and first responders. But we must also enable greater community access to our content. We used to ship DVDs! Now we use dynamic web services that are updated from the source. Providing authoritative, trusted and open data is fundamental to the DHS mission. ArcGIS open data supports our business processes and mobile and web access. HIFLD Open is integrated with the geo-platform through Data.gov and other data providers. There is no wrong door. The data is discoverable and accessible from anywhere. HIFLD Open marks an evolution in DHS information sharing. We have an opportunity to be open and secure, to empower citizens and communities to support local law enforcement, and first responders, businesses and the private sector. Homeland security requires a whole of nation approach. I invite you to join us in building a transparent and collaborative ecosystem for sharing information across the nation.
IGF RESOURCE CENTER
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IGF 14.1 | 27
Intelligence & Geospatial Forum
28 | IGF 14.1
Intelligence is a matter of perspective
Airbus Defense and Space has a constellation of optical and radar satellites that can cover any point on Earth at least twice a day. Whether itâ€™s charting the safest route through the deep canyons, or navigating expertly in the dark, it is vital to have the most relevant and current information at hand. Having timely satellite imagery and geo-intelligence will bring fresh intel to your plan when it matters most.