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Accurate, realtime Geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) critical for Military and Security operations, experiencing many new technology trends

Geoint is imagery and information that relates human activity to geography. It typically is collected from satellites and aircraft and can illuminate patterns not easily detectable by other means. GEOINT (GEOspatial INTelligence) is the foundation of intelligence, it is the process with which skilled analysts evaluate and correlate information, either newly collected or archived, that turns this information into usable and relevant intelligence. In the civilian world, it is more commonly known as remote sensing.

 

Geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) is intelligence about human activity on earth derived from the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information that describes, assesses, and visually depicts physical features and geographically referenced activities on the Earth. GEOINT, as defined in US Code, consists of imagery, imagery intelligence (IMINT) and geospatial information. Geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) is a broad field that encompasses the intersection of geospatial data with social, political, environmental, and numerous other factors.

 

Traditional Geospatial-Intelligence data sources include imagery and mapping data, whether collected by commercial satellite, government satellite, aircraft (such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles [UAV] or reconnaissance aircraft), or by other means, such as maps and commercial databases, census information, GPS waypoints, utility schematics, or any discrete data that have locations on earth. Traditional Geographic Information Systems (GIS) build and maintain geographic infrastructure. Buildings, roads, poles, rivers, city boundaries, wells, and field boundaries are examples of this. They are fairly fixed in a specific location with associated attributes that can change.

 

With moving objects, location and time are important to track the object along with any other relevant attributes (temperature, angle, size, color, etc.). Further, Robert Cardillo, the current director of the United States National Geospatial Agency (NGA), advocates that GEOINT should focus on “activity that surrounds an object” rather than the physical item itself. Geospatial Intelligence goes beyond telling that something is happening, where it is happening and when it is happening. It also reveals how it is happening, why it matters and also seek to predict what has or will follow.

 

GEOINT for Disaster response

With natural disasters becoming an increasing threat in the United States, geospatial intelligence has proved to be invaluable in disaster response. Humanitarian organizations use GEOINT for mitigating damage caused by a range of events and factors, as well as for effectively sending aid to populations facing crises. For example, hurricane evacuation routes are crucial to determining how best to keep civilians safe in the event of a natural disaster.

 

In COVID-19 vaccination efforts, leveraging spatial information proved valuable in planning, distribution, and post-vaccination tracking. GIS tools like Esri’s CovidPulse Dashboard and the Johns Hopkins University tracking dashboard have helped with monitoring the spread of the virus. Other tools were used to distribute tests, like at Mayo Clinic’s Jacksonville, Florida campus, where autonomous vehicles delivered COVID-19 tests and medical supplies.

 

Nov 2020 report fom UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Geospatial Practices for Sustainable Development,  showcased examples from the region’s countries employing applications of space technology to advance sustainable development. “Night-light” satellite images monitoring the impact of lockdowns, “heatmaps” to chart out communities vulnerable to the pandemic and its socio-economic consequences, real-time situational analysis, and dashboards integrating a wide gamut of critical information to support decisions are some of the practices cited.

 

In addition, combining spatial data from contact tracing, quarantining, and social distancing with digital solutions and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven risk analytics can help enhance community resilience. Such applications can also help in the recovery phase to build back better, by providing an evidence base for decisions on the easing of lockdown and the resumption of economic and social activities, the report added. “The effective integration of geospatial data, with existing statistics and ground-based information, will be key to delivering the timely data needed for governments, businesses, communities and citizens to make evidenced-based decisions”, said Armida Salsiah Alisjahjabana, Executive Secretary of ESCAP.

 

GEOINT for national security

The growth of national security threats has triggered agencies to further enhance their intelligence and develop a common operating picture to overcome challenges for defense, disaster management, intelligence and maritime and border security.

 

GEOINT provides many advantages for the warfighter, national security policymakers, homeland security personnel, and intelligence community (IC) collaborators by precisely locating activities and objects; enabling safe navigation over air, land, and sea; assessing and discerning the meaning of events; and providing context for decision-makers. U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. military rely heavily on geospatial intelligence to protect civilians and better understand the complex issues facing our country, from military threats to natural disasters.

 

The rapidly evolving state of warfare and the speed of military operations necessitates increasingly accurate intelligence to be collected and delivered instantly, and under very challenging conditions, to units on the ground. This is especially true for Near-peer adversaries that can deploy sophisticated capabilities and pose a serious threat to U.S. and coalition units.

 

Geospatial intelligence has been an indispensable tool in military operations by providing critical information to commanders to carry out their missions effectively and optimally. Establishing accurate and timely situational awareness is absolutely critical during mission execution.

 

Accurate, up-to-date GEOINT  can create a dynamic digital representation of the battlespace and related real-time situational awareness, which can help establish a decision advantage over our adversaries. This can be achieved by creating a dynamic common operating picture (COP) that brings all of the available intelligence about an AOI into a single 2D or 3D display.

 

Geospatial Intelligence has an increasing role in Defense and Intelligence as an integrating platform for all military and intelligence information (ISR, planning, situational awareness, and support to deployed forces). Geospatial intelligence has enabled the United States to attribute chemical attacks in Syria to the Assad regime, to predicting strikes by Iraqi insurgents to helping to locate Osama Bin Laden.

 

For Border and Maritime Security operations, it enhances greater capability in ISR, mission planning and operations across the maritime and littoral environments. National Law Enforcement agencies employ Geospatial technology in national policing operations and international intelligence sharing.

 

The dual-use of GEOINT has prompted Trump administration to clamp down on the export of  AI based Geospatial Intelligence to China which has been spending huge amounts  on advanced surveillance technologies or invests more in AI startups and growth businesses.  The new regulations target the use of artificial intelligence in geospatial applications—essentially the detection and classification of objects from planes, drones and satellites. While many such applications are civilian in nature—geographical surveys, construction, town planning, the real focus is military and surveillance. Essentially, the U.S. does not want these technologies in enemy hands. The restrictions cover U.S. exports to all countries bar Canada, but the primary target is of course China and its world-leading AI surveillance industry.

 GEOINT trends and challenges

Geospatial intelligence (GEOINT)  has emerged as a broad field that encompasses the intersection of geospatial data with social, political, environmental and numerous other factors. One of the most significant trends in geospatial intelligence is the shift in creation and ownership of data.

 

It includes, but is not limited to, data ranging from the ultraviolet through the microwave portions of the electromagnetic spectrum, as well as information derived from the analysis of literal imagery; geospatial data; georeferenced social media; and information technically derived from the processing, exploitation, literal, and non-literal analysis of spectral, spatial, temporal, radiometric, phase history, polarimetric data, fused products (products created out of two or more data sources), and the ancillary data needed for data processing and exploitation, and signature information (to include development, validation, simulation, data archival, and dissemination).

 

These types of data can be collected on stationary and moving targets by electro-optical (to include IR, MWIR, SWIR TIR, Spectral, MSI, HSI, HD), SAR (to include MTI), related sensor programs (both active and passive) and non-technical means (to include geospatial information acquired by personnel in the field).

 

The rapid pace of new commercial satellite constellation launches has led to a significant increase in the amount and availability of geospatial imagery.  In the future, there shall be exponential growth in data when hundreds of small satellites which will provide persistent GEOINT, 24-hour, seven-days-per-week, 365 days-per-year continuous coverage of the Earth be put in place by private sector GEOINT providers. Similarly, as procedures are developed to allow safe operation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in civil airspace, will see large numbers of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), not only government-operated but inevitability commercial as well. This will enable real-time Earth observations which when combined with analytics will provide a tremendous wealth of global information, insight, and intelligence.

 

One of the most significant trends in geospatial intelligence is the shift in creation and ownership of data. As the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation noted, new data sources like OpenStreetMap and geotagged social media pictures can be leveraged for vital intelligence. However, the availability and open nature of these platforms also presents challenges for the GEOINT community, which must rely on data it no longer has full ownership and control over.

 

One of the ways that GEOINT technology has evolved in the last several years is the ability to take in many different types of data. For example, officials working to mitigate flood damage in Florida can leverage characteristics that range from rainfall to the characteristics of aquifers to predict where resources are most needed.

 

RF GEOINT

One company proposing alternatives to conventional visual remote-sensing data is HawkEye 360, which uses formation-flying satellites to build a class of radio frequency (RF) data. The data obtained by the space tech startup based in Virginia, US could prove valuable for investigating land-based conflicts, fish fraud and IUU fishing activities more broadly, sanction breaking at-sea transfers, to name a few examples. It says it provides the data to governments and private parties, who uses it in various ways such as for defence programmes, wildlife protection, and maritime applications.

 

Three satellite clusters are currently in orbit. The most recent one, dubbed Cluster 3, was launched on June 30 from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The preceding Cluster 2 was launched in January and achieved initial operating capability in March. HawkEye 360 said these satellite clusters are significantly more powerful than Cluster 1, which consists of the so-called Pathfinder satellites, as they offer faster data processing and come equipped with improved software-defined radios for simultaneous RF collection. Seven more clusters will be launched until 2022, completing HawkEye 360’s baseline constellation. A second-generation constellation of 30 additional satellites is expected to follow by 2025.

 

“We did a lot of work in the Galapagos, looking at activity of vessel of a Chinese fishing fleet. They were coming up along the border of the Galapagos EEZ. We tried to provide better visibility and tracking of that large fleet”, says Adam Bennett, product marketing director at HawkEye 360.  At sea, its satellites proved useful by listening for specific RF signals emitted by ships through their navigation radars and radio communications. It’s not only the cloud problem these new techniques can tackle. By using RF, vessels that maliciously (or not), turn off their AIS tracking signal – E&T reported on this problem as part of a previous investigation – may find it harder to hide much longer.

 

Chinese military buildup is escalating India border tensions. HawkEye 360 detected increased RF activity along the Galwan River Valley on May 29 and tasked Planet’s SkySat satellites to confirm the suspected military buildup. Highlighting RF GEOINT’s value.

 

 

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has awarded Hawkeye 360 a five-year, $10 million radio frequency mapping contract in Sep 2021. Work will support the NGA’s efforts to discover, characterize and map a broad range of RF activity across large geographic areas. Services provided under the contract will benefit combatant commands and the agency’s designated mission partners. More specifically, generated RF data will aid analytics missions associated with nefarious, non-state and transnational criminal activity, Hawkeye 360 said.

 

NGA: ‘Seismic Shift’ in Geospatial Intel: Reliance on Unclassified sources

The world of geospatial intelligence is undergoing a “seismic shift,” said the head of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)  — one that will require a growing reliance on unclassified sources of intelligence. Robert Cardillo said today’s rapidly evolving threat environment means closer ties with industry and exploitation of open sources such as social media are key to making sure his agency can continue to provide top-level intelligence to the US government.

 

“We have both a challenge and a warning,” Cardillo said. “We have only a limited time to transform our mindset and unleash the power of our people to leverage our enterprise and fulfill the potential that these massive changes offer.” As an example of how quickly the world moves, Cardillo pointed to the last several months that featured Russia’s invasion of Ukrainian territory, the spread of ebola, the growth of the Islamic State group and the ongoing fallout from the Arab Spring uprisings has put stress on the GEOINT community.

 

“We must move to understanding more quickly by trending, predicting, forecasting and — anticipating — the threat in hours, if not minutes,” he said. “And we must offer our customers potential courses of action dynamically.” As a first step, Cardillo laid out a program called GEOINT Pathfinder, which will attempt to answer intelligence questions using only unclassified data, commercial information technology and flexible contracts that would allow new technology to be exploited quickly.

 

NGA’s new Pathfinder program uses only unclassified sources to answer research questions, in an effort to determine how to most effectively use already available resources to suit NGA’s needs, such as NGA’s use of geo-tagged social media posts to aid its disaster relief efforts. “The growth of the Internet and the geospatial revolution, where everything is geo-coordinated, has been a boom to us for gathering information that otherwise we would not have had. Now the challenge will understand that information,” said Goolgasian, NGA’s Director of Source Operations.

 

The key measure of this overall capability is a new generation of tools for advanced digital mapping and development, which concurrently extends the application of Geospatial Intelligence beyond C2 (Command and Control) and the achievement of information superiority. VisionGain released a market research report stating that GEOINT is no longer considered to be a ‘nice to have’, but a ‘must have’ capability, revealing that global governmental expenditure worth on GEOINT for national security and defense in 2014 was $9.7billion.

 

Challenge of Analysis

Yet all this vast ocean of data, no matter how sophisticated the manner in which it was obtained, remains simply ‘information’ and limited use and value. “For instance, standalone maps and imagery of tsunami affected areas cannot support humanitarian response. What is needed is information in real-time, analysis of the affected areas with respect to the local society (density of population), environment (proximity to water body, low lying areas), sensitive locations (nuclear installations), satellite imagery (real-time picture of affected sites), community structures (schools, halls), healthcare facilities, on-site responder agencies, crowd sourced information, social media inputs and so on,” writes Sangeeta Deogawanka.

 

Unfortunately, no straightforward way currently exists for analysts to access and analyze all of that imagery. The current ad hoc, time-intensive approach requires gathering and curating data from a large number of available sources, downloading it to specific locations, and running it through separate suites of analytics tools, says DARPA.

 

Some experts refer to GEOINT and the analytics that goes into it as “creating coherence out of chaos.” And in many ways it works, but they do have a lot of chaos to deal with—chaos in the form of piles of unstructured data that has to be parsed for useful information. In dealing with intelligence, McChrystal said, there is the complicated (which is predictable) and the complex (which is not always), the result of a small event with many variables is impossible to predict.

 

That’s part of the problem facing intelligence agencies and analysts as they try to make sense of the big data collected by NGA and the armed services—that, while GEOINT and other intelligence have proved useful, sometimes small indications can’t project certain outcomes.

 

Added to this is the global expansion of social media, the vast resources of the internet and digital communications which can achieve a virtual persistence previously impossible. These are technological game-changers with enormous new sources of content and capabilities that can be available to virtually everyone.

 

“We cannot afford to store it all and we cannot afford the manpower to exploit it all. We have to go to a service model where we acquire only what we need, when we need it. Increasingly the commercial model focuses on the valuable information derived from the image and not the raw imagery data. This change puts a premium on tools that derive information from the image and the analytics that put it in the context of the business application or national security problem,” said Robert Cardillo Director, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

 

“The exponential growth in the quantity of data necessitates the automation of change detection to free up our analytic workforce from being data gatherers to data interpreters finding the meaning behind that data.”

 

Using AI and Machine Learning to Aid GEOINT Analysis

One of the main barriers to collecting geospatial data has been the manual and time-intensive work involved; this is especially problematic for instances where landscapes and structures change dramatically (i.e. after a natural disaster). Geospatial intelligence software, augmented with machine learning, could help to map changes in terrain and structures, making disaster response projects more efficient and more effective. Several organizations are looking toward algorithms to help create more timely and accurate maps.

 

The insertion of AI techniques into GEOINT has been shown to provide more accurate detections and tracks, produce faster and more efficient processes, and allow for some processes to be automated. In the future, we can look forward to highly intelligent machines further advancing our capabilities by fusing multiple intelligence products to produce a synergistic, highly intelligent product for the intelligence community, according to riversideresearch.

 

One example is the SpaceNet “Road Detection and Routing Challenge,” a $50,000 competition to develop an automated method for extracting information about road networks. Crowdsourced data proved to be an invaluable resource in the response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, but the successful implementation of machine learning could yield faster and more accurate maps to help emergency personnel find people in need or identify the best routes for delivering supplies.

 

Incorporating these algorithms into the analytic process also helps to solve the ever-increasing big data problem. ML/AI tools free up analysts’ time, allowing them to focus on producing accurate and detailed reports. ML/AI algorithms also improve ability to detect events that can be missed by the human eye, in essence performing big data triage.

 

Another capability AI brings is improving surveillance and monitoring activities. By improving the ability to predict a target’s behavior based on analysis of historical patterns, current trends and dynamic factors (such as weather and adversarial behavior), AI can help determine the most suitable method and location for the deployment of assets for performing surveillance.

 

AI can also augment the generation of prioritized Courses of Action (CoA’s) once targets have been nominated and a response is in order. AI can incorporate mission objectives and multidimensional constraints and then sift through vast amounts of data and run numerous models. AI algorithms can then generate, simulate and evaluate an extremely large number of candidate solutions in a very short period of time.

 

There are many examples of ML and neural network algorithms that have been and are being applied to overhead persistent infrared (OPIR) data: principal component analysis, linear discriminant analysis, support vector machines, self-organizing maps, artificial neural networks (ANNs), and convolutional neural networks (CNNs). These algorithms have been incorporated to help with change detection, target detection, feature selection, object clustering, tracking, background suppression, false alarm rejection, classification, and other tasks. An ANN was recently demonstrated to suppress false alarms by 31 percent and increase the positive predictive value by more than 15 percent.

 

National Geospatial- Intelligence Agency (NGA)’s  machine learning contract

Radiant Solutions, a Maxar Technologies company based in Herndon, VA announced on October 18 a $92 million contract award on a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase III contract with the National Geospatial- Intelligence Agency (NGA) to rapidly develop, prototype, and deploy machine learning and crowdsourcing capabilities to augment a wide variety of NGA missions.

 

Radiant Solutions participates in the SBIR Phase III program through its ongoing investment in Signature Analyst™, a predictive modeling engine that applies machine learning to massive amounts of geospatial data to help analysts quickly search broad geographic areas. Radiant Solutions will advance development of machine learning capabilities, such as its DeepCore Computer Vision SDK and crowdsourcing capabilities, such as Tomnod, to help analysts quickly process large volumes of remote sensing data, understand global patterns of life and enable broad area search. The award also expands support for the NSG Open Mapping Enclave (NOME), a volunteered geographic information operational prototype that enables trusted users on multiple domains to easily create or modify foundation GEOINT to create living maps and enable timely analysis.

 

Automated cloud-based GEOINT architecture developed for AFRL

Maxar Technologies, Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure company, announced that it has been awarded a $14.2 million contract to develop Red Wing, an automated, cloud-based geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) analysis architecture for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). Maxar’s Red Wing architecture is intended to enable analysts to focus on addressing some of the most challenging intelligence problems by automating time-consuming workflows.

 DARPA Seeks to Build Cloud-Based Satellite Data Repository for DoD Analysts

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has introduced a program that seeks to develop a cloud-based repository for Defense Department geospatial analysts to access commercial satellite imagery. DARPA said it aims to create the Geospatial Cloud Analytics platform as part of efforts to help DoD detect, monitor, analyze and track global events for deployed U.S. forces.

 

The purpose of this program, as described by DARPA, is to provide “instant access to the most up-to-date images anywhere in the world, as well as the cutting-edge tools to analyze them.” Under the GCA program, teams selected by DARPA will use the Descartes Labs Platform to build global-scale applications and offer them in the marketplace as a commercial service for data scientists. The Descartes Labs Platform features a cloud-native infrastructure designed to provide the storage, computing, access, and tools needed to analyze massive, complex geospatial datasets, making it an ideal foundation for this DARPA program.

 

GCA will be designed to aggregate large amounts of open source and commercial satellite data via synthetic aperture radar, optical and radio frequency modes in a common repository equipped with automated curation tools. The GCA marketplace will address several specific analysis objectives, including: food security (strategic analytics), fracking (operational analytics), and maritime change detection / illegal fishing (tactical analytics).

 

“The goal of GCA is to provide a secure cloud-based platform that automatically curates multi-source global data and metadata, allowing analysts to focus their attention and expertise on analysis—not data collection, aggregation, and curation,” said Joe Evans, program manager at DARPA’s strategic technology office. DARPA also looks to pilot a cloud-based delivery model that would allow companies to offer analytics services and applications through a competitive marketplace.

Lockheed Martin and Esrideploy GEOINT on Cloud

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), Lockheed Martin and Esri have deployed software to the Amazon Web Services Commercial Cloud Services (C2S) environment, a move that will help agencies more freely share and analyze geospatial intelligence worldwide. Esri president Jack Dangermond said the move underscores the importance of “consolidating geospatial intelligence information via a single portal to facilitate rapid situational awareness and response by our intelligence community.”

 

“Deploying Esri’s Portal for ArcGIS to a commercial cloud environment securely organizes existing data and facilitates collaboration across intelligence agencies,” said Jason O’Connor, vice president of Analysis and Mission Solutions for Lockheed Martin. “This cloud implementation also further shapes the government’s processes for architecting and implementing enterprise class services within a cloud environment.”

 

In Dec 2014, The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) became the first intelligence agency to host an operational capability within Amazon Web Services’ Commercial Cloud Services (C2S) environment after Lockheed Martin deployed the interactive map for NGA’s Map of the World to the C2S environment.

 

The Map of the World initiative acts as an interface for NGA’s most comprehensive and accurate geospatial intelligence data. Designed for both novice users and geospatial-intelligence experts, it serves as a platform to explore constantly-updated content and link natural and man-made features on, above and beneath the Earth to intelligence observations. Users can search for objects like bridges or railroad depots and know where the objects are located, as well as intelligence embedded within each object

 

This cloud deployment is an early step in the transformation of the Intelligence Community’s infrastructure and will not only cut costs and increase efficiencies for the enterprise, but will also provide the entire Intelligence Community access to the Map of the World, which is the single integrated environment where all analysts can examine data, record observations and share all known information about a threat.

Interoperability Drives the future of Joint GEOINT Operations

The U.S. military has been a long-standing user of GIS intelligence to resolve conflicts, protect troops, assess risks and gain information about enemy operations. While not a new trend, the military has addressed new challenges. One of the most important shifts in the way the military uses geospatial intelligence was the adoption of the object-based production framework.

 

This philosophy focuses GEOINT around assembling data together around specific issues, rather than tasking analysts with collecting information from many different sources. This way, analysts spend more time developing intelligence and insights rather than with data management. This approach is especially valuable in multinational joint operations, where data and GIS applications must be interoperable to ensure all stakeholders have access to mission-critical information.

 

Future of Joint GEOINT Operations

In future near-peer combat, coalition forces will require orchestrated tasking of an increasingly larger number of complex assets across sea, land, air, space, and cyber domains. These assets range in size and sophistication — from sea-going vessels and large transport aircraft to swarms of tiny sensors that may be deployed in an autonomous manner

 

One of the most important shifts in the way the military uses geospatial intelligence was the adoption of the object-based production framework. This philosophy focuses GEOINT around assembling data together around specific issues, rather than tasking analysts with collecting information from many different sources. This way, analysts spend more time developing intelligence and insights rather than with data management.

 

This approach is especially valuable in multinational joint operations, where data and GIS applications must be interoperable to ensure all stakeholders have access to mission-critical information.

 

Immersive Wisdom and Entegra Systems win Major AFWERX Phase II

Immersive Wisdom, Inc., provider of a game-changing geospatial collaboration and real-time intelligence platform, and Entegra Systems, a leading provider of advanced technology, integration, and analytic services,  announced  Dec 2019 that it had won a major contract with the United States Air Force, awarded by AFWERX.

 

Regardless of their geographic location, Immersive Wisdom enables multiple users to work together in shared, synchronized virtual workspaces containing live 3D maps, layered with real-time information from any available source. Users can simultaneously visualize, plan, analyze, and act upon sensor inputs, cyber/network data, IoT feeds, enterprise applications, telemetry, tagged assets, 3D terrain/building models, LiDAR, imagery, and UAV footage/streaming video. Immersive Wisdom provides an omniscient, collaborative, real-time 3D view of complex environments.

 

“By connecting distributed users into the same collaborative real-time 3D immersive view of the world and their data, we are giving our customers a significant new edge,” said Mike Appelbaum, CEO of Immersive Wisdom, Inc. “Allowing multiple users to be physically anywhere, while still being in sync via the same virtual space containing shared maps, video feeds, and real-time information, is critical for future mission success, ” added Dean Johnson, CEO of Entegra Systems, Inc.

UK MOD contract HP to transform GEOINT use across UK MoD and Civil

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a contract to HP Enterprise Services to improve its ability to react to global humanitarian and defence crises by transforming the way geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) is shared and used across the organisation. Valued at £8.5m, the contract will see HP collaborate with geospatial software specialist Envitia to develop and deliver the first phase of the MoD’s Defence Geospatial Services (DGS) programme.

 

The companies will develop and supply a system that will deliver foundation GEOINT across the MOD enterprise, enabling military personnel and civil servants to search, discover, and retrieve foundation GEOINT directly from any terminal within the defence information infrastructure. The data includes intelligence on human activities and can be tagged to specific locations, enabling the ministry to identify and monitor crises as they unfold.

 

HP enterprise defence and security vice-president Simon Fovargue said: “Built upon open standards and an open architecture, this new enterprise-wide solution from HP and Envitia will ensure that all users are ‘fighting off the same map’.” An operations centre, based on HP infrastructure with secure data storage, will manage the ministry’s maps and connect primary geospatial production centres, while Envitia software will facilitate rapid decision making through the high-precision management of large and disparate datasets.

 

The DGS programme is focused on providing a step change to the situational awareness capability in defence allowing them to react to crises worldwide in a more effective and efficient manner.

Moving GEOINT to tactical mobile

The rapidly evolving state of warfare and the speed of military operations necessitates increasingly accurate intelligence to be collected and delivered instantly, and under very challenging conditions, to units on the ground.

 

The tactical Mobile environment is highly challenging as communication links can face disconnections, Intermittent and low bandwidth ( DIL). The storage on Mobile /handheld devices is limited. Continuously streaming maps over tactical NWS can rapidly drain the battery. Emerging innovations in artificial intelligence and edge computing are addressing these challenges.

 

The U.S. Air Force recently developed new geospatial intelligence technology that makes transmitting data faster and more accurate than ever. In the past, transmitting imagery to military in low bandwidth areas was tedious, requiring that images be sent in small files. Now GEOINT specialists have developed systems that allow images to be transmitted quickly, even in combat zones. The benefit of this technology is that combat strategies can be determined in minutes, even seconds, rather than the hours it would take for images to be transmitted.

 

UK Military tactical, mobile GEOINT (Geospatial Intelligence) system

The UK Military has deployed Field Deployable GEOINT (FDG) system, aimed at providing tactical mapping, digital geographic information and imagery intelligence. Developed by Lockheed Martin-led Team Socrates consortium, FDG system is built using [commercial off the shelf] software, provides a field-deployable and mobile geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) capability, including GEOINT analysis and map production.

 

FDG includes a fleet of 11 Tactical Information and Geospatial Analysis systems, a two-man intelligence collection and GEOINT analysis team working on a container mounted on MOWAG Duro II 6×6 vehicles. Three more vehicle containers are equipped as two-man TDMPs.The follow-on contract for Team SOCRATES provides additional Field Deployable GEOINT (FDG) systems, including a Forward Map Distribution Point (FMDP), further Tactical Map Distribution Points (TMDP) and Tactical Information and Geospatial Intelligence Systems (TIGAS).

 

References and Resources also include:

https://gis.usc.edu/blog/4-uses-of-geospatial-intelligence/

 

 

 

 

About Rajesh Uppal

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