The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency learns the benefit of uncategorized commercial data

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency learns the benefit of uncategorized commercial data

Tapping the Opportunity

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — As part of its ongoing attempt to track activity around the world, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is eager to tap into unclassified commercial data providers. The NGA prefers to keep datasets unclassified rather than combining commercial data with government information.

“We would be irresponsible to continue to pull that data into classified networks to exploit it,” said Dave Gauthier, head of NGA‘s Commercial and Business Operations Group. “We’re trying to figure out how to leave the data in that unclassified area and then organically utilize it there.” Alternatively, have enterprises do the exploitation in their own contexts and then supply us with the analytic services that result from that exploitation.”

Changes in the Interaction

The way US intelligence agencies deal with commercial satellite imagery and data suppliers is changing dramatically. As it analyses the best method to manage the data deluge, the government is keeping a close eye on the proliferation of private Earth-observation satellites.

“We’ve recognised that ingesting raw data will be the bottleneck,” Gauthier said. “We can’t do it the way we used to, by collecting raw data and exploiting it with human power,” says the researcher.

Gauthier believes that “analyst ready” information feeds hold potential. He explained that the goal is to tap into a collection of daily database inputs and incorporate them into “the workflow of someone who is conducting a mission assignment and trying to produce insights.”

“We have to hold close the data conversion into information services more personalized solutions, and analytic services. They are geared for usage in our processes, said Gauthier. My company is very focused on communicating our need for analytic services to the industry. Discovering their capabilities, appraising their capabilities, and obtaining what can be done for clients are the next steps.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is likewise studying how the expansion of unclassified data would affect its staff. Geospatial intelligence analysts working with unclassified data were able to do some of their job from home during the COVID-19 epidemic.

Rasmussen stated, “We can onboard contractors really quickly.” He noted that people who acquire public-trust clearances would not have access to a secure facility and would not require it.

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