According to Frank Avila, who works as the deputy director in charge of the commercial and business operations at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the government has to be better positioned to satisfy requirements with the commercially accessible technology.

In a question-and-answer session at the GEOINT Symposium, Avila remarked, “We’re setting in operation a new process where we’re requesting the community what are the criteria that they possess for commercial solutions.”

NGA’s need for commercial geospatial data & analytics, which is the examination of raw data to extract conclusions and insights from it, has surged, according to Avila.

Last year, the government awarded $29 million to 5 commercial companies to use geospatial data to derive insights into global economic activity and patterns.

The NGA is also employing commercial radar data from Iceye and Capella Space, 2 of the 5 businesses with which the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) inked agreements last year in order to tap into the increasing commercial sector for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data from satellites. The NGA’s mission is to validate imagery providers’ data after the NRO selects them, according to Avila.

“Before we begin consuming that product, we create trust and faith in that technology and the reliability of their metrics,” he explained.

Avila predicts that US intelligence services will begin purchasing data analytics from commercial companies that employ satellites to study climate change’s consequences.

“We intend to be capable of monitoring worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide and methane, for example,” he stated. “We would not purchase raw data.  We’re searching for companies that are already in that line of work.”

NGA will face a problem in streamlining data analytics requests so that procurements are not duplicated, according to Avila.

“We’ll begin gathering criteria from throughout the NSG,” he said.

The National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG) brings together all intelligence agencies, the Defense Department, foreign allies and civilian agencies that use geospatial intelligence.

According to Avila, the objective is for NGA to collaborate more effectively with geospatial intelligence customers within each agency to better serve their needs with the newest commercial technologies.

“We need to actually start collaborating and organizing commercial solution procurements, and consider commercial as the first option we should look at, rather than government-developed solutions,” he said.

According to Avila, NASA, for instance, does have its commercial procurement system and buys “same kinds of imagery as what we’re buying.  We’re engaging with that NASA group to make sure that if we’re both looking for similar data sources, we can coordinate our purchases. We want to avoid making duplicate purchases once more.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *