By Dylan Murphy, Director of Product Management at Ocient
Our team just got back from the 2022 GEOINT symposium in Aurora, Colorado. It was incredible to see the great work that we, as a country, are doing to provide national security through geospatial analytics. Due to the confidential and sensitive nature of their work, the people driving these efforts often go unseen. They’re heroes working behind the scenes to protect America and its allies. The work they do is extremely challenging and innovative.
For those that are new to the space, GEOINT is focused on the analytics of geospatial data for the purposes of national security. Geospatial data is simply data about geographies and locations. With the creation of the Space Force, this includes both geographies on earth and data about what’s happening in space. Lieutenant General B. Chance Saltzman explained it well by saying, “We’ve traditionally used space to look down on what’s happening on earth. Now, we’re focused on using technology on earth to also analyze what’s happening in space.”
The volume of geospatial data of interest is growing exponentially in the public sector, private sector, and in academia. At Ocient, we’re focused on leveraging these complex datasets for connected vehicles, devices, and objects in motion to enhance product development, power personalized experiences, manage logistics, improve emergency response and more.
Below are my top 3 takeaways from GEOINT this year:
1) This is a collaborative effort: To protect our country, the government needs to partner with the private sector and academia. Additionally, they need to leverage the growing open-source data sets in addition to their classified data sets. There’s nothing easy about analyzing this type of data at scale. We need to use our collective brainpower to stay ahead of our competition and keep America safe.
2) Climate change is a matter of national security: Analyzing and predicting the effects of climate change will be a fundamental component of our intelligence work. Understanding population displacement, food shortages, water shortages, etc. is critical to protecting our country and allies. Simulation and synthetic data sets are important in playing out the potential scenarios and how we respond to emergency situations. This requires a tremendous amount of data and processing power.
3) People are our most critical resource: Whether you’re talking about analyzing images or massive sets of data, people’s time and their judgement is our most critical resource. We need more processes and technology that allow analysts to focus on what’s important in the moment. This includes AI/ML on images, technologies to analyze geospatial data at scale like Ocient, and the processes to share data and information. How do we quickly allow people to find a needle in a stack of needles?
Spending three days at the GEOINT Symposium was encouraging. As an American with two kids, I’m relieved by the people and technologies protecting us. However, it’s clear that we all need to work together to tackle challenges around analyzing geospatial data. Ocient is uniquely positioned to analyze hyperscale geospatial data, and we’re dedicated to it. This dedication is an important part of what makes us unique. It’s not just that we can technically do it, but we’re tied to the mission – a mission that allows America to innovate, thrive, and provide the freedom we all enjoy.