Did you miss day #1 of GEOINT's "pre-conference" sessions? Perhaps you were just arriving, missed your flight or out on the golf course. Here's a recap of the day's activities (and even more pithy accounts on Twitter):
The sessions focused on several key themes:
- Open source geospatial solutions and open standards
- Gaming and how that impacts the GEOINT Tradecraft
- Tradecraft may be a misnomer; some want to elevate it to "profession" (ala Sue Kalweit of Booz Allen)
- There is a greater need to understand the impacts of "human geography" (culture, ethnicity, shifting populations, etc.) and its contributions to geospatial analysis
Opening session address provided by Ted Cope, NGA's director of Basic and Applied Research. Cope identified many emerging challenges to the applications of geospatial intelligence including:
- A quantum leap in the complexity of issues: there are more people, more mega-cities, more competition
There is a re-emerging geoint value proposition because of the following impacts:
- There are many "bad actors""
- People who are not bad yet
- More failing states/regions
- Several states/regions that have not failed yet
- Know the earth; show the way; understand the world
- ANTICIPATE where something is; why it happens and what may happen.
- Move from being TARGET-BASED to ACTIVITY-BASED analysis
- Change the tradecraft toward using an analyst's peripheral vision to incorporate activity other than purely geospatial information.
Open source panel started by defining what open source is in order to get attendees on the same page. This in itself was telling in that there may be confusion as to the licensing and intellectual property rights of open source. Here is a quick synopsis of thoughts from the panel:
- One case study that was presented started with using GOTS (government off the shelf software) and transitioned the project to GOSS (government open source software) with the final objective of moving to FOSS (free and open source software).
- Lt Col Quaid USAF says gov needs to use "commercial best practices" to build apps and help warfighter get geospatial capabilities "down range" as quickly as possible.
- Ben Tuttle of the NGA is working on mobile apps developed with open source software. One of these apps is called "MapCache" - app built for "offline" data caches. It's built on Android and iOS is coming soon. The app was built within three weeks and developed in partnerhsip with the Discovery Lab.
- Ollie Guinam of Skybox, the micro sat developer, noted that they expect 1 Terabyte of data per day to process with their constellation.
- And speaking of data, Budhendra Bhaduri of Oak Ridge National Labs focused his presentation on data storage. His finding: out of every minute, only 24 seconds is spent on "processing" data; the rest is spent on "moving" data. ORNL is involved in doing work on population density in the world's trouble spots. See more info on population data tables at http://pdt.ornl.doe.sgov.gov.
Human geography and the Arab Spring
- The most compelling issues in these sessions was a focus on understanding the impact of social media on events. Some believe that the source (a tweet, Facebook post, etc.) and the actual event are difficult to disambiguate. Sometimes the source location impacts what is reported and the event location impacts what happens.
- Obviously, counterintelligence and counterinsurgency operations have a difficult time with understanding the context of social media. The challenge, as a few presenters noted, is the ability to "detect and respond at Twitter speed."
Jeff Jonas, IBM Distinguished Fellow, was the luncheon keynoter. To be able to do justice to what Jeff says in a 30-minute span of time would be folly. Jonas is an analytical thinker of the highest order and you simply need to be present to appreciate his insights. So, I'm "punting" on the analysis of Jeff's talk. But in a nutshell, here are the gold nuggets:
- Space and time enables absolute disambiguation
- Jonas' theory of "big data, new physics" results in the fact that "Errors in the data become your friend." "More data yields better predictions, lower false positives and lower false negatives.
- "Where and when are the single most powerful data points for context accumulation"
- More on "big data new physics" - IT'S A MUST READ, PEOPLE.