Committee Charge

An ad hoc committee will examine the need for geospatial intelligence expertise in the United States compared with the production of experts in the relevant disciplines, and discuss possible ways to ensure adequate availability of the needed expertise. In its report the committee will

1. Examine the current availability of U.S. experts in geospatial intelligence disciplines and approaches and the anticipated U.S. availability of this expertise for the next 20 years. The disciplines and approaches to be considered include NGA’s five core areas and promising research areas identified in the May 2010 NRC workshop.

2. Identify any gaps in the current or future availability of this expertise relative to NGA’s need.

3. Describe U.S. academic, government laboratory, industry, and professional society training programs for geospatial intelligence disciplines and analytical skills.

4. Suggest ways to build the necessary knowledge and skills to ensure an adequate U.S. supply of geospatial intelligence experts for the next 20 years, including NGA intramural training programs or NGA support for training programs in other venues.

The report will not include recommendations on policy issues such as funding, the creation of new programs or initiatives, or government organization.

of highly precise positioning techniques and monitoring of dynamic Earth phenomena. Geophysics is the physics of the Earth and its environment in space, including the study of geodesy, geomagnetism and paleomagnetism, seismology, hydrology, space physics and aeronomy, tectonophysics, and atmospheric science.

•   Photogrammetry—the art, science, and technology of extracting reliable and accurate information about objects, phenomena, and environments from the processing of acquired imagery and other sensed data, both passively and actively, within a wide range of the electromagnetic energy spectrum.

•   Remote sensing—the science of measuring some property of an object or phenomenon by a sensor that is not in physical contact with the object or phenomenon under study.

•   Cartographic science—the discipline dealing with the conception, production, dissemination, and study of maps as both tangible and digital objects, and with their use and analysis.

•   Geographic Information Systems and geospatial analysis—GIS refers to any system that captures, stores, analyzes, manages, and visualizes data that are linked to location. Geospatial analysis is the process of applying analytical techniques to geographically referenced data sets to extract or generate new geographical information or insight.

Recently, five research areas have emerged in academia that could improve geospatial intelligence by adding new types of information and analysis methods as well as new capabilities to help anticipate future threats:

•   GEOINT fusion—the aggregation, integration, and conflation of geospatial data across time and space with the goal of removing the effects of data measurement systems and facilitating spatial analysis and synthesis across information sources.

•   Crowdsourcing—a process in which individuals gather and analyze information and complete tasks over the Internet, often using mobile devices such as cellular phones. Individuals with these devices form interactive, scalable sensor networks that enable professionals and the public to gather, analyze, share, and visualize local knowledge and observations and to collaborate on the design, assessment, and testing of devices and results.

•   Human geography—the science of understanding, representing, and forecasting activities of individuals, groups, organizations, and the social networks to which they belong within a geotemporal context. It includes the creation of operational technologies based on societal, cultural, religious, tribal, historical, and linguistic knowledge; local economy and infrastructure; and knowledge about evolving threats within that geotemporal window.

•   Visual analytics—the science of analytic reasoning, facilitated by interactive visual interfaces. The techniques are used to synthesize information and derive insight from massive, dynamic, ambiguous, and often conflicting data.

•   Forecasting—an operational research technique used to anticipate outcomes, trends, or expected future behavior of a system using statistics and modeling. A forecast is used as a basis for planning and decision making and is stated in less certain terms than a prediction.

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