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GCN : November and December 2014
While many agencies are sharing data with each other for specific projects, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is working to assemble a one-stop repository for geospatial data for the military and intelligence communities. While NGA doesn t discuss specifically what data is available in its Map of the World, it is known to include extensive data on roadways, terrain, weather, building and even demographics in countries around the globe. "Think air, sea and land," said Col. Michael Senn, director of NGA s content management o ce. "We have maritime data, we have aeronautical data, we have topographic data. We also have imagery and we are also beginning to include some analytic products. "The Map of the World is really a data portal rather than an end-user s mapping application. "The Map of the World is designed to expose content, said Senn. "It is designed to be a user self-assisted platform where they can create their own products." As with other big-data projects, many of the data sets currently reside elsewhere, with other federal agencies and in some cases with private data providers. "It s not like we hold it all in one place, although ideally to analyze the data better in the future we would consolidate the store somewhat," Senn said. In addition to providing one place to access data, the NGA also exercises quality control. "We vet the content, we make sure it s appropriate and we make sure that the folks who hold the content hold to certain standards," Senn said. Now Senn s team is looking to expand the database. "We put up the original Map of the World with data we thought would be most useful to the customer -- DOD, the intelligence community, first responders and policymakers," said Senn. "Now what we are doing is taking customer feedback and working to assemble new data sets for Map of the World." In fact, the NGA in July awarded a $335-million, five-year contract to BAE Systems to assist in the collection and maintenance of geospatial data. According to DeEtte Gray, president of BAE Systems intelligence and security division, "Our geoint experts will be exploring new sources of data, including commodity data, open-source intelligence and NGA archive data to deliver new products." And in October the geospatial agency selected five companies to support link data technology, conflating data from varying sources and developing a framework for user generated content. NGA's do-it-yourself Map of the World GCN NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2014 • GCN.COM 25