Here’s How We Get to the Future
By Eric Schwarz
Picture yourself as a soldier in the field, communicating with your command via a personal digital assistant (PDA) and availing yourself of NGA services. Your wireless PDA has imaging capability and it’s "secure at rest" (all the data it contains is encrypted, even when the device is turned off, so that if it falls into the wrong hands, it can’t be used). It’s equipped with a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver as well as an integrated inertial measurement unit—a micro gyroscope that lets images taken with the PDA be mapped onto the earth.
Being in the field location for the night, you upload images of local features, including nearby hills and rivers, and send them to NGA. Then you use your PDA to set up a 24-hour, 5-kilometer geo-protection cylinder around your position with a 30,000-foot ceiling. You select the option to be notified of the presence of Red Forces and Blue Forces, that is friends and foes, and over flight. NGA watches the world for you.
Or, consider one of these scenarios:
An NGA imagery analyst has the power within her work space to create her own work flow in concert with the way she works best. She sets up geospatial areas of interest that are monitored for new source from a variety of intelligence disciplines to tip her off to new actionable intelligence. Reported changes indicate the presence of meaningful activity, and she calls on the advanced technology at her fingertips to create endless chains of actions to cross correlate source, initiate data mining, cue imagery, and literally bring the universe of information to her desktop for analysis, in a presentation style she’s requested.
An NGA geospatial analyst’s command customer requires an immediate symbolic information product to identify optimal avenues of traversability (ingress/egress) from a current location to a desired endpoint. The analyst can access the unit’s equipment specifications, such as vehicle size, and analyze road networks and cross country mobility options from his work space. He adds current variables into consideration such as weather, soil and geology and current Red and Blue locations to create information that will intuitively convey the options to the command customer.
An NGA source analyst interacts via a visual interface with the world’s sensors to determine how to gather the right combination of imagery sensed from the electro-magnetic spectrum to satisfy source information requirements for NGA analysts. She tasks by interacting with sensor facsimiles that instantly show her the available options and allow source to be collected and distributed to those who need it.