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Priorities for Geoint Research at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Analyze. The dependence of geospatial data on resolution, proximity, and local context creates special problems for conventional forms of spatial analyses. NGA additionally needs to support real-time and near-real-time analysis of battlefield planning scenarios including, where appropriate, spatial optimization problems (e.g., trafficability) and trade-off analysis using distributed computing technologies. Hard problems of relevance include the integration of analytical results into salient displays, integrating high-performance computing (HPC), and communicating uncertainty in the analytical stages. The analysis flow itself is an important part of metadata, and while new capabilities in geographic information systems (GIS), (e.g., Environmental Systems Research Institute’s model-builder) facilitate this, much work remains to be done.
Disseminate. Disseminating intelligence as it is prepared forms a major part of NGA activities because it impacts operations planning, distributed and collaborative GEOINT, and augmented reality (the concurrent use of map and/or image data to augment one’s view of a real landscape). The traditional paper map or image photo print and physical distributions and publishing have still to yield completely to digital representations and Internet distribution. As noted above, successful sharing of data and information analysis results will require shared standards describing data format and meaning among the systems used by different agencies and including provenance, workflow, and uncertainty information.
Preserve. Preserving geospatial information poses several challenges, particularly in terms of the volume of information that is collected (currently on the order of terabytes per day). Challenges include dealing with the sheer redundancy of much of the information that is collected, the difficulties involved with indexing for efficient cataloging and retrieval, and the security and declassification policies that must be established to protect both discovered and as-yet-undiscovered intelligence.
HARD PROBLEMS IN THE CONTEXT OF THE GEOINT2 FRAMEWORK
This section links the hard problems (as summarized in the recommendations) identified in Chapter 4 with the steps in the GEOINT2 framework described above. It then gives a priority to each of the recommendations. The process recommendations from Chapter 5 are also prioritized. Priorities are assigned numerical levels 1, 2, and 3. Priority 1 research is considered vital, immediate in terms of support needs, and a prerequisite to higher priorities. Priority 2 needs are problems that require solution if the preconditions for the GEOINT2 transition are to be met. Priority 3