The Headwaters’ Aerospace, Defense and Government team recently attended the  10th Anniversary Annual Geospatial Intelligence Symposium and Exhibition in Tampa, Florida, held from April 14-17, 2014, hosted by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation.


Key Takeaways

 The GEOINT Symposium is the largest global geospatial intelligence event attended by the defense, intelligence and homeland security communities.

Postponed from its originally scheduled October 2013 date due to the US government shut down the conference convened over 260 exhibitors showcasing:

  • Image Processing and Analysis
  • Location-Based Services
  • Mapping & Visualization Tools
  • Airborne and ISR Capabilities
  • Commercial Satellite Imaging
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Global Positioning Hardware & Software

Speakers included senior leaders from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), as well as leadership from the National Security Agency (NSA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), and other government organizations. Topics of discussion range from "Revolutionizing the NGA Industry Relationship" to "Focusing the R&D Community on GEOINT of the Future."

Expanding the data collection debate is the role of "Human Geography" as technology and software innovations are evolving due to massive data feeds from social networks. One speaker noted that Twitter alone provides 15 billion communications links a day. "Illuminating social networks to help navigate the human terrain is a major goal," noted another speaker.


Increasing use of hyper spectral aerial data highlights the importance of geospatial imagery for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting, and equally important, commercial applications such as agricultural and natural resource management. Although the Direcor of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency outlined the six "pillars of immersive intelligence" (i.e. common intelligence picture, objects-based production, tipping/cueing data collection, on-demand access, open enterprise and R&D investments), industry remains skeptical of how much progress will be made due to defense and space intelligence budget cuts, mandated by sequestration.

Signaling a shift toward commercial location-based and wearable technologies, which often provide inspiration for defense and intelligence needs, speakers discussed how fast developing technologies can predict what users want even before they do, and the implications on lifestyles, businesses, and privacy.