Data is becoming increasingly important. But it’s also increasing in size. Remember when a gigabyte seemed like an impossibly large concept? Such is the gargantuan size of the information that is stored and released by defence organisations; they need to be more careful than ever before with regards to how it is managed.
The topic is especially important in relation to armies and defence groups, which will have to guarantee that their statistics are heavily guarded against both online and offline threats.
Importance of Big Data to Geospatial Technology
Cyber crime is becoming more of a problem for internet users, with hackers developing new skills constantly, making it challenging for particularly sensitive information to be kept away from those who aim to capture it and use it in detrimental ways.
Individual computer users across the world simply need to rely on anti-virus and firewall software to combat cyber threats, but the issue is much more pronounced when it comes to larger organisations, leading to the development of the big data concept.
The phrase refers to assets that increase to an extent where they are awkward to manage using ordinary database management tools, and those in the geospatial technology field will be more than familiar with it.
Deloitte’s Verdict on Big Data
Specialists at Deloitte have commented on how big data is affecting the geospatial technology industry, noting that the services can be highly beneficial. The company claimed that organisations which merge location-aware data with geospatial analysis tools could begin to offer “game-changing support” for business decision making at levels that could never previously have been considered.
Mike Liebhold, senior researcher at the business, said that it is now easy to be excited about the number of developments that are having an impact on geospatial technology.
“Visualization, like many business efforts, should be supported by concrete objectives and well-defined questions that can benefit from geospatial analysis, and tested by those with specific experience in both analyzing and communicating location-aware data.
“Leading organisations that follow these principles to provide geospatial visualization tools to employees, business partners and even customers that allow them to explore, manipulate and act on the insights they gain, will be putting Tobler’s law to use for competitive advantage,” Mr Liebhold noted.
He urged organisations to assess their baseline, investigating existing data sources and analysis tools before comparing these with the capabilities that are necessary for efficient modelling, rendering and interacting.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Big data is a pressing issue for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and it can sometimes be easy for groups to overestimate the space required to store data. Government Computer News reported that the NGA had not utilized an entire floor of a four-storey technology centre that it began using for the purpose of data storage.
Originally, the NGA planned to use the third and fourth floors, though ultimately just the fourth was necessary. However, it appears that the third floor may actually be put to use, as the organisation has proposed a new military project to address storage needs, according to the news provider.
It expects storage requirements to grow exponentially over the next decade because of planned intelligence collection sensors, which are set to be deployed over the course of the period and increase the use of cloud computing.
New technology for geospatial activities
As time progresses, new innovations are being introduced to the geospatial technology industry, with SpaceCurve existing as one company that is pushing invention in the field. The Seattle-based business has raised $5.2 million (£3.2 million) of funding, following investment from companies such as Reed Elsevier, Divergent Ventures and Triage Ventures.
Gigaom.com has reported that the organisation is aiming to develop a system that is capable of discovering the underlying patterns of multidimensional geodata, rather than working around complexities in data values.
SpaceCurve is hoping that the system will be accessible for anyone who collects information from sensors, mobile devices or location data. Speaking to the news provider, Mr Slitz explained that it has some “major” pilot customers in its plans as it aims to further the technology and open up new possibilities in the market.
How geospatial technology is helping British and American forces
Armies and defence forces will be paying particular attention to the company’s developments, as such organisations will be among those who will gain the most benefit from new geospatial capabilities.
The Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) is one business that has been in close consultation with the US Army Geospatial Center (AGC) recently, with the two parties agreeing a contract to provide geospatial research, intelligence and support.
SAIC is a scientific, engineering and technology applications company that utilises deep domain knowledge to solve issues in national security, energy and environment. The deal has a one-year base period of performance and carries a total value of $200 million when all options are exercised. As a result of the agreement, the AGC will provide war fighters with timely, precise and relevant geospatial information and domain expertise that can be used to support unified land operations.
Various intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) payload systems will be included in the deal, among other innovations. These contain joint capabilities technology demonstrations relevant to GES and command, control, communications, computers (C4) ISR requirements.
John Fratamico, SAIC senior vice president and business unit general manager, said: “We look forward to continuing to provide the AGC with an end-to-end architecture capable of collecting, integrating, synchronising, managing, analysing, displaying, and disseminating geospatial information and C4ISR systems, enabling the AGC to provide direct geospatial support and products to warfighters,”
Britain is another country that is looking to advance its geospatial capabilities, as the country’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has accepted Roke Manor Research’s Electronic Surveillance and Countermeasures system.
The Electronic Warfare Manpack service will be used as a full core capability in the British Army and Royal Marines. Gavin O’Connell, business development manager at Roke said: “Roke was originally selected to supply EW Manpack equipment in response to the MoD’s Urgent Operational Requirement for its SEER programme in Afghanistan.
“The decision to deploy this system wider and make it a core capability in the British Army and Royal Marines is testament to the advantage that it has been delivering our troops.”
Big data and all the topics covered in this article will be under debate at DGI – Europe’s leading geospatial intelligence event, 21-23 January 2013, London.
The DGI Conference & Exhibition brings together heads of defence geospatial intelligence, remote sensing, GIS data & mapping, satellite imagery and analysis within the military, governmental, and geo intelligence sectors. It attracts professionals who are responsible for using, and integrating, geo based capabilities in their operations and organizations. Attended by over 800 Geo professionals, DGI is where the geospatial intelligence community comes together.
To join them, and to find out more ,visit DGIeurope.com or check back to CanadianGIS.com for more DGI Conference & Exhibition updates.
[Paper submitted & published on behalf of DGI]