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Your International Geospatial Briefing for June 10th: GeoIgnite Pub night; UNGGIM; UK Data exploration license; Maxar; AI in the military

GeoIgnite Conference Pub Night ByWard Market

GoGeomatics and GeoIgnite will host a special pub social for attendees of the conference in Ottawa on Monday June 17, 7PM to 9PM, in The Heart & Crown, in Ottawa’s historic ByWard Market. Visit the event page to RSVP or get the details on the GoGeomatics website.

UNGGIM and Ordnance Survey open for input

Stakeholders of the geospatial industry are encouraged to contribute their ideas on future trends that will impact the sector in the next decade to the third edition of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) report on ‘Future trends in geospatial information management: the five to ten-year vision’. Through Ordnance Survey, the United Kingdom has agreed to lead the review in tandem with the UN-GGIM Secretariat. Since the second report there have been significant changes in the industry for information technology, policy, appkications, and the role of government; in August 2018 UNGGIM decided that a third review was necessary to educate people on future trends. Director of International Engagement at Ordnance Survey, John Kedar, said: “With ‘geospatial’ being an increasingly important component to future society, we are delighted to be leading the third revision of the Future Trends report. This is a unique opportunity for experts from across government, industry and academia to shape our combined global understanding of our rapidly changing future. We welcome your contribution.”

A new Data Exploration License out of the UK

The Geospatial Commission, an independent committee at the heart of the Cabinet Office, is part of a multi-million-dollar investment to unlock the value of location based data held by the British Geological Survey, HM Land Registry, Ordnance Survey, the Coal Authority, and the UK Hydrographic Office. Under the license, anyone can now freely access the data held by the above research bodies without requiring separate permissions. It is estimated that use of the location data could unlock up to $11 billion in value for the UK year by year. Professor John Ludden, chief executive of the British Geological Survey, said: “BGS are always looking for ways to get its data used in new and novel ways. This new license gives innovators a safe space to see what’s possible with data without having to worry about financial commitments or complicated restrictions on how the data should be used.”

Maxar faces competition in bids for government contracts

Image by BlackSky

The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) has been making overtures to commercial suppliers of satellite imagery that have historically been shut out of the market. In other words, the NRO is ready to move beyond the single-supplier model that the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency established with DigitalGlobe nearly a decade ago, which made Maxar Technologies (the recently rebranded DigitalGlobe) the sole provider of commercial satellite imagery technology. The NRO currently pays $300 million a year for access to Maxar’s WorldView-1, WorldView-2 and WorldView-3, as well as an extensive image library. The NRO’s new procurement strategy involves awarding one-year “study” contracts to Maxar, Planet, and BlackSky, to assess the companies’ abilities to task, collect, process and deliver satellite imagery.

AI and the fog of war

Discussing the need to employ AI and geospatial intelligence in strategy to win conflicts, Gen. Matt Easley, director of the U.S. Army Artificial Intelligence Task Force within the Army Futures Command employed a sinister quote from 19th century Prussian General Carl von Clausewitz and his concept of the fog of war. “War is the realm of uncertainty; three quarters of the factors on which action in war is based are wrapped in a fog of greater or lesser uncertainty. A sensitive and discriminating judgment is called for; a skilled intelligence to scent out the truth.” The Army, he says, requires speed, scale, and lethality in its domains and technologies—which in turn will rely on data-driven intelligence. Easley courted support from the attendees of the GEOINT Symposium for geo-intel solutions that would be destined to destroy enemy threats.

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