GeoWorld October 2011

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9/11 Anniversary Spotlights Emergency Management POSITION F BY TODD DANIELSON ortunately, the 10th anniver- sary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks came and went without incident. There were some powerful memorials and remem- brances, but, although "security alerts" were heightened, there were no further attacks or anything else that may have reignited a panic. However, it certainly was a time to remember the importance of emergency management and defense, and these are very important subsets of the geotechnol- ogy industry. Coupled with the growing GEOINT conference that I'll be headed to in mid-October 2011, I think GeoWorld again has a great reason to dedicate this issue to these subjects. Time for Reflection A lot has happened in the 10 years since 9/11. The United States has been engaged in two wars overseas, with many costs in lives and capital. Many will point to our engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan as contributors to the economic difficulties that have beset the world in that time. And many others will note that we haven't had a major terrorist attack since those wars began. Time will tell if they were successful or not. We've also had two presidential elections and a seesawing of political fortunes, the results of which were certainly influenced by 9/11 and its aftermath. And with another presiden- tial election on the horizon, I have no doubt that "security" will become a major campaign topic at some point. The entire world is no longer the Todd Danielson is editor of GeoWorld magazine, PO Box 773498, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477; e-mail: 4 GEO W ORLD / OCT O BE R 2O11 same place it used to be. Most govern- ments have adopted new security pro- cedures, something we're all reminded with every visit to an airport or another country. And greater scrutiny is placed on overseas conflicts, which used to be "somebody else's problem" before 9/11 brought outsiders' problems to our doorstep. For example, I believe the uprisings in Syria, Egypt and Libya, among others, were related to changes in thinking brought on by 9/11. And the U.S. govern- ment likely played a larger role in these areas than it would have prior to 2001. Growing Geotechnology Industry Having been to the last five GEOINT conferences, which focus on "geospatial intelligence" (GEOINT), and seeing its influ- ence in many sectors of our industry, it's extremely clear that 9/11 instigated a major boost in this sector. And market sectors grow when "that's where the money is." Government spend- ing on very expensive (although some- times inexpensive) GEOINT technology has skyrocketed. Readers only have to peruse the last decade's press releases to see the massive government purchases in imagery contracts, new satellites, 3-D display and analysis technologies, and data translation and storage, among many other related products, to see what an important player GEOINT has become. And the "trickle down theory," although debated in economic circles, certainly applies to technology. The large investments in GEOINT products and services have bled into areas of geotechnology that serve the larger public. For example, many municipal governments purchased and created their own regional plans for dealing with disasters, and these plans all rely on geotechnology not specifically created for military uses. In addition, a lot of the money that came in from the federal government has been used for research and devel- opment into new and better products that service everyone. The impacts really can't be overstated. In a very difficult economic climate, many companies (and entire industries) have been able to "stay afloat" due to the contracts they've received for emergency management and defense. The "yellow pages" of geotechnology companies would be a lot thinner if not for 9/11 and its aftereffects.

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