GeoWorld October 2012

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Industry Trends information quality from anywhere on the globe. The GEOINT community needs to be more attuned to an end user who is technologically savvy and shares information via a multitude of social-networking, collaborative information-sharing and community- evaluation capabilities. Back at home, the men and women of the armed Every Internet user is potentially a source of information, and the GEOINT community needs to think through how these new sources can be harvested, qualified, analyzed and applied within clear privacy guidelines. forces routinely use a cell phone or tablet to get around a neighborhood, find a store or restaurant, rate the food or do a multitude of everyday tasks. On the battlefield, they also should have tailored solutions to their military information needs. Those would include electronic image maps showing where they are, direc- tions to where the target is and information about the route in between. Have IEDs been found along the road? Have ambushes been reported in the area? Have there been incidents with anti-American crowds? Is Twitter lit up about something happening nearby? It's time to provide warfighters with real-time mission-focused information. It's real in the civilian routine; it's time to make it real in the military routine. likely be as radical to today as if people were still draw- ing maps by hand. New Transformations and Old Barriers Some in the intelligence community consider citizen- gathered information to be the third rail of the Metro system: Don't get close enough to touch it. It's unreliable, inaccurate and laden with privacy-protection issues. This outdated mode of thinking must change. For one thing, today's customers are demanding it. They don't care about what happened last month or last year. They want to know what's happening now and how it could affect the decisions they're making today and tomorrow. As a result, the GEOINT community needs to think through how these new sources of information can be harvested, qualified, analyzed and applied. Although most recognize the fact that new legislation and policies are needed to protect the rights of individuals, there's still a lot of intelligence that can be gathered from the plethora of location- and event-based informa- tion sources available today. The proliferation of location-based service tech- nologies now is part of the fabric of everyday life and practically embedded in the DNA of future generations. The men and women serving in today's armed forces have never known a time when they couldn't access information about their location, download services using a personal computing device, interact with friends in real time, tag and upload images, and comment on 24 GEO W ORLD / O C TOBER 2O12 Big Data vs. A Lot of Data One complicating factor with much of the new data, which are growing at a logarithmic rate, is simply the volume. Although the GEOINT community continues to try to come to terms with what "big data" really means, the volume of location- and event-based infor- mation continues to explode. This explosion of data needs to be harnessed in a way that can reveal trends, tie GEOINT to a location- and time-based event (e.g., 9/11), isolate "noise" and "intentional misinformation" from the analysis, and fill gaps where national collection assets have failed. Such GEOINT analysis requires new tradecraft as well as new ways to capture, tag and track data that can be used for determining location, time and activity to better understand the human terrain and, more spe- cifically, the key involvement of certain individuals who have the ability to exert influence, whether political, social or economic. Key Influencers Although GEOINT has historically focused on mapping large, fairly static areas of the Earth in support of mili- tary operations or analyzing historical imagery over a targeted area where a known intelligence activity has a need, the community needs to better understand the human terrain. Future national-security issues will be based on individuals and groups rather than nations and large standing armies. These individuals and groups have the ability to influence events based on political, social and economic activities such as cyber attacks, terrorism, rogue weapons of mass destruction and pirating.

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