satellite image of Amsterdam (lavizzara/


Building a smart digital reality for GEOINT missions

As geospatial intelligence continues to improve its ability to support traditional defense operations, its popularity is also increasing in other security-related sectors such as well.  Humanitarian assistance, border security, critical infrastructure protection and disaster response and recovery all are benefitting from GEOINT.

In addition, these traditional and emerging GEOINT missions are becoming more complex and time critical. GEOINT organizations are constantly challenged with tapping into new data sources, which are now expanding into indoor, undersea and even subterranean environments.

As a result, there is a greater range of users that need to interact with geospatial information in a more intuitive manner to better support integration to business and missions systems, respond to crises and provide assistance to a larger audience of decision-makers.

Today’s defense and intelligence organizations must understand what data they have, how to access it, what it can be used for, how to transform it and how to deliver it in new ways -- no longer as data, but as answers to mission-critical, operational or business problems.

As such, government and industry must collectively develop an approach that allows any organization to embrace a smart digital reality that will drive better decision-making.

The foundation for effectively making this data-expansion shift comes down to the combination of visual analytics and technology to communicate information effortlessly and in real time -- creating new, five-dimensional location intelligence that includes the following components:

  • 1D: What has happened.
  • 2D: What is happening.
  • 3D: What could happen.
  • 4D: What should happen.
  • 5D: What will happen.

A smart digital reality can incorporate a wide range of GEOINT data types, such as elevation, imagery, LiDAR, radar, map features and building models. It can provide a seamless blending of GEOINT related to above-ground, subterranean and undersea terrain while effectively incorporating past, present and predicted information. 

When users have a more realistic, accurate and comprehensive view of the world as it was, as it is, and as it might be in the future, they can enhance their decision-making and planning activities.

Ultimately, this will enable global defense and intelligence organizations to ensure that both leadership and the warfighter are fully empowered with the right intelligence, at the right time, at the right place.

About the Author

Bart Adams is the director of product and innovation for Hexagon’s Geospatial Division.


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