In-Q-Tel investment proves its worth in Iraq

An equity investment by the National Imagery and Mapping Agency in 3-D imaging technology paid off when the tool was deployed during the Iraq War.

NIMA in February invested, through In-Q-Tel, the CIA's technology incubation arm, in Keyhole Inc. of Mountain View, Calif. In-Q-Tel announced the investment this week.

Keyhole's EarthSystem uses network streaming technology to let the EarthViewer 3-D client application access large databases of satellite imagery and aerial photography to produce interactive digital models. Television networks used the technology with publicly available satellite images during coverage of the war to produce virtual flyovers of remote areas of the theatre of war.

'Within two weeks of In-Q-Tel's engagement with Keyhole, we implemented the technology to support our mission with the Pentagon,' Rob Zitz, director of NIMA's InnoVision directorate, said in a statement.

Working through the CIA, NIMA became a limited partner with In-Q-Tel in the summer of 2002. The Keyhole investment was In-Q-Tel's first engagement on behalf of NIMA.

'In-Q-Tel invested in Keyhole because it offers government and commercial users a new capability to radically enhance critical decision making,' said In-Q-Tel CEO Gilman Louie. 'Through its ability to stream very large geospatial datasets, Keyhole has created an entirely new way to interact with Earth imagery.'

In addition to an equity investment, In-Q-Tel is partnering with Keyhole to enhance EarthSystem's compatibility with government datasets through use of advanced geographical information system standards.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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