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Emerging GEOINT Trends at USGIF Technology Day

Patrick Collins

Having just returned from GEOINT Community Week & USGIF Tech Days, I figured it’d be worthwhile to discuss some of the emerging trends that I noticed at the show. First off, despite the effects of sequestration and the cancellation of the AGIC conference, I felt that the show was well attended and provided a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and to get to meet new players in the GEOINT industry. I expect next year to be even better, and wanted to say kudos to USGIF for putting on another world-class event.

LiDAR Building, Exelis Defense & Intelligence

One of the biggest trends I’ve seen at this and other recent shows is the emergence of LiDAR as a mainstream technology. While LiDAR is not itself an emerging technology, the availability of it has definitely increased, and it has become much less of a cost-prohibitive technology. To this end we see new uses for LiDAR being driven by companies and agencies who previously were unable to leverage it as a data type to solve their problems. I for one am excited every time someone comes up to the booth and wants to see how our products might be able to assist them in providing a solution based on LiDAR data. It’s always interesting to discover how these bright minds are thinking outside of the box to address issues within the community.

Another major trend is the drive for cloud-based, or enterprise level, solutions. Whether someone is looking for scalable, automated processes to be run in a high-performance computing environment, or trying to push simplified analytics down-range, the need for interoperable analysis solutions seems to be growing year over year. Companies such as Exelis VIS, Esri®, and DigitalGlobe® all seem to be stepping up to the plate, and I’m looking forward to seeing what types of joint ventures we might see from these companies at upcoming shows such as the International Esri User Conference and the 10th annual GEOINT Symposium.

USGIF Cloud, Exelis Defense & Intelligence

A final trend that we’ve all seen in the industry this year is the need for cost-savings and off-the-shelf geospatial solutions. It seems that the days of the multi-billion dollar defense contract are changing, and the government is now more prone to purchase cost-effective solutions that meet the majority of the need for the soldier as opposed to waiting years to custom develop solutions that may or may not eventual satisfy the requirements of the contract. This changes the way companies, both small and large, are directing their efforts to secure the information and capabilities they need. I don’t have a major opinion on whether this is good or bad, it is simply a fact of the changing GEOINT landscape and it behooves companies to notice and act on these trends.

In the long run, USGIF Technology Day was another big success. As I mentioned before, I expect next year to be even better, and look forward to once again making my way to the Hyatt Regency in Reston and learning what new and exciting things are happening in the world of GEOINT.

Did you attend USGIF Technology Day this year? What did you think? Was it as busy as you expected? Were there quality attendees? Let us know your thoughts!


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