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It Starts with a Good Defense (and Intelligence)

The technology and solutions that the D&I community spearheads provide value to several other domains, such as aviation, emergency management and response, smart cities, telecommunications, transport and logistics, among others.

BY Melisa Harder
Director of Business Development, Open Geospatial Consortium

Defense and Intelligence (D&I) as a domain has long been evolving as a leading force in technological innovation. This is because the technology and solutions that the D&I community spearheads not only allow collaborative ways to share, extract, store and grow data, but also provide value to several other domains, such as aviation, emergency management and response, smart cities, telecommunications, transport and logistics, among others.

There is a long history of innovative technologies being developed across the D&I domain that go beyond operations and into our everyday lives. For instance, superglue and microwaves to canned food and digital cameras. Even the Internet, which is the cornerstone of modern society, was brought to the world via D&I.

Great strides in the D&I community have brought a similar, cyclical trend concerning location-based technologies. 2D maps on traditional paper have evolved to modern 3D data visualization through digital twins, optimized use of the Cloud, and much more to help better inform the D&I community. These developments have led to benefits for other domains like agriculture, Space and smart cities.

Within the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), we have been able to harness the community behind several standards and other R&D developments, starting with sponsorship from organizations inside of the D&I community, and subsequently applied for broader use:

GeoPackage – a portable database for sharing and displaying geospatial data that is optimized for use on mobile mapping systems. What started out as a way to deliver geospatial data to troops in remote locations is now guiding first responders, humanitarian efforts and hikers as they make their way through areas with limited to no mobile/cell coverage.

CDB – a standardized model and structure for a single, ‘versionable’, virtual representation of the Earth. This Standard has become well-integrated with numerous other use cases and is even being adapted to work with gaming engines.

Moving features — allows for the consistent tracking of moving objects as seen from Space or other remote sensors. This OGC standard allows transportation authorities to automatically identify an accident/traffic jam, including its density, and plan a response accordingly.

Multi-sensor integration – brings together multiple sources of sensor data, such as remote imagery, data from sensors and other geospatial datasets to gain a more comprehensive picture.

Protocol optimization – was developed so that if a soldier has a limited bandwidth data connection, he can still receive the required data without compromising on security. These host of technologies like Cloud service security and standard streaming are now used by anyone with a smartphone and a mapping application.
Additionally, the D&I community is known for leveraging, exploring and building on innovations developed outside the community, such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, modeling and simulation, and cloud computing and security. These technologies have the ability to enable collaboration between departments, agencies, organizations, countries and domains, so that the world can become location data FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable).

GEOINTEROP: Enabling collaboration in D&I

Within OGC, the D&I working group has been working to enable collaboration through the development of a Commercial GEOINT Interoperability Reference Architecture (GEOINTEROP) in the form of an official community practice document and accompanying resources. Its ultimate vision is the complete integration of a nation’s imagery and geospatial capabilities to provide intelligence and information. The underlying concept of “complete integration” is an underpinning principle that applies not only to the D&I community, but to all communities with an interest in location.

The goal of the GEOINTEROP Reference Architecture is to provide an optimum combination of specific industry and “de jure” standards that can be employed by technology or service providers to promote rapid mobilization and/or integration with GEOINT applications, systems and enterprises.

2D maps on traditional paper have evolved to modern 3D data visualization through digital twins, optimized use of the Cloud, and much more to help better inform the D&I community

Collaboration beyond D&I

It’s the collaboration between a diverse number of domains and communities that makes OGC such a useful membership organization. We see ‘interoperability’ as more than just the interweaving of systems — it’s as much about the interweaving of communities.

Communities within OGC bring their geospatial problems to our working groups, Innovation program and member meetings to collaborate with the best minds in the business to work on their solution. After a standardized solution is developed in the open, with many different collaborators offering their expertise and insight, the solution can be designed in such a way so that it benefits the community as a whole.

We continue to work with our D&I partners to generate solutions to their location problems, while also connecting them to other areas in the marketplace where ideas and expertise can be exchanged. This has ranged from R&D initiatives with new technologies to revolutionary global standards. By closely involving D&I in an open, consensus-based standards development process, we are making sure that the fruits of this labour can be enjoyed by anyone.

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