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R&D Priorities

Exploration of New Phenomenologies to exploit the full potential of new national, commercial, airborne, and ground technologies and transition their applications to the National System for Geospatial-Intelligence to address enduring hard problems for the Intelligence Community and the Military. Sensors of different modalities will be tested by models, simulations, and actual demonstrations to assess their potential contributions.

Geospatial-Intelligence Analytics will enable analysts to quickly process voluminous and heterogeneous data inputs to determine their significance, extract relevant information, and discover subtle patterns that may be critical to solving pressing intelligence problems.  Analysts can gain deeper knowledge on high-priority problems and make that knowledge accessible for collaborative, community-wide exploitation.  It will provide capabilities to generate new GIS products rapidly, and develop visualization and presentation tools and displays to enhance the analyst and end user’s ability to easily and intuitively understand and interact with spatio-temporal data.

Multi-Source and Multi-INT Fusion from multiple sensors, sources, and INTs can dramatically improve the ability to detect, locate, and track objects. This research concentrates on fusing information from different sensors of the same modality, information from imagery sensors of different modalities, information from different intelligence disciplines, developing new ways to reason and make decisions from fused information, and providing fusion-based solutions to hard problems in a net-centric environment.  It also examines measurements and databases for fused and composite signatures of targets of interest, conflation of multi-sensor and multi-modality data, and development of automated fusion exploitation algorithms for hard problems.

Integrated Problem-Driven Collection aims to perform the necessary research, modeling, and simulation to answer tough collection questions:

  • What combinations of sources provide the best answers to hard military and intelligence problems?
  • What revisit rate or persistence, with which sources, are needed to answer different problems?
  • What are the advantages of simultaneous vs. sequential collection?
  • How can we exploit all available sources seamlessly and optimally to answer hard intelligence problems?
  • How can we use and integrate all available sources seamlessly and optimally?
  • How can we automate this process to the greatest extent practicable?
  • What architectures can enable such optimal exploitation?
  • How can we link analysts more directly to the collection process?

Automated Image and Geospatial Data Understanding helps develop new approaches to automated or assisted understanding of imagery and geospatial data that can provide orders-of-magnitude improvements in such parameters as processing time, error rates, sensitivity, throughput, information extraction, geolocation accuracy, latency, conflation, and analyst efficiency.  This includes the development of automated exploitation algorithms and tools for all phenomenologies and for fused data.  It includes automated algorithms for extracting and attributing features and generating or updating foundation data or GIS products.  It includes automated algorithms for improving the geolocation accuracy of sensor data and of fused data.  It also includes research into applications of applied mathematics and of cognitive science to automated or assisted knowledge discovery and analysis.

GEOINT Enablers are the critical foundation for the first five research and technology priorities.  It includes IT monitoring and leveraging user laboratories and infrastructure, verification & validation activities, tech insertion and transition activities, and web services development.

The successful execution of these research priorities along with the delivery of associated capabilities and technologies will enable us to achieve the vision of a future NSG end state where users have real-time access to all relevant information, analytic methodologies and tools needed to solve or mitigate critical intelligence challenges so analysts can provide actionable intelligence to decision makers at all levels to support the National Security Strategy, National Military Strategy and Homeland Security operations.  Although our six priorities represent the major focus of NGA research and work, we do not rule out researching other relevant areas to improve and advance GEOINT.

Contact the NGA SBIR Program Manager at: sbir@NGA.mil