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Director Cardillo at Esri Federal GIS Conference

 Feb. 11, 2015

NGA Director Robert Cardillo spoke about the power of transparency during his remarks at the 2015 Esri Federal GIS Conference at the Washington Convention Center Feb. 10.

In front of an audience of more than 2,000 representing federal departments and agencies, state and local governments, industry, and academia, Cardillo used NGA’s support to the fight against the Ebola epidemic to demonstrate the agency's drive toward transparency. 

“Since October, NGA has been playing a vital behind-the-scenes role in [the Ebola] crisis in West Africa,” Cardillo said. “In this case, our objective is to support medical deployers, helping them save lives by creating a completely open World Wide Web site and posting as much of our data as we can. No passwords – no closed groups.”

Cardillo was joined on stage by NGA’s Rich Benjamin and Chris Riopelle to give the audience a live demo of NGA’s unclassified site.

“This is not a slideshow, we are directly accessing the website,” Cardillo said, before inviting members of the audience members to follow along on their own tablet or laptop.

According to Cardillo, at the end of the first week of February, NGA had posted 495 data layers, 202 products - which includes 111 maps of Sierra Leone from the United Kingdom - 68 apps, and 100 percent of the agency’s unrestricted elevation data. The unclassified site has seen more than one million views since the end of October 2014.

 “We have conveyed the content and context in a way that is unprecedented for NGA,” said Cardillo.

During the 30-minute speech, Cardillo also spoke about the proliferation of connected handheld devices, the small satellite revolution, NGA’s partnership with Penn State University, the agency’s release of mobile applications via iTunes and Google Play, and crowd-sourcing application development via GitHub.

View the full speech below, or visit  to download.