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The Geospatial Advantage Conference: Why Where Matters


The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and GeoHuntsville are co-hosting the Delivering Geospatial Advantage Conference: Why Where Matters in Huntsville, Alabama. 

With the theme “Why Where Matters,” this conference is an opportunity for government agencies, non-profit organizations, academia and industry to engage in discussions on partnerships, innovative technologies, and the growing geospatial ecosystem in Huntsville.  

NGA’s Source Deputy Director Shelby Pierson will provide the opening keynote at the conference. Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle will deliver closing remarks. 

The master of ceromonies for the event will be Intelligence and National Security Alliance President Suzanne Heckenberg.

Discussions will revolve around: 

  • Leveraging commercial data and imagery
  • The future of artificial intelligence
  • Engaging in geospatial learning inside and outside the classroom
  • Fostering a geospatial ecosystem 

Students, academics, government and industry are all invited to join the conversation during this one-day event at the Jackson Center on Nov. 29, 2022.  

Register today:

*** The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s involvement in this conference does not imply endorsement of GEOHuntsville by the United States government. ***

Featured Speakers

  • Shelby Pierson, Deputy Director, Source, NGA

  • Thomas Battle Jr., Mayor, City of Huntsville, Alabama

  • Suzanne Heckenberg, INSA President


8:30-8:50 a.m. Welcome Remarks and Morning Keynote Address

8:30-8:35 a.m. Welcome Remarks by Suzanne Heckenberg, INSA President and Master of Ceremonies

8:35-8:50 a.m. Morning Keynote Address by Shelby Pierson, NGA Source Deputy Director

Highlight how agency interoperability and collaborative partnerships in Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal deliver mission advantage for our nation’s security. Explore the future of Huntsville and Redstone Arsenal with new developments and industry and government players in the area.


  • Scott MacDonald, Senior Defense Intelligence Analyst, Defense Intelligence Agency
  • Howard Yager, Intelligence Technology Section, FBI
  • Dr. Fred Bickley, Chief Engineer, Innovation, Science and Technology, Missile Defense Agency
  • William Bach, Chief, G-2 GEOINT Branch, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command


Greg Brown, Board Chairman, Huntsville Chamber of Commerce

How does commercial deliver advantage to decision-makers and the warfighter? How are government agencies and industry leveraging commercial data and imagery currently, and what’s in store for the future?


  • Shelby Pierson, Deputy Director of NGA Source
  • Peter Muend, Director of NRO Commercial Systems Program Office
  • Brock Edwards, Planet
  • Dr. Karl Walli, Executive Vice President, Radiance Technology

Robert “Bo” Brown, GEOHuntsville Board

Discuss why lunar mapping standards for locations in space matter—why do we need to locate objects and celestial bodies in space? How can Geomatics/Geosciences contribute to tackling this problem to protect life and safety on Earth and enable future space operations and exploration?


  • Dr. Nikki Markiel, Senior GEOINT Authority for Geomatics
  • Dr. Mike Barker, NASA, LuNaMaps
  • Dr. Mike Zanetti, Planetary Scientist, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center


Joe Fehrenbach, GEOHuntsville Space Committee

How are students engaging in geospatial learning inside and outside the classroom? What innovative solutions, capabilities, technologies, and possibilities have they unlocked through learning and discovery? How do geospatial communities of practice come to learn and be, and to what impact? 


  • Dr. Wubishet Tadesse, Alabama A&M
  • Dr. Rob Griffin, UAH
  • Dr. Michael Pretes, UNA 
  • Matt Massey, President of the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering 
  • Kindrea Gibbons, Alabama A&M Student
  • McKenna Price-Patak, UAH student


Dr. Sara Graves, Director and University Professor of Computer Science, University of Alabama in Huntsville

How can AI deliver at the speed of mission need? What gets in the way of leveraging AI capabilities to the fullest extent possible, and how might these challenges be overcome? What’s next—what does AI in the geospatial industry look like 10-20 years from now? 


  • Mark Munsell, Deputy Director for NGA Data and Digital Innovation
  • Dr. Kuan Collins, Executive Director for Digital Innovation, Axient
  • Titus Jeffries, VP Spatial Solution (S2) Division NSO Ops Intel Group Leidos
  • Dennis Robertson, Senior Data Scientist, LinQuest 


Angela Rittenbach, GEOHuntsville Big Data Analytics Committee Lead

Explore the growing geospatial ecosystems in the cities of Huntsville and St. Louis. What makes Huntsville and St. Louis unique? How did these geospatial ecosystems start, and what conditions make them grow and thrive? 


  • Tracy Whelpley, Senior Vice President, Greater St. Louis Inc.
  • Chris Ashabranner, Associate Deputy Program Director, Next NGA West
  • Theron Anders, Vice President COMPASS-HSV
  • Elliott Ferguson, VP Geospatial Solutions at Hexagon US Federal
  • Erin Koshut, Executive Director Cummings Research Park


David Lucas, GEOHuntsville Executive Director

2:35 p.m.- 2:50 p.m. Closing Keynote by Tommy Battle, Mayor of Huntsville

2:50 p.m. - 3 p.m. Closing Remarks by Suzanne Heckenberg, INSA President

A student career fair will include representatives from NGA, ODNI, FBI and other federal agencies, industry and non-profits. Schools in the Huntsville region have been invited to attend to include: University of Alabama in Huntsville, Alabama A&M, University of North Alabama, Oakwood University, Drake State Community and Technical College, Calhoun Community College and Auburn Univeristy.

There is no cost for full-time students to attend the career fair.

Associated Document(s)