ArcNews Online

Fall 2010

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Esri and NGA Form Strategic Alliance

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and Esri are forming a strategic alliance to strengthen national geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) capabilities that will provide a framework to advance the strategic goals and objectives of the National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG) in geospatial sciences and systems and computer science. The alliance is meant to support the strategies and goals that U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Robert B. Murrett, NGA director, set last year to ensure the interoperability and reliability and improve the quality of NSG products and services.

The agreement underscores the critical role geospatial technology plays in GEOINT within the national security community, which provides GIS products, services, and analysis to intelligence officers and decision makers. GIS technology continues to evolve in national security. Originally restricted to technical analysts, the technology is now available throughout the community in Web-enabled enterprise applications.

"We have successfully collaborated with NGA for more than two decades," says Jack Dangermond, Esri president. "This new initiative will permit us to continue working together on projects that will use and improve geospatial technology, thereby strengthening our country's national security. We are honored to partner with NGA in this important endeavor."

The agreement was signed in June by Murrett and Dangermond.

The mission of NGA—which combines aspects such as technology, data, people, and policies needed to produce GEOINT—is to provide timely, relevant, and accurate geospatial intelligence to support national security. NSG is a unified community of GEOINT experts, producers, and users organized around the goal of integrating technology, policies, capabilities, and doctrine to produce GEOINT in a multi-intelligence environment. NGA, as the functional manager for NSG, provides strategic thinking, guidance, and direction to the intelligence community concerning all aspects of GEOINT, from acquisition to utilization. NGA collaborates with its mission partners to ensure that accurate and timely GEOINT is part of decision making and operations where and when it is needed.

Agencies, allies, and coalition partners rely on GIS to share geospatial data and products with one another within this worldwide network. This is increasingly important in intelligence, counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and humanitarian operations. The GEOINT system—cloud computing, mobile environments, the Web, and embedded geospatial capabilities—requires robust enterprise software that supports the global information grid. Esri's research and development in these areas provide the technical leadership needed to deliver critical geospatial support to meet the requirements of the intelligence community's fast-paced mission.

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