NGA focusing on ‘service-enabled’ data, says Long

For the past year, the National Geospatial Agency's primary focus has been cleaning up and organizing data so it enables consumers to be producers, said National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Letitia Long while speaking Oct. 9 at the GEOINT Symposium in Orlando, Fla.

In 2012, the agency inventoried all of its data stores. Now, it's metatagging data and cataloging it in accordance with open geospatial consortium standards. Long said they're 40 percent done and hope to have its data service enabled in a "smart data framework" by July 2013. This will eliminate redundancy, reduce storage, increase quality and lessened users' search times, she said.

Another major project underway at the agency is a common desktop environment its developing with the Defense Intelligence Agency. Long said tests are now underway, with plans to bring 2,000 users on to the environment by March 2013 and 60,000 users by March 2014

"This enables our analysts, it enables all of us to log on from any computer anywhere in the community and get to your data and your apps," said Long. "No more trying to find a computer that belongs to your own agency wherever you're working."

The foundation of the common desktop will be a secure cloud environment being developed by the CIA and the National Security Agency.

Applications are also a major push at NGA. Long said the agency continues to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to create disaster-response apps. The Defense Department has spun off some of NGA's applications with mobile-enabled versions, providing unclassified imagery data on the ground.

The agency now has 150 apps in its app store, said Long, with about 80 percent internally built.

"By next July 2013 I'd like to see that almost inverted. I'd like to see others developing 75 percent of those apps and NGA only developing 25 percent," said Long.

Long said NGA will ask developers to create apps speculatively and they will be compensated based on NGA's rating schema and the usage.

During her remarks, Long cited many challenges to NGA's ability to meet its goals in the coming years, such as data integrity, licensing and cultural issues associated with greater interagency collaboration. However, her primary challenge could be across-the-board cuts to the agency's budget set to take effect in January 2013.

"I'd have to say the top concern would be sequestration. There's no question about that," said Long.

For more:
- watch an archived video of Long's remarks

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