(Matt, 4/8/14, Sensor & Systems, “Is innovation of geospatial technology destined to always be driven by military budgets?” http://www.sensorsandsystems.com/dialog/perspectives/33571-is-innovation-of-geospatial-technology-destined-to-always-be-driven-by-military-budgets.html, Accessed 7/8/14, AA)
The innovator always gives back by raising technology standards and introducing new tools for the betterment of their trade. For many innovations, this is a passive benefit of the visionaries that saw an advantage and reaped a financial reward, with the top tools slowly filtering down to more users. For military intelligence, the advancements are aimed at an ongoing goal to know more, and to act before disruption or to even eliminate the disruption before it takes hold. The innovation occurs upon this continuum, and the United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has given back byhelping to break down barriers to make geospatial tools work more seamlessly across scale, devices, and enterprise databases.
The NGA has been a champion of open standards, and more recently open source, with advancements helping to spread functionality and ease integration. As their core databases grow to encompass an increasing mandate for information, we can expect innovation in data warehousing, distribution, communication, and map-based collaboration. Today’s military intelligence rests on a far more open and interoperable platform, with far fewer silos or information dead ends, and this vision and underpinning standards and protocols helps all users.
The benefits of accurate and detailed maps in military hands is an informed understanding and a decisive advantage for the policymakers, warfighters, intelligence professionals and first responders that use this information. Yes, much of geospatial innovation is pinned to military objectives, but we all benefit from an improved and shared understanding.