In the present, commercially satellite data availability is no longer more sophisticated or affordable. However, vendors are still looking to sell it to the government to break the walls of trust issues.

It is a fact that intelligence analysts were raised to identify unclassified data as less valuable compared to classified information. According to Robert Cardillo, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, “NGA supplies geospatial data to the nation’s spy agencies and the Defense Department.”

On Tuesday, at the GEOINT Symposium, Cardillo emphasized that “The culture is not easy to change even in this era of rapid technological innovation. We have launched pathfinders with open data. We have made progress.”

The 35-year veteran of the geospatial intelligence business also stated that there is a natural tendency in the community on equating the value with classification. In his early career, he was told that” A secret piece of information is good. Top secret is better it doesn’t matter what it is. And ‘special access’ is even better. “

In today’s more innovative era, several analysts are already working with unclassified data. However, the agencies believe that when the industry continues to develop the quality of geospatial products, the enemies of U.S. are also using an open source data to create counter-narratives to undermine U.S. military campaigns. 

Cardillo explained, “Facts are not what they used to be. Typically after the Pentagon releases satellite images of areas it has struck, I guarantee I can find counter-narratives where there is collateral damage. That’s always been going on. As the industry produces better products, people are going to get a lot better at this. “

“Let’s face it, in a world in which we tend to live in our news cocoon; it’s really easy to reinforce somebody’s internal narrative with a doctored picture. I’m very worried about it”, he added. 

Cardillo said that he loved all of market satellite imaging companies, but he wants the government as their first customer. “We should be their second customer,” he said. He also noted that a vibrant space-based commercial imaging market is good for my agency. “

Last year, NGA featured its smartphone app, Tearline. It is aimed to test how the agency can bring unclassified geospatial intelligence to verify government users through the use of tablets as well as other mobile devices. It is also expected to provide high-quality and original content for senior officials.