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National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

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The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is an agency of the federal government of the United States
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 with the primary mission of collecting, analyzing and distributing geospatial intelligence
GEOINT
Geospatial intelligence, GEOINT , GeoIntel , or GSI has no universally accepted definition and it has been said that if you "ask 10 people to define 'geospatial intelligence,' and you are likely to get 10 different answers."-Official definition:The...

 (GEOINT) in support of national security
National security
National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic, diplomacy, power projection and political power. The concept developed mostly in the United States of America after World War II...

. NGA was formerly known as the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) and is part of the Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 (DoD). In addition, NGA is a key component of the United States Intelligence Community
United States Intelligence Community
The United States Intelligence Community is a cooperative federation of 16 separate United States government agencies that work separately and together to conduct intelligence activities considered necessary for the conduct of foreign relations and the protection of the national security of the...

.

NGA headquarters is located in Springfield, Virginia
Springfield, Virginia
Springfield is a census-designated place in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States and a suburb of Washington, D.C. The Springfield CDP is recognized by the U.S. Census Bureau with a population of 30,484 as of the 2010 census. Homes and businesses in bordering CDPs including North Springfield,...

 and operates major facilities in the St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

 area as well as support and liaison offices worldwide. The NGA was headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland
Bethesda, Maryland
Bethesda is a census designated place in southern Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, just northwest of Washington, D.C. It takes its name from a local church, the Bethesda Meeting House , which in turn took its name from Jerusalem's Pool of Bethesda...

 until 2011, when NGA consolidated many of its regional activities as part of the BRAC
Base Realignment and Closure, 2005
The preliminary 2005 Base Realignment and Closure list was released by the United States Department of Defense on May 13, 2005. It is the fifth Base Realignment and Closure proposal generated since the process was created in 1988. It recommends closing 33 major United States military bases and...

 into a new campus near Ft. Belvoir in Fairfax County, Virginia
Fairfax County, Virginia
Fairfax County is a county in Virginia, in the United States. Per the 2010 Census, the population of the county is 1,081,726, making it the most populous jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with 13.5% of Virginia's population...

. The NGA campus which, at 2.3 million square feet (214,000 m²), is the third-largest government building in the Washington Metropolitan Area
Washington Metropolitan Area
The Washington Metropolitan Area is the metropolitan area centered on Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The area includes all of the federal district and parts of the U.S...

, and its atrium is spacious enough to hold the Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886...

. Its budget and number of employees are classified.

The NGA was credited by White House and military officials with providing critical information in support of Operation Neptune's Spear on 2 May 2011, in which the United States Military raided a secret compound housing Osama Bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

 in Abbottabad, Pakistan, at which time he was killed-in-action.

History


US mapping and charting efforts remained relatively unchanged until World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, when aerial photography
Aerial photography
Aerial photography is the taking of photographs of the ground from an elevated position. The term usually refers to images in which the camera is not supported by a ground-based structure. Cameras may be hand held or mounted, and photographs may be taken by a photographer, triggered remotely or...

 became a major contributor to battlefield intelligence. Using stereo viewers, photointerpreters reviewed thousands of images. Many of these were of the same target at different angles and times, giving rise to what became modern imagery analysis and mapmaking.

Engineer Reproduction Plant (ERP)


The Engineer Reproduction Plant was the Army Corps of Engineers' first attempt to centralize mapping production, printing and distribution. It was located on the grounds of the Army War College in Washington, D.C. Prior to this time, topographic mapping was largely a function of individual field engineer units using field surveying techniques or copying existing or captured products. In addition, ERP assumed the "supervision and maintenance" of the War Department
United States Department of War
The United States Department of War, also called the War Department , was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army...

 Map Collection effective 1 April 1939.

Army Map Service (AMS) / U.S. Army Topographic Command (USATC)


With the advent of the Second World War aviation, field surveys began giving way to photogrammetry
Photogrammetry
Photogrammetry is the practice of determining the geometric properties of objects from photographic images. Photogrammetry is as old as modern photography and can be dated to the mid-nineteenth century....

, photo interpretation and geodesy
Geodesy
Geodesy , also named geodetics, a branch of earth sciences, is the scientific discipline that deals with the measurement and representation of the Earth, including its gravitational field, in a three-dimensional time-varying space. Geodesists also study geodynamical phenomena such as crustal...

. During wartime it became increasingly possible to compile maps with minimal field work. Out of this emerged AMS, which absorbed the existing ERP in May 1942. It was located at the Dalecarlia Site (including buildings now named for John C. Frémont
John C. Frémont
John Charles Frémont , was an American military officer, explorer, and the first candidate of the anti-slavery Republican Party for the office of President of the United States. During the 1840s, that era's penny press accorded Frémont the sobriquet The Pathfinder...

 and Charles Ruth) on MacArthur Blvd., just outside Washington D.C. in Montgomery County, Maryland, and adjacent to the Dalecarlia Reservoir
Dalecarlia Reservoir
Dalecarlia Reservoir is the primary storage basin for drinking water in Washington, D.C., fed by an underground aqueduct in turn fed by low dams which divert portions of the Potomac River near Great Falls and Little Falls....

. AMS was designated as an Engineer field activity, effective 1 July 1942, by General Order 22, OCE, 19 June 1942. AMS also combined many of the Army's remaining geographic intelligence organizations and the Engineer Technical Intelligence Division. AMS was redesignated the U.S. Army Topographic Command (USATC) on 1 September 1968 and continued as an independent organization until 1972, when it was merged into the new Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) and redesignated as the DMA Topographic Center (DMATC) (see below).

Aeronautical Chart Plant (ACP)


After the war, as airplane capacity and range improved, the need for charts grew. The Army Air Corps
United States Army Air Corps
The United States Army Air Corps was a forerunner of the United States Air Force. Renamed from the Air Service on 2 July 1926, it was part of the United States Army and the predecessor of the United States Army Air Forces , established in 1941...

 established its Map Unit, which was renamed ACP in 1943 and was located in St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

. ACP was known as the U.S. Air Force Aeronautical Chart and Information Center (ACIC) from 1952 to 1972 (See DMAAC below).

Defense Mapping Agency (DMA)


The Defense Mapping Agency was created on 1 January 1972 to consolidate all United States military mapping activities. DMA's "birth certificate", DoD Directive 5105.40, resulted from a (formerly) classified Presidential directive, "Organization and Management of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Community" (5 November 1971) which directed the consolidation of mapping functions previously dispersed among the military services. DMA became operational on 1 July 1972, pursuant to General Order 3, DMA (16 June 1972).

DMA' was first headquartered at the United States Naval Observatory
United States Naval Observatory
The United States Naval Observatory is one of the oldest scientific agencies in the United States, with a primary mission to produce Positioning, Navigation, and Timing for the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Department of Defense...

 in Washington, D.C, then at Falls Church, Virginia
Falls Church, Virginia
The City of Falls Church is an independent city in Virginia, United States, in the Washington Metropolitan Area. The city population was 12,332 in 2010, up from 10,377 in 2000. Taking its name from The Falls Church, an 18th-century Anglican parish, Falls Church gained township status within...

. Its mostly civilian workforce was concentrated at production sites in Bethesda, Maryland
Bethesda, Maryland
Bethesda is a census designated place in southern Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, just northwest of Washington, D.C. It takes its name from a local church, the Bethesda Meeting House , which in turn took its name from Jerusalem's Pool of Bethesda...

, Northern Virginia, and St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

. DMA was formed from the Mapping, Charting, and Geodesy Division, Defense Intelligence Agency
Defense Intelligence Agency
The Defense Intelligence Agency is a member of the Intelligence Community of the United States, and is the central producer and manager of military intelligence for the United States Department of Defense, employing over 16,500 U.S. military and civilian employees worldwide...

 (DIA), and from various mapping-related organizations of the military services.
  • DMA Hydrographic Center (DMAHC)

DMAHC was formed in 1972 when the Navy's Hydrographic Office split its two components: the charting component was attached to DMAHC, and the survey component moved to the Naval Oceanographic Office, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
Bay Saint Louis is a city located in Hancock County, Mississippi. It is part of the Gulfport–Biloxi, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 8,209. It is the county seat of Hancock County...

, on the grounds of what is now the NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 Stennis Space Center. DMAHC was responsible for creating terrestrial maps of coastal areas worldwide and hydrographic charts for DoD. DMAHC was initially located in Suitland, Maryland
Suitland-Silver Hill, Maryland
Suitland-Silver Hill is a census-designated place in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States. The census area include separate unincorporated communities of Silver Hill and Suitland, and other smaller communities. The population was 33,515 at the 2000 census...

, but later relocated to Brookmont (Bethesda), Maryland.
  • DMA Topographic Center (DMATC)

DMATC was located in Brookmont (Bethesda), Maryland. It was responsible for creating Topographic maps worldwide for DoD. DMATC's location in Bethesda, Maryland is the current site of NGA's headquarters.
  • DMA Hydrographic/Topographic Center (DMAHTC)

DMAHC and DMATC eventually merged to form DMAHTC, with offices in Brookmont (Bethesda), Maryland.
  • DMA Aerospace Center (DMAAC)

DMAAC originated with the U.S. Air Force's Aeronautical Chart and Information Center (ACIC) and was located in St. Louis, Missouri.

National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC)


Shortly before leaving office in January 1961, President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 authorized the creation of the National Photographic Interpretation Center, headed by Arthur C. Lundahl
Arthur C. Lundahl
Arthur Charles Lundahl was the key organizer of the US post-World War II imagery intelligence an aerial-photography expert whose detection of missile installations in Cuba in 1962 led to the Cuban missile crisis....

, combining Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 (CIA), Army, Navy, and Air Force assets to solve national intelligence problems. NPIC was a component of the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology (DDS&T) and its primary function was imagery analysis
Imagery analysis
Imagery analysis is the extraction of useful information from bi-dimensional graphic formats, including screen shots. This includes color and black-and-white photographs, infra-red photographs and video, radar screens and synthetic aperture radar formats, ultrasound, EKG, EEG, MRI, echo...

.

Cuban Missile Crisis



NPIC first identified the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

’s basing of missiles in Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 in 1962. By exploiting images from U-2
Lockheed U-2
The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed "Dragon Lady", is a single-engine, very high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency . It provides day and night, very high-altitude , all-weather intelligence gathering...

 overflights and film from canisters ejected by orbiting Corona satellites, NPIC analysts developed the information necessary to inform US policymakers and influence operations during the Cuban Missile Crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation among the Soviet Union, Cuba and the United States in October 1962, during the Cold War...

. Their analysis garnered worldwide attention when the Kennedy Administration
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 declassified and made public a portion of the images depicting the Soviet missiles on Cuban soil; Adlai Stevenson presented the images to the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 on 25 October 1962.

National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA)



NIMA was established on 1 October 1996, by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997. The creation of NIMA followed more than a year of study, debate and planning by the defense, intelligence and policy-making communities (as well as the Congress) and continuing consultations with customer organizations. The creation of NIMA centralized responsibility for imagery and mapping.

NIMA combined the DMA, the Central Imagery Office (CIO), and the Defense Dissemination Program Office (DDPO) in their entirety, and the mission and functions of the NPIC. Also merged into NIMA were the imagery exploitation, dissemination and processing elements of the Defense Intelligence Agency
Defense Intelligence Agency
The Defense Intelligence Agency is a member of the Intelligence Community of the United States, and is the central producer and manager of military intelligence for the United States Department of Defense, employing over 16,500 U.S. military and civilian employees worldwide...

, National Reconnaissance Office
National Reconnaissance Office
The National Reconnaissance Office , located in Chantilly, Virginia, is one of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies. It designs, builds, and operates the spy satellites of the United States government.-Mission:...

 and the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office.

NIMA's creation was clouded by the natural reluctance of cultures to merge and the fear that their respective missions mapping in support of defense activities versus intelligence production, principally in support of national policymakers—would be subordinated, each to the other.

NGA



With the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 on 24 November 2003, NIMA was renamed NGA, to better reflect its primary mission in the area of GEOINT
GEOINT
Geospatial intelligence, GEOINT , GeoIntel , or GSI has no universally accepted definition and it has been said that if you "ask 10 people to define 'geospatial intelligence,' and you are likely to get 10 different answers."-Official definition:The...

. As a part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure
Base Realignment and Closure, 2005
The preliminary 2005 Base Realignment and Closure list was released by the United States Department of Defense on May 13, 2005. It is the fifth Base Realignment and Closure proposal generated since the process was created in 1988. It recommends closing 33 major United States military bases and...

 (BRAC) process, all major Washington, DC-area NGA facilities, including those in Bethesda, MD; Reston, VA; and Washington, DC will eventually be consolidated at a new facility to be constructed at the Fort Belvoir, VA proving grounds. This new facility, called the NGA Campus East at this stage, will be massive, housing several thousand people and will be situated on the former Engineer Proving Ground site near Fort Belvoir. NGA facilities in St. Louis were not affected by the 2005 BRAC process.

The cost of the new center, as of March 2009, was expected to be $2.4 billion. The center's campus is 2400000 square feet (222,967.3 m²) and was completed in September 2011.

Commercial Imagery


Former director Lt Gen
Lieutenant General (United States)
In the United States Army, the United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps, lieutenant general is a three-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-9. Lieutenant general ranks above major general and below general...

 James R. Clapper Jr.
James R. Clapper
James R. Clapper, Jr. is a retired lieutenant general in the United States Air Force and is currently the Director of National Intelligence. He was previously dual-hatted as the first Director of Defense Intelligence within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence alongside the position...

, USAF
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

, Retired* changed NGA's mission to a focus on surveillance instead of reconnaissance, and moved away from government-produced imagery (like that produced by the National Reconnaissance Office
National Reconnaissance Office
The National Reconnaissance Office , located in Chantilly, Virginia, is one of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies. It designs, builds, and operates the spy satellites of the United States government.-Mission:...

) to commercial imagery such as DigitalGlobe
DigitalGlobe
DigitalGlobe, of Longmont, Colorado, USA, is a commercial vendor of space imagery and geospatial content, and operator of civilian remote sensing spacecraft...

 and GeoEye
GeoEye
GeoEye Inc. is a commercial satellite imagery company based in Herndon, Virginia that is the world's largest space imaging corporation....

.

Employees


NGA employs professionals in aeronautical analysis, cartography
Cartography
Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.The fundamental problems of traditional cartography are to:*Set the map's...

, geospatial analysis
Geospatial
Geospatial analysis is an approach to applying statistical analysis and other informational techniques to geographically based data. Such analysis employs spatial software and analytical methods with terrestrial or geographic datasets, including geographic information systems and...

, imagery analysis
Image analysis
Image analysis is the extraction of meaningful information from images; mainly from digital images by means of digital image processing techniques...

, marine analysis, the physical sciences, geodesy, computer and telecommunication engineering, photogrammetry
Photogrammetry
Photogrammetry is the practice of determining the geometric properties of objects from photographic images. Photogrammetry is as old as modern photography and can be dated to the mid-nineteenth century....

, as well as those in the national security and law enforcement fields.

NIMA / NGA Directors


This table lists all Directors of the NIMA and NGA and their term of office.
Term of Office | Director
1996–1998 Rear Admiral (RADM)
Rear admiral (United States)
Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. The uniformed services of the United States are unique in having two grades of rear admirals.- Rear admiral :...

 Joseph J. (Jack) Dantone, Jr., USN
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

, Acting Director
1998–2001 Lieutenant General (LTG)
Lieutenant General (United States)
In the United States Army, the United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps, lieutenant general is a three-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-9. Lieutenant general ranks above major general and below general...

 James C. King, US Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

2001–2006 Lieutenant General (Lt Gen) James R. Clapper
James R. Clapper
James R. Clapper, Jr. is a retired lieutenant general in the United States Air Force and is currently the Director of National Intelligence. He was previously dual-hatted as the first Director of Defense Intelligence within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence alongside the position...

 Jr., USAF, Retired*
2006–2010 Vice Admiral (VADM)
Vice admiral (United States)
In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, and the United States Maritime Service, vice admiral is a three-star flag officer, with the pay grade of...

 Robert B. Murrett
Robert B. Murrett
Vice Admiral Robert B. Murrett was the fourth Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, from 7 July 2006 through July 2010.-Military career:...

, USN
2010–present Letitia Long
Letitia Long
Letitia A. Long is the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.Prior to taking over as NGA director on August 9, 2010, Long served as the Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from May 2006 until July 2010. Previously, she was the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for...



* Although General Clapper preferred the use of his military rank, he was in fact a member of the Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service
Senior Executive Service
The Senior Executive Service is a paygrade in the civil service of the United States federal government, somewhat analogous to the ranks of general or admiral in the U.S. armed forces...

 (DISES) during his term as Director of NIMA / NGA, as he had retired from active duty as the director of DIA in 1995. Clapper was the first civilian to head NIMA / NGA.
On 22 February 2010, Secretary of Defense
United States Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

 Robert Gates
Robert Gates
Dr. Robert Michael Gates is a retired civil servant and university president who served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. Prior to this, Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W....

 announced that Letitia Long
Letitia Long
Letitia A. Long is the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.Prior to taking over as NGA director on August 9, 2010, Long served as the Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from May 2006 until July 2010. Previously, she was the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for...

 would become director later that year, becoming the first woman to head one of the 16 Intelligence Community component agencies. Long was at the time deputy director of the DIA. Long was sworn in on 9 August 2010 as head of the NGA.

Activities

  • 9/11 aftermath: After the September 11, 2001 attacks
    September 11, 2001 attacks
    The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

    , NIMA partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey to survey the World Trade Center site
    World Trade Center site
    The World Trade Center site , also known as "Ground Zero" after the September 11 attacks, sits on in Lower Manhattan in New York City...

     and determine the extent of the destruction.
  • Olympic support: In 2002 NIMA partnered with Federal organizations to provide geospatial assistance to the 2002 Winter Olympics
    2002 Winter Olympics
    The 2002 Winter Olympics, officially the XIX Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event that was celebrated in February 2002 in and around Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. Approximately 2,400 athletes from 77 nations participated in 78 events in fifteen disciplines, held throughout...

     in Utah
    Utah
    Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

    . NGA also helped support the 2004 Summer Olympics
    2004 Summer Olympics
    The 2004 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad, was a premier international multi-sport event held in Athens, Greece from August 13 to August 29, 2004 with the motto Welcome Home. 10,625 athletes competed, some 600 more than expected, accompanied by 5,501 team...

     in Athens, Greece, and the 2006 Winter Olympics
    2006 Winter Olympics
    The 2006 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XX Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated in Turin, Italy from February 10, 2006, through February 26, 2006. This marked the second time Italy hosted the Olympic Winter Games, the first being the VII Olympic Winter...

     in Turin, Italy.
  • Space Shuttle Columbia disaster: While the Space Shuttle Columbia
    Space Shuttle Columbia
    Space Shuttle Columbia was the first spaceworthy Space Shuttle in NASA's orbital fleet. First launched on the STS-1 mission, the first of the Space Shuttle program, it completed 27 missions before being destroyed during re-entry on February 1, 2003 near the end of its 28th, STS-107. All seven crew...

     was in orbit during STS-107
    STS-107
    -Mission parameters:*Mass:**Orbiter Liftoff: **Orbiter Landing: **Payload: *Perigee: *Apogee: *Inclination: 39.0°*Period: 90.1 min- Insignia :...

    , NIMA purportedly offered to image the shuttle and its suspected damage from falling debris during takeoff. NASA
    NASA
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

     declined this offer (see Space Shuttle Columbia disaster
    Space Shuttle Columbia disaster
    The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster occurred on February 1, 2003, when shortly before it was scheduled to conclude its 28th mission, STS-107, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas and Louisiana during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, resulting in the death of all seven crew members...

    ), but has since forged an interagency agreement with NGA to collect imagery for all future space shuttle
    Space Shuttle program
    NASA's Space Shuttle program, officially called Space Transportation System , was the United States government's manned launch vehicle program from 1981 to 2011...

     flights.
  • Hurricane Katrina: The NGA supported Hurricane Katrina
    Hurricane Katrina
    Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

     relief efforts by "providing geospatial information about the affected areas based on imagery from commercial and U.S. government satellites, and from airborne platforms, to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
    Federal Emergency Management Agency
    The Federal Emergency Management Agency is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, initially created by Presidential Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1978 and implemented by two Executive Orders...

     and other government agencies. NGA's Earth website is a central source of these efforts.
  • Microsoft partnership: Microsoft Corp.
    Microsoft
    Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

     and the NGA have signed a letter of understanding
    Letter of understanding
    A Letter of Understanding or LOU is a formal text that sums up the terms and understanding of a contract which mostly has been negotiated up to this point only in spoken form...

     to advance the design and delivery of geospatial information applications to customers. NGA will continue to use the Microsoft Virtual Earth
    Virtual earth
    Virtual earth may refer to:* Virtual ground - the node of an electrical circuit that is maintained at a steady reference potential, without being connected directly to the reference potential....

     platform (as it did for Katrina relief) to provide geospatial support for humanitarian, peacekeeping and national-security efforts. The Virtual Earth platform is a set of online mapping and search services that deliver imagery through an API
    Application programming interface
    An application programming interface is a source code based specification intended to be used as an interface by software components to communicate with each other...

    .
  • Social Software Training: Several agencies in the Intelligence community, most notably CIA and NGA, have developed training programs to provide time to integrate social software tools into analysts' daily work habits. These classes generally focus on the use of Intellipedia
    Intellipedia
    Intellipedia is an online system for collaborative data sharing used by the United States Intelligence Community . It was established as a pilot project in late 2005 and formally announced in April 2006 and consists of three wikis running on JWICS, SIPRNet, and Intelink-U...

     to capture and manage knowledge, but they also use other social software tools, such as blog
    Blog
    A blog is a type of website or part of a website supposed to be updated with new content from time to time. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in...

    s, RSS
    RSS
    -Mathematics:* Root-sum-square, the square root of the sum of the squares of the elements of a data set* Residual sum of squares in statistics-Technology:* RSS , "Really Simple Syndication" or "Rich Site Summary", a family of web feed formats...

    , and social bookmarking. The courses stress immersion in the tools and instructors encourage participants to work on a specific project in Intellipedia. The courses expose participants to social media technologies on the Internet.

Controversies


NIMA / NGA has been involved in some controversies:
  • India tested a nuclear weapon in 1998
    Pokhran-II
    Pokharan-II refers to test explosions of five nuclear devices, three on 11 May and two on 13 May 1998, conducted by India at the Pokhran test range. These nuclear tests resulted in a variety of sanctions against India by a number of major states....

     that reportedly took the United States by surprise. Due to budget cuts in defense spending after the end of the Cold War (see Peace dividend
    Peace dividend
    The peace dividend is a political slogan popularized by US President George H.W. Bush and UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the early 1990s, purporting to describe the economic benefit of a decrease in defense spending. It is used primarily in discussions relating to the guns versus butter...

    ), the Intelligence Community was forced to reevaluate the allocation of its limited resources.

  • In 1999 NIMA supposedly provided NATO war-planners with incorrect maps which did not reflect that the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade
    Belgrade
    Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

     had moved locations, which some have argued was the cause of the accidental NATO Bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade
    NATO Bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade
    On May 7, 1999, during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia , five US JDAM bombs hit the People's Republic of China embassy in the Belgrade district of New Belgrade, killing three Chinese reporters and outraging the Chinese public. President Bill Clinton later apologized for the bombing, stating it was...

    . CIA countered this criticism by saying this overstates the importance of the map itself in the analytic process. Maps of urban areas will be out of date the day after they are published but what is important is having accurate databases.

See also


  • Cartography
    Cartography
    Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.The fundamental problems of traditional cartography are to:*Set the map's...

  • Geographic Information System
    Geographic Information System
    A geographic information system, geographical information science, or geospatial information studies is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographically referenced data...

     (GIS)
  • GEOnet Names Server
    GEOnet Names Server
    The GEOnet Names Server provides access to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names' database of geographic feature names and locations for locations outside the United States. The database is the official repository of foreign place-name decisions...

  • Geospatial engineering
    Geospatial engineering
    Geospatial Engineering, is a broad field that crosses multiple specialties that focuses on multiple dimensional mapping and organizing. Also known as Geospatial Information and Services , and formerly called Mapping Charting and Geodesy remains a core mission of the Army Engineer branch and...

  • Geospatial Information Officer
    Geospatial Information Officer
    Geospatial information officer is the head of geospatial information technology within a civilian, business, government and/or military organizations....

  • GIS use in the NGA
  • Imagery Intelligence
  • Orthophoto
    Orthophoto
    An orthophoto, orthophotograph or orthoimage is an aerial photograph geometrically corrected such that the scale is uniform: the photo has the same lack of distortion as a map...

  • Remote sensing
    Remote sensing
    Remote sensing is the acquisition of information about an object or phenomenon, without making physical contact with the object. In modern usage, the term generally refers to the use of aerial sensor technologies to detect and classify objects on Earth by means of propagated signals Remote sensing...

  • Satellite imagery
    Satellite imagery
    Satellite imagery consists of photographs of Earth or other planets made by means of artificial satellites.- History :The first images from space were taken on sub-orbital flights. The U.S-launched V-2 flight on October 24, 1946 took one image every 1.5 seconds...


External links