Navy Vice Adm. Robert Sharp, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, appeared Monday at the GEOINT Symposium to discuss the four strategic goals – people, partnerships, mission today and mission tomorrow – of NGA’s Strategy 2025. Sharp talked about NGA’s efforts to recruit, develop and retain talent as well as its focus on inclusion and diversity.
Sharp said the agency is onboarding 300 employees this year. He noted that the agency is advancing data interoperability and international partnerships through several initiatives including the International Program for Human Geography and the TanDEMx High Resolution Elevation Data Exchange program. For the strategy’s Mission Today goal, Sharp discussed the agency’s use of technologies in its Enterprise Engine – Notice to Mariners initiative to speed up data analysis.
“It now uses translation algorithms and optical character recognition to read documents in different formats, and it puts maritime symbols, numbers, and words into a GIS-enabled workspace,” he said. “That means analysts don’t need to scrutinize pages of source data and charts by hand anymore — they have electronic records that are way easier to work with than manually annotated hard copy records.”
To achieve the Mission Tomorrow goal, Sharp asked interested stakeholders to partner with NGA on projects related to artificial intelligence, automation and augmentation. “Our goal is to partner with machines so that we can make best use of the exponential growth in volume and source of data, letting machines do what machines do well and analysts do what analysts to even better — think critically and solve problems,” Sharp added.