Harnessing Commercially Available Geospatial Imagery for Defense Analysis

DARPA’s new Geospatial Cloud Analytics (GCA) program seeks to enable instant access to the most up-to-date images anywhere in the world.

DARPA’s new Geospatial Cloud Analytics (GCA) program seeks to enable instant access to the most up-to-date images anywhere in the world.

February 26, 2018 | Source: DARPA, darpa.mil, 11 October 2017, DARPA Outreach

DARPA seeks to create scalable cloud-based repository of global satellite data accessible via common interfaces, and pilot development of analytics-as-a-service for DoD users.


The rapid pace of new commercial satellite constellation launches has led to a significant increase in the amount and availability of geospatial imagery. Unfortunately, no straightforward way currently exists for analysts to access and analyze all of that imagery. The current ad hoc, time-intensive approach requires gathering and curating data from a large number of available sources, downloading it to specific locations, and running it through separate suites of analytics tools.

To help overcome these challenges, DARPA’s new Geospatial Cloud Analytics (GCA) program seeks to enable instant access to the most up-to-date images anywhere in the world, as well as cutting-edge tools to analyze them. It would achieve this capability by virtually aggregating vast amounts of commercial and open-source satellite data that is available in multiple modes—optical, synthetic aperture radar (SAR), and radio frequency (RF)—in a common cloud-based repository with automated curation tools. The platform and tools would provide DoD geospatial analysts global situational awareness, event detection, monitoring, and tracking capabilities beneficial to U.S. forces around the world.

“The goal of GCA is to provide a secure cloud-based platform that automatically curates multi-source global data and metadata, allowing analysts to focus their attention and expertise on analysis—not data collection, aggregation, and curation,” said Joe Evans, program manager in DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office (STO).


More information on the DARPA Strategic Technology Office (STO) can be found at:
https://www.darpa.mil/about-us/offices/sto.

More information on DARPA's Geospatial Cloud Analytics (GCA) program can be found at:
https://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2017-10-11.

Details for the GCA BAA effort and schedule can be found on Fed Biz Ops (FBO) at:
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=51d6bbbdf25f51bcd4bd7019c29e2c71&_cview=0.

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