Report from GEOINT: The Search for Malaysia Flight 370

April 15, 2014  - By
Image: GPS World

Day One Coverage

Today I attended the “GEOINT Forward” which is a pre-conference day consisting of over a dozen loosely related sessions. If there was a common theme it would have to be the increasing evolution of the GEOINT community toward Human Geography, Social Media, Big Data, Small Satellites and Chaos Management.

A most interesting keynote speaker was Dave Snowden (no relation to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden) founder and chief scientific officer of Cognitive Edge working to analyze complex issues relating to strategy and organizational  decision making.  He pioneered a science based analysis of organizations drawing on anthropology, neuroscience and complex adaptive systems theory.  The key analysis tool they created  is SensesMaker, a survey tool that extracts and organizes how respondents make sense of the world through micro-narratives in social settings.  Using a patented method the respondent interprets their own story into a series of abstract constructs that feel more like a game than a survey, but allows profound meaning to emerge. This interpretation adds layers of meaning rather than simply interpreting the story and provides quantitative data which can always be linked back to the original material.

There were several sessions related to Chaos Management of disasters both natural and man-made. Dr. Shay Har-Noy of Digital Globe demonstrated TomNod ( which is a crowd sourcing effort of Digital Globe in which the public has access to thousands of images so that millions of eyes could help scour the imagery looking for signs of the missing aircraft. Once potential sites were indentified, experts could then focus their attention on the sites.  Here is a short video clip of some examples.  (Excuse the quality of the video, the room was dark, sound system poor and the built-in microphone less than ideal)

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About the Author: Art Kalinski

A career Naval Officer, Art Kalinski established the Navy’s first geographic information system (GIS) in the mid-1980s. Completing a post-graduate degree in GIS at the University of North Carolina, he was the Atlanta Regional Commission GIS Manager from 1993 to 2007. He pioneered the use of oblique imagery for public safety and participated in numerous disaster-response actions including GIS/imagery support of the National Guard during Hurricane Katrina; the Urban Area Security Initiative; a NIMS-based field exercise in Atlanta; and a fully manned hardware-equipped joint disaster response exercise in New York City. Kalinski retired early from ARC to join Pictometry International to direct military projects using oblique imagery, which led to him joining SPGlobal Inc. He has written articles for numerous geospatial publications, and authors a monthly column for the GeoIntelligence Insider e-newsletter aimed at federal GIS users.

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