The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) seeks to make use of commercially available geospatial imagery for defence analysis.
DARPA will create a scalable cloud-based repository of global satellite data that can be accessed via common interfaces, as part of its new Geospatial Cloud Analytics (GCA) programme.
The programme also involves pilot development of analytics-as-a-service for the Department of Defense users.
DARPA Strategic Technology Office (STO) programme manager Joe Evans said: “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.
“The vision is for commercial analytics providers to use the common data platform to develop and offer their services in an analytics marketplace.
“This marketplace framework would allow the DoD to more cost-effectively leverage constantly refreshed, robust commercial analytics services.”
The increase in new commercial satellite constellation launches is driving the amount and availability of geospatial imagery.
There is currently no straightforward way for analysts to access and analyse all of that imagery.
The existing 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, DARPA stated.
In order to overcome the above-mentioned challenges, GCA programme is aimed at facilitating instant access to the most up-to-date images anywhere in the world, as well as tools to analyse them.
This capability will be achieved by virtually aggregating vast amounts of commercial and open-source satellite data that is available in multiple modes such as optical, synthetic aperture radar (SAR), and radio frequency (RF) in a common cloud-based repository with automated curation tools.