Our Approach to Geospatial Interoperability

A common challenge shared by all geospatial communities—those focused on intelligence, sensitive but unclassified, or public geospatial data—is providing decision makers access to the right data and services at the right time in a secure manner.

This challenge is also integral to our mission, and although some of the challenges and technologies differ greatly, we believe that many of the models, best practices, and processes that we use to promote responsible national security information sharing can effectively support interoperability of many kinds of information - including geospatial information.

Our approach to geospatial interoperability involves 3 components:

  1. Policy: Align existing policies across government; not layer in additional policies
  2. Standards: Strengthen existing standards; not create new ones
  3. Architecture Interoperability: Optimize existing investments; not develop new requirements


On the third topic, the office of the PM-ISE, with leadership from our mission partners in the Sensitive But Unclassified Working Group, is advocating for a geospatial interoperable reference architecture (GIRA). GIRA is a framework for developing new geospatial system investments and aligning existing geospatial capabilities that will be developed in coordination with our interagency partners and stakeholders. Architecture is an absolutely critical enabler of information sharing and GIRA holds great potential to accelerate responsible information sharing.

GEOINT Symposium

Next week, I will be at the GEOINT Symposium moderating a panel on this topic. I’ll be joined by Jim Kwolek of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, who will focus on the intelligence community’s efforts to improve geospatial interoperability. Dan Cotter of the Department of Homeland Security will provide updates on work toward interoperability for sensitive but unclassified information. Last but not least, Jerry Johnston, Geospatial Information Officer for the Department of Interior, will share ongoing work with the GeoPlatform and stress interoperability with unclassified and public information.

If you’re attending the conference, please join us on Tuesday afternoon to learn more about geospatial interoperability and GIRA - or join the conversation and comment below.

Michael Howell's picture
Blog Author: Michael Howell, Former ISE Deputy Program Manager and Director, Classified Information Sharing and Safeguarding Office | Oct 04, 2012

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