Several Bad Guys readers sent us links to the Global Incident Map, a cool computer mapping project that blends news stories, Google Maps imagery, and other data into a compelling look at terrorist and suspicious acts worldwide. Morgan Clements, its creator, told our pals at the Danger Room that since posting his work late last year, he's been approached "by all manner of law enforcement, military, intel, government, fed contractors, and private sector organizations."
That shouldn't come as a surprise. The intelligence community has been into this stuff for a long time, trying various tech tools to maximize its collective "take." The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (which handles the community's satellite imagery and mapping) and the National Security Agency (which handles its electronic eavesdropping) have long had joint teams trying to fuse "signals" intelligence, or SIGINT, with imagery and other "geospatial" intelligence, or GEOINT. The agencies call it "horizontal integration"using NGA's "eyes" and NSA's "ears."
Elaborate projects exist, some of them broadcast on huge computer screens, in which links to the NSA's electronic intercepts are plotted on detailed digital maps from the NGA. "That's one of our bread-and-butter kinds of products," says the NGA's veteran spokesman, Dave Burpee. "As the NSA gets SIGINT, when they have some idea where that is on the Earth, we're able to very quickly pull up a map and plot where these various things are occurring. You can even plot the time of day. You can get a very good picture of what's happening."
No one offered us a look at the classified stuff, but the NGA did send along some of its handiwork from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, during which the agency offered unprecedented help to domestic U.S. officials. On many of its products, the links were live, allowing emergency workers a chance to zero in on where their energies were needed most. Look forward to more stuff like thisboth inside the intel community and for the rest of us.
|National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency|