NIMA taps 15 firms for mapping

The National Imagery and Mapping Agency last week awarded contracts to 15 vendors under a $500 million program to create detailed maps and charts based on digital data gathered by satellite and aircraft, potentially paving the way for a greater reliance on commercial mapmaking services. The fivey

The National Imagery and Mapping Agency last week awarded contracts to 15 vendors under a $500 million program to create detailed maps and charts based on digital data gathered by satellite and aircraft, potentially paving the way for a greater reliance on commercial map-making services.

The five-year Omnibus Geospatial Information and Imagery Intelligence project replaces dozens of ordering agreements that NIMA had used to buy similar mapping services.

But with the recent boom in the commercial map-making, imagery and satellite field, industry observers say the centralized omnibus contract should offer companies a greater opportunity to win business from NIMA, which historically has kept much of its mapping and imagery functions in-house.

"I'm hopeful that this experiment will demonstrate to a lot of folks - both inside the government and outside - that there is a qualified private sector to provide quality geographic information services," said John Palatiello, executive director of Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS), Reston, Va., a national association of private-sector firms in the surveying, spatial data and geographic information systems field.

NIMA officials declined to comment on the awards.

According to the solicitation, NIMA made the omnibus awards based on a qualifications-based selection (QBS) process, in which the pool of vendors was first narrowed based on qualifications to perform certain tasks. Final winners were chosen from the resulting pool. No contract winner, however, has been guaranteed more than $3,000 in business, according to NIMA documents.

Industry had been pressing for the QBS approach for years, arguing that the agency's lowest-bid approach to awarding map or imagery work was unfair. "Unfortunately, they had some very unfortunate experience with that [approach], where they got exactly what they paid for," Palatiello said.

For EarthData International LLC, which has about 150 employees, the NIMA contract represents a significant win, company executives said. "This is big time for EarthData," said George Hoffman, a director of operations at the company. Within the next year or two, the omnibus contract "could be one-third of our business," he said.

"We look at it as a significant opportunity for us," said Penman "Red" Gilliam, executive vice president at Intergraph Corp. Existing ordering agreements with NIMA "haven't produced a real steady flow of work.... This is going to be, I think, a better arrangement."

Observers say the omnibus contract gives the agency a central, agencywide contracting vehicle that it can use to buy those services, rather than the scattered, more narrowly focused deals now in place. It also coincides with a heightened interest by NIMA officials in commercially available services. "I will give credit to the new regime at NIMA [for having] a new enlightened thinking," Palatiello said. "They have realized that in-house production is not the best solution."

According to industry observers, the new NIMA contract may help jump-start a new commercial imagery segment based on "1-meter" imagery, a resolution in which the naked eye is able to distinguish objects that are 1 meter or larger in size.

National satellites already are capable of producing imagery with even better resolution, according to industry sources. But industry observers say 1-meter imagery will be popular in government and business because it offers imagery detailed enough to plan military missions or real estate projects but not so detailed as to be cumbersome to use.

Omnibus winner Space Imaging plans to launch a 1-meter-resolution satellite by June, meaning its 1-meter imagery products would be available to NIMA and its customers - military mission planners and policy-makers.

"It's basically going to take something like this [contract] to jump-start that [1-meter] market segment," said John Pike, director of the Space Policy Project at the Federation of American Scientists.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.