GDE lands library-images pact from AF

The Air Force last month chose GDE Systems Inc. to maintain and upgrade a huge library of satellite images used by the Defense and intelligence communities to plan missions.

The Image Product Library is part of the massive U.S. Imagery System which the National Imagery and Mapping Agency is creating out of numerous computer systems that hold aerial images. Those systems are scattered nationwide and frequently are not compatible. Once completed the imagery system will be a seamless network that planners of military intelligence and humanitarian missions can use to obtain quick access to images that will provide detailed information about ground conditions.

For the IPL GDE Systems San Diego will upgrade the software that operates the library integrate hardware provide help-desk services to library users and provide other technical support. The pact's value over five years is expected to top $27 million GDE Systems said.

The contract is a recompete of a line item in a contract held by GTE Federal Systems/Contel Corp. for a computer-aided technical information system. GTE along with Lockheed Martin Corp. Harris Corp. TRW Inc. and Litton/PRC Inc. had bid on the contract a source familiar with the library project said.

Officials at the Air Force declined to discuss the pact until the service had officially announced the award.The IPL as part of the U.S. Imagery System also will serve as a foundation for developing detailed computer-generated maps that policy-makers and military leaders will use to analyze and plan operations. The electronic maps that are developed using imagery may include features such as weather terrain elevation vegetation and population groups.

"Having a modern and up-to-date image library will make that all the more possible " said Louis Hecht head of business development for the Open GIS Consortium Inc. an organization that works with agencies and that seeks greater interoperability among applications for processing geospatial information.

GDE has worked on projects for the Army the Navy the Air Force the Defense Mapping Agency (NIMA's predecessor) and national intelligence agencies. The contract "further solidifies GDE Systems as a key NIMA contractor " a GDE Systems spokesman said.

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