NIMA working on standards center

The National Imagery and Mapping Agency is still working to establish the National Center for Geospatial Intelligence Standards (NCGIS), but the center's scheduled launch likely will be this spring rather than early this year, which was the original goal.

The NCGIS will address standards and interoperability issues related to technologies, data architecture and software used by the private sector and the defense, intelligence and homeland security communities. It will oversee NIMA's evolution toward an enterprisewide standards management policy for the National System for Geospatial Intelligence.

The center will help ensure a standards-based approach, which is essential for interoperability. Center officials hope to boost interoperability:

* Among traditional military service and command users of geospatial intelligence.

* For operational plans that include international partners, as well as the agency's domestic counterparts.

* Across the geospatial intelligence enterprise, which includes imagery, imagery intelligence and geospatial information produced by NIMA, as well as in collaboration with other nations and the private sector.

* Throughout the numerous components of tools, equipment, training and people that form the national system.

Speaking Jan. 29 at AFCEA International's NIMA Industry Day in Washington, D.C., Karen Irby, NCGIS chief, said the agency has formed a "tiger team" responsible for establishing the center's corporate strategy.

The team is being separated into three working groups focused on internal and external relationships, a road map (corporate strategy) for the future and return on investment.

The team had an internal meeting in November 2002 and will hold a kick-off meeting with its external stakeholders next month, Irby said, adding that the team must make its final recommendations to NIMA's leadership by May 30. Teri Dempsey, NIMA's chief geospatial intelligence standards officer and chief enterprise architect, is chairwoman of the team.

Dempsey said the National Security Agency, as well as other government and industry partners, had been invited to participate in the new team.

During an interview in September 2002, Dempsey said the new center should be operational by early 2003. At that time, she did say that an integrated team made up of NIMA's internal and external customers would run through early spring to further refine customer input into how the center should operate.

The NCGIS is now scheduled to launch in late March or early April, according to a NIMA spokeswoman.

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