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national geospatial intelligence agency

Spy Agency’s Challenge: How To Sort A Million Photos A Day. March 12, 2020, 11:00 AM ET, Heard on All Things Considered
“When the U.S. government took its first satellite photos in 1960, it wasn’t easy getting those pictures back to Earth. After the satellite took the pictures, the film was dropped from space in a capsule attached to a parachute. A military plane with a large hook flew by to collect the capsule in midair over the Pacific Ocean. ‘”They called the pilots who flew these missions ‘star catchers,’ because they were catching what looked like stars falling from the sky,” said Katie Donegan, with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or NGA.’

“Intelligence based upon the Earth’s physical and man-made attributes-and the art and science of interpreting that information-began to change well before the tragedy of September 11, 2001. By combining America’s most advanced imagery and geospatial assets within the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) in 1996, our nation created a much-needed critical mass of skills and technologies under a single mission umbrella. As a result, the intelligence community was able to take its geospatial products to a new level. With the creation of NGA in 2003, this area of intelligence took another leap forward, allowing us to integrate multiple sources of information, intelligence and tradecrafts to produce an innovative and sophisticated new discipline that then NGA director James Clapper formally christened as geospatial intelligence, or GEOINT.” https://www.nga.mil/About/History/Pages/default.aspx

A librarian reported to GPO that the agency has issued some planning documents not in the Federal Depository Library Program. Also under the History section, the agency provides historical photos, e.g. the Cuban Missile Crisis, for important historical times. https://www.nga.mil/About/History/CubanMissileCrisis/Pages/default.aspx

co-published on govdoc-l and freegovinfo.info.

Geodesy for the layman (or woman) from NGA

NGA’s document “Geodesy for the layman”

What is geodesy? Who needs it and why?

These are some of the questions asked by many people. Actually, geodesy is nothing new having been around for centuries. Webster defines geodesy as “that branch of applied mathematics which determines by observation and measurement the exact positions of points and the figures and areas of large portions of the earth’s surface, the shape and size of the earth, and the variations of terrestrial gravity.” It is a specialized application of several familiar facets of basic mathematical and physical concepts. In practice, geodesy uses the principles of mathematics, astronomy and physics, and applies them within the capabilities of modern engineering and technology. A thorough study of the science of geodesy is not a simple undertaking. However, it is possible to gain an understanding of the historical development, a general knowledge of the methods and techniques of the science, and the way geodesy is being used to solve some Department of Defense (DoD) problems.

Visit here for the full NGA document “Geodesy for the layman”

NGA GEOnet Names Server (GNS)

The NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) Geographic Names Server is the official repository of standard spellings of all foreign place names, sanctioned by the United States Board on Geographic Names. The database also contains variant spellings (cross references) which are useful for searching purposes.

All the geographic features in the database contain information about location, administrative division, and quality. The database can be used for a variety of purposes, including establishing official spellings of foreign place names, cartography, GIS, GEOINT and finding places.

The database serves as an online gazetteer and is also helpful for genealogists.