Empire Challenge 2008 (EC08), an event led by the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), wrapped up a month’s worth of real time interoperability exercises at NAWCWD China Lake involving 1,500 contractors, military, and civilian Department of Defense employees as well as about 250 coalition allies.
In association with the Open Geospatial Consortium, Northrop Grumman Information Technology and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center successfully demonstrated secure execution of workflows and just-in-time custom data production.
“This is the first step towards our cross-domain SensorWeb to be activated during emergencies and major disasters to allow bi-directional data exchange between DOD and Civilian organizations for the purpose of saving lives”, says Dan Mandl, the EO-1 Project Director. The NASA team includes many partners such as Vightel, SGT, University of Maryland, George Mason… It has been involved in standards development and interoperability demonstrations for many years and recently received the prestigious R&D100 award.
The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Pilot initiative served as a focal point for multi-intelligence geospatial and sensor interoperability in EC 08. The OGC is an international standards organization comprised of over 360 companies, universities, and government agencies whose main goal is defining and propagating standards for geospatial information, and 2008 was the first year of participation for the OGC Pilot initiative in Empire Challenge.
As part of its support to the OGC Pilot, Northrop Grumman IT successfully integrated hundreds of disparate sensors from a variety of organizations and vendors using OGC Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) standards including NOAA weather stations, the NASA EO-1 satellite, a variety of Unattended Ground Sensors (UGS) provided through the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Sensor Web program, sensors onboard a TigerShark Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) provided by ERDAS, and a long-range electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) video sensor provided by ArgonST. PULSENetTM successfully shared the NASA and NOAA sensor data with other exercise participants and across security domains, including providing NASA EO-1 National Imagery Transmission Format (NITF) imagery to the NSG-Forward initiative, an NGA prototype system for Defense Common Ground/Surface System (DCGS)/DCGS Integration Backbone (DIB) based processing and exploitation of sensor data. By providing sensor data from NASA and NOAA, PULSENetTM was one of the only systems in EC 08 supplying civilian agency data in support of the DoD/IC community demonstration and helped to pave the way for a cross-domain sensor web that allows for sharing sensor data between civilian and military agencies, a critical capability in humanitarian and disaster relief efforts.
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