The past week I spent as an extern at the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation, USGIF. At Gettysburg College I have been concentrating in GIS, but never knew exactly what I could do with these skills. While at USGIF I was introduced to a whole community, geospatial intelligence. This community has a huge expanse, touching many different fields. At USGIF we visited the National Geospatial-intelligence Agency and the Army Geospatial Center, who uses GEOINT for military and humanitarian work, as well as caring for the inner water ways in the U.S. I was introduced to the role Google plays in the field, as well as the Department of State. Lastly, we met with Pixia and Leidos to learn how these two companies use GEOINT. Pixia provided a program to analyze geospatial data, and provides this program to other companies/ agencies. Leidos makes innovations in national security, health, and engineering. From meeting all of these different companies and agencies that take part in GEOINT I learned how geospatial intelligence is used to analyze humans and the world around them. I also realized how interconnected the public and private sectors are. From dealing with national security, to the GPS you use in your phone. Some groups collect the data, others analyze it, and others create ways to share it. Everyone plays a different, but connected role in the community.
After this amazing week, I have realized just how many directions I have to choose from with my degree. I’ve been given insight into the steps I should take over the next year on how to become a member of this community, by learning everything I can, making myself stand out, using my new connections, and finding any way into the community that I can. This externship far exceeded my expectations. I couldn’t be more appreciative to everyone at USGIF who helped to make this week as amazing as it was, especially our hosts Max Baber and Keith Masback. I gained so much knowledge that will help me in the future, and have finally made plans for what direction I want to take in the future.