The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is looking for an out-of-the-box solution for analyzing satellite imagery with its Request for Proposal entitled “Novel Methods of Interacting with Overhead Imagery for Broad-Area Search.”
The stated objective of NGA11-002 is
“Design, develop and implement novel methods for interacting with imagery and image exploitation software that are not limited to standard input devices (i.e., mouse and keyboard), and use of more of the body than just the hands.”
Apparently the NGA is looking for ways for its analysts to view satellite imagery that involves more than just sitting at a desk, staring at a computer screen, and moving the mouse. Moving from hardcopy to softcopy imagery has resulted in a sharp reduction in the physical activity of NGA analysts who no longer have to get up and pull out mylars from cabinets, tape them together to create larger geographic views, and physically turn to orient themselves to the image. Sensing that part of the critical process has been lost by this reduction in activity, the NGA is looking for proposals that would bring more physical activity back to its analysts:
The transition from hardcopy film to softcopy image exploitation resulted in fundamental changes to the ways analysts interacted with data. One potentially significant change was a large reduction in the degree of bodily involvement in the image analysis process. When overhead imagery was stored on hardcopy film analysts laid the film on light tables, or held it up to the light to view the imagery. To look at an area in greater detail, an analyst would tape the film together for context, and physically move a zooming scope into position. Analysts could then physically move the hardcopy film around on the table under the scope to scan through an image in detail. Now analysts exploit softcopy imagery using virtual electronic light tables (ELTs) such as Remote View, ERDAS, FalconView, Vitec ELT, and more. Instead of physically positioning their body and the hardcopy film while performing different aspects of the image exploitation task, analysts now sit in chairs, looking at immobile screens and moving just their hands to manipulate the image appearance.