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DARPA’s GCA program: Momentum continues with Textron Systems team

“When we have all data online it will be great for humanity. It is a prerequisite to solving many problems that humankind faces.” – Robert Cailliau, Belgian informatics engineer and computer scientist who, together with Tim Berners-Lee, developed the World Wide Web.

Robert Cailliau was right about the availability of data being a prerequisite to solving many of our problems – but it’s not enough to have the data available. You must be able to process and analyze the data to gain its true value. The more data, the bigger the challenge.

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) identified this very issue with the increasing amount and availability of geospatial data like satellite imagery:

“Unfortunately, no straightforward way currently exists for analysts to access and analyze all of that imagery. The current ad hoc, time-intensive approach requires gathering and curating data from a large number of available sources, downloading it to specific locations, and running it through separate suites of analytics tools.

To help overcome these challenges, DARPA’s new Geospatial Cloud Analytics (GCA) program seeks to enable instant access to the most up-to-date images anywhere in the world, as well as cutting-edge tools to analyze them.”

As a result, DARPA has awarded approximately $29 million to 13 companies to come together in solving this technical challenge and deliver analyzed data in response to specific problems.

One problem the GCA program addresses is ad-hoc analysis of crop growing conditions for food supply assessment in order to evaluate risk of crisis in countries where hunger might lead to political instability. This problem is one which Geosys is uniquely qualified to help solve.

At the foundation of all of our applications is a system built to efficiently process satellite and weather data with the highest standards for scientific accuracy for monitoring and benchmarking crops growing conditions (read about it here, here or here). That is why we were proud to team with Textron Systems on the contract awarded by DARPA this past September to help create a singular Answer-as-as-Service platform for processing global geospatial data in order to monitor food supply and assess related risks.

The program awardees are now in Phase 2 of the program which includes development, delivery of the prototypes and defining business models for the GCA Marketplace. Some of the companies involved are focused on data supply while others – such as Textron Systems/Geosys – are focused on analytics and answer delivery.

“Geosys brings capability that is a perfect complement to our proven track record in geospatial technology,” says Senior Vice President Daryl Madden of Textron Systems. “Its experience and record of success in monitoring agriculture is unsurpassed, and together we are able to offer a highly differentiated solution for our customer.”

Geosys brings its 30+ years of expertise in processing geospatial data for agriculture and we’re utilizing our existing algorithms and processing components to support this work. Through this project, we are leveraging multi-cloud and big data technologies to process at scale more satellite data than ever for the GCA program. Once we’ve processed the data, it goes into Textron Systems’ platform – which is capable of aggregating other data analytics from the project.

As always with DARPA programs, technology is at the cutting edge, and at the core of the “Answers engine,” is our Agriquest® service, which is already available to customers looking for an unbiased and timely view of crop performance everywhere they have operations.

Textron Systems’ innovative SeeGEO platform unifies the Geosys Agriquest service to multiple commercial data providers.  The SeeGEO platform’s intuitive user interface can host Agriquest and deploy its analytics-based streaming answers to user-friendly, impactful dashboards.


SeeGEO is a trademark of Overwatch Systems Ltd.

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