On Oct. 17, a group of 11 undergraduate and graduate students from the Department of Geographical Sciences spent the day at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).

During the visit, they learned about the organization's mission and its role in national security, and had the opportunity to engage with analysts to gain insights into their day-to-day activities.

Organized and led by Jonathon Hathaway, a lecturer in the MS GEOINT program, the group was allowed access to the NGA’s Springfield, Virginia headquarters building for an inside perspective on the inner workings of Agency operations.  

The day began with a detailed briefing of the history of GEOINT and how it has supported U.S. national security from its rudimentary origins in the nation’s early history to the highly technical and complex environment of today, where a variety of sensors and data sources have to be integrated, many in near real-time, to aid in informing the country’s top decision-makers. 

A geodetic orbit scientist from NGA’s Geomatics Office delivered an interactive briefing on NGA’s efforts at improving precision imagery, ground truth measurements, digital elevation modeling, updates on improvements to be delivered for the World Geodetic System1984 data, and an in-depth discussion on the Agency’s Common Reference Frame and work being done on the World Magnetic Model.  

Additional time was spent in a Q&A session, with several questions covering NGA’s effort on lunar mapping and a better understanding of the gravity model for the moon. The day ended with Agency recruiting officers discussing a wide variety of opportunities for students, which include internships, fellowships, and how to become a cadre employee once graduating.

Image courtesy of Jonathon Hathaway

Group of photo of NGA visit