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Thoughts from GEOINT 2022

I was lucky enough to be part of a team representing Geollect at the GEOINT Symposium in Denver earlier this month. This was a fantastic opportunity for me personally to show off my skills to a massive audience, get a better feel for the industry and meet some of the industry leaders. It was also a great opportunity for Geollect to showcase some of the fantastic developments that we have been adding to our situational awareness platform, notably, the addition of ADS-B data to allow users to monitor aircraft.

I made several observations at the conference which I wanted to share. There are a lot of companies selling AI solutions to the geospatial sector. The problem is that AI is a tool and very few companies do a good job of explaining the benefits to the end-user. Furthermore, many companies on both the software and satellite sides of geospatial are selling what they do and not how what they do benefits the customer. At the end of the day, data is only as good as the insight it provides and if it is not clear where your data comes from, its flaws, or how you are using it in your solutions, customers will be wary. Gone are the days when just saying “machine learning” guaranteed a sale to wide-eyed baby boomers.

While I am obviously biased, Geollect did stand out here in the sense that we put the customer at the heart of our products and build tools that people need and can understand. We do not build black boxes. Another thing that struck me was that it was apparent that most of the revenue in this sector is still coming from the government. There were loads of interest in the commercial applications of geospatial, but that interest is sadly still peanuts compared to government contracts. With that said, it was also apparent that Russia and Ukraine are now dominating the imagery market and have thrust imagery into the public eye. This mainstream attention will likely bring more investment and customers to the sector.

Finally, one thing that struck me was how Incredibly diverse the conference was, certainly more so that any academic conference I ever attended during my time in academia. In summary, GEOINT was a fantastic experience and it certainly highlighted that while there is a lot still to do, the geospatial sector is here to stay.

Dr Adam Symington – Head of Data Science