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Global Interoperability Consortium's Cloud Computing Project Detailed at NATO Conference

Eric Vollmecke of the Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium reports the proliferation of geospatial information will pose problems for disaster responders and describes a project designed to move critical data more efficiently using an open cloud

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Managing and disseminating the rapidly increasing amount of geospatial data will be a huge challenge for governments and civilians responding to the world's next big disaster, Eric Vollmecke of the Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium (NCOIC) told 350 global leaders at the NATO Network Enabled Capability conference held in Lisbon, Portugal, April 23-25.

"From an operational perspective, there is an insatiable appetite for overhead imagery to build situational awareness. Currently, platforms keep growing to collect and disseminate the necessary information. This information is not timely in its response, it's unwieldy in its deployment and it lacks the flexibility to enable cross-domain interoperability," said Vollmecke. "Unless we get our arms around all of this, the amount of data will be overwhelming and we will miss precious days trying to get the right information to the right international stakeholders so they can do their work and not sit waiting on the sidelines."

Vollmecke said the use of a cloud computing environment will improve the ability to quickly share critical information between nations and non-governmental organizations. He described the Cloud Concept and Demonstration project that NCOIC is working on for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).

The NGA project is a collaborative effort by NCOIC and its member-companies to show the interoperability and movement of data in an open cloud-based infrastructure. NGA is providing unclassified data that supports a scenario depicting the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The project builds on a series of successful lab interoperability demonstrations based on Haiti that NCOIC conducted in 2010.

"In Haiti, we collected a huge amount of data compared to the Tasmanian tsunami of 2004. Tomorrow the amount of data could be 100 fold and one organization alone will not be able to manage the inputs," said Vollmecke, who is also a major general in the U.S. Air National Guard and, while on active duty, commanded two airlift wings during the 2010 Haitian crisis. "With the NGA community cloud project, NCOIC is testing a collaborative, real-time environment that has both suppliers and consumers of data at different security levels."

Information technology solutions provider NJVC is serving as team leader of the NGA project and participants include Boeing, The Aerospace Corporation and Open Geospatial Consortium. "NCOIC has assembled a team you would not normally see on a government-led project," Vollmecke told the NATO audience. "Using a consortium is the most rapid and effective way to facilitate the advancement and deployment of technology. The parties can set aside their traditional roles and aren't subject to the contractual and legal walls that typically are put up between government and contractors. The exchange of information and ideas is more free-flowing."

Vollmecke, who is NCOIC program director, reported that Cycle One of the NGA project is complete and the cloud infrastructure has been defined and built, with the team establishing standards and processes, utilizing best practices, and addressing potential problems such as ownership, bandwidth, latency, availability, access and security.

In Cycle Two, set to begin in May, NCOIC member-companies will test out the infrastructure. They will function as "actors" – information consumers and providers like police, firefighters, rescue workers, medical personnel, etc. – who plug into the clouds and use the geospatial data to activate unique, sometimes proprietary, applications that demonstrate end-user capabilities.

"The key is to have a core or resident capability in the cloud that can be rapidly expanded on demand, when there is an event or disaster," said Vollmecke. "This will free up intelligence analysts to work their problems, while putting geospatial information into the hands of other users. Cloud technology can improve everyone's capability and effectiveness, while reducing cost, time and risk."

About NCOIC

The Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium's core capability is enabling cross-domain interoperability among and between such areas as aerospace, civil and military operations, air traffic management, health care and more. NCOIC is a global not-for-profit organization with more than 60 members representing 12 countries. It has an eight-year history of developing net-centric skills and tools that help its members and customers to operate effectively across diverse global market sectors and domains. For more information, visit www.ncoic.org

SOURCE Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium

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