A spy Agency the challenge: How to sort A Million photos of the day

A spy Agency the challenge: How to sort A Million photos of the day

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President Barack Obama and his top advisers you will receive an update in the White House Situation Room the mission that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency provided photos of bin in front of the Store ‘ s compound, including the pictures of Secretary of state Hillary Clinton. The White house digitally altered the images prior to the release of this photo.

Pete Souza/AP


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Pete Souza/AP

If the U.S. government has its first satellite photos in the year 1960, it was not easy, getting these pictures back to earth.

After the satellite has the pictures, the film was erased from space in a capsule attached to a parachute. A military plane with a big hook flew through the collection, the capsule in the air over the Pacific ocean.

“they called the pilots flew these missions, a “star Catcher”, because they were catching what fall looked like stars from the sky,” said Katie Donegan, with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or NGA.

she says that all of these efforts could-and-white output, a pair of grainy, black-and-footage from a Soviet military site.

Fast-forward to the year 2011. The NGA has scored a major coup by Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan. The NGA not only took detailed photographs of the time, but there are even “traveled back in time” to previous satellite images. This is the connection of the substructure revealed, before the roof was fitted, and reveals to the doors, the stairs and the rooms inside the house.

The military built a full-size replica of the inside and the outside, so US Navy seals could practice before the actual raid that killed the al-Qaida leader.

A table-top model of am s Charging ‘ compound is on display at the NGA headquarters in Fort Belvoir, Va., directly on a highway South of Washington, DC

The NGA is Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. The Agency took detailed photos and also archiving of images found while the house was under construction and before the roof is added. This allowed to build the military, a life-size replica of the interior and the exterior. Navy Seals were practicing on the model before carrying out the actual raid. This table-top-replica is available on the NGA center.

NGA


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NGA

A new revolution

Today, the NGA is one of the nation’s least well-known spy agencies, through a further revolution to be running. It works closely with private, commercial satellite companies, and this generates space, an endless stream of images from the world.

Dave Gauthier, the Director of the NGA, the shopping and business group, explains the need to adapt as governments and military worldwide to your way of thinking in an environment of constant surveillance.

“We all watched, every second of every day of something. And so we have to learn to, how-to-use in free. And it makes strategic surprise is very difficult for all,” said Gauthier.

After a briefing by Gauthier, NPR was invited to participate in one of the NGA, the most sensitive areas — operations-center — but just look, not record.

dozens of analysts were working. Still, it was dark, and silent as a library. A second-floor sky-box overlooking the cave-like space. All overhead lights are turned off. The darkness eliminates glare for analysts who pore over satellite images on their computers.

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In the case of the NGA operations center ” in Fort Belvoir, Va., Analysts review the incoming satellite images. The government had a monopoly on these images for decades. But now, the NGA-Partner with private satellite companies and receives more than 1 million images per day, shows the entire land mass of the earth, how it changes every 24 hours.

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RTKL/David Whitcomb

The sheer volume of incoming images in these days, is stunning. Gauthier explained how the partnership with private satellite companies, the game has changed.

“Most people have an idea of a satellite school-bus-size instrument,” Gauthier said. “What is amazing today is to see that a satellite takes images of the earth, is the size of a loaf of bread.”

division of Work

This led to a two-pillar approach.

the government has in The possession, these very large satellites for decades. They are few in number, and are concentrated in certain places.

But in recent years, commercial companies have, such as planet of San Francisco, the much smaller satellite. The photos are not as detailed. But they cover most of everything.

For the last three years, planet has done something unprecedented. 150 satellites orbiting around the globe produce more than 1 million images per day. Show the earth all the land mass, as it changes every 24 hours.

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A satellite image of a North Korean rocket launch in may 2019, by the commercial satellite company Planet. The US government used to have a monopoly on such photos. But now the planet, which is one of the few private satellite company, sold his pictures to the US government and private groups.

Planet


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Planet

The government buys these images in the context of a contract with planet, said Gautheir.

“let’s look at the whole haystack, and things that can gather look like needles, the our attention,” he said.

the NGA is looking If the needles, it shares with the military and other intelligence services.

Rich Leshner, who leads the planet’s office in Washington, explained the company’s basic model.

“imagine laying the earth is flat, a picture of the room with a really cool camera. That’s what we do every day,” he said.

used by The government to have a monopoly on satellite images. But for now, Planet and a couple of other companies sell their images to a variety of customers. They include foreign governments allied with the United States, as well as in private, commercial companies and non-Profit organizations.

environmentalists to track the melting of sea ice. Charities register and hold currents maps of the refugee. The farmers monitor the plant.

An unexpected customer was/is on the local governments, the buy planet photos, the monitoring of the legal production of marijuana in their communities, said Leshner.

The US government began the Corona program, a satellite of the photos in the year 1960. After the satellite took the photos in the room, it also released a small film capsule attached to a parachute. A military plane, with a long hook attached, under flew and recorded the movie in the air over the Pacific ocean. The operation would, in General, a pair of grainy, black-and-produce-and-white images of a Soviet military site.

YouTube

So, if all of this can be observed from space, what is the privacy of the individual? means

the U.S. law limits the detail of images from commercial satellites, so that the people can not be identified.

“not every man can. You can not things that can be tied to you as a number plate for a car,” Leshner of the images of planets and satellites. “In terms of the detailed, individual, human privacy, we are not very confident that the products we create, cross over these types of limits.”

The Geospatial-Intelligence Agency emphasized that it will consider the images of the United States, except upon request by a government Agency. An example is the Federal Emergency Management Agency assessment of the damage from a forest fire or a hurricane would be.

Still, the NGA Gauthier says people should have a General awareness.

“understand, Most people carry a mobile phone, some of your information will be monitored,” Gauthier. “We just have to recognize that it is a possibility, more from space than ever before.”

by Greg Myre is a NPR national security correspondent. Him @gregmyre1follow.

Released on Thu, 12 Mar 2020 15:00:00 +0000

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