Lesson 1


What is Geospatial Intelligence?


Welcome to Lesson 1 of Geospatial Intelligence & the Geospatial Revolution!

We've identified five principles of Geospatial Intelligence that will be addressed throughout this course. These principles are:

  • Principle #1:Geospatial Intelligence concerns insights about human activity on the Earth.
  • Principle #2: The analyst's craft completes the picture provided by geospatial intelligence data.
  • Principle #3: Geospatial Intelligence collection and source strategies are focused on answering questions about place and time.
  • Principle #4: The Geospatial Intelligence analysis tradecraft is the art of geospatial reasoning informed by Geographic Information Science aided by Geographic Information Technology.
  • Principle #5: The Geospatial Intelligence analyst makes judgments consistent with the standards of the intelligence profession.

This lesson introduces Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) and the broad types of problems it can help you solve. I will use the term GEOINT as an abbreviation of geospatial intelligence throughout most of this course. GEOINT is defined by the intersection of the intelligence tradecraft, Geographic Science (GIScience), and Geographic Information Technology (GIT). As a discipline, GEOINT provides decision makers with insights about the ways in which people organize and arrange their activities on Earth's surface. These insights can prevent surprises, leverage emerging opportunities, counteract threats, or provide time to adapt to a changing situation. GEOINT is not just about defense applications. GEOINT provides decision makers with actionable knowledge in business, humanitarian efforts, and law enforcement. We will explore the ethical aspects of GEOINT that arise since Geographic Information Technologies are inherently surveillance technologies.

Learning Objectives

Throughout this lesson, we will demonstrate the concepts of GEOINT. By the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Define GEOINT
  • Name several applications of GEOINT
  • List the unique qualities of GEOINT