Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) is the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess, and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the Earth.

GEOINT provides critical spatial information to a decision making process that is necessary for meaningful actions and decisions, based on the fusion or integration of multiple forms of data collected from satellite and airborne sensors, along with a wide variety of other digital geographic information. GEOINT represents the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) doctrine, published in 2004. Last years, especially the period post September 11, showed that the intelligence community’s biggest part of raw information extraction and analysis relies on intelligence disciplines. HUMINT (human intelligence) and IMINT (Imagery Intelligence) are based primarily on collection capability while MASINT (measurement and signature intelligence), SIGINT (Signal Intelligence) and OSINT (open source intelligence) are more analytic and data mining oriented.
GEOINT provides the spatial foundation essential for the analysis of information from all sources, providing the baseline starting point for all geographically referenced analytic efforts. It brings together cartography, imagery analysis, geospatial analysis, geodesy, aeronautical analysis, maritime analysis and regional analysis thus providing unique intelligence capability.

It unites the complementary fields of imagery intelligence (IMINT) and mapping, charting, and geodesy (MC&G) into a single, integrated intelligence discipline. It combines their strengths, incorporating the dynamic, detailed content of IMINT with the precise methods. Figure bellow illustrates the natural convergence of IMINT and MC&G.

GEOINT and its application of the field of remote sensing.

The term GEOINT is used in two ways. First, GEOINT is a discipline, a specialized field of practice within the broader profession of intelligence. It is the use of remote sensing, spatial data, and analytical methods to understand the global security situation. Second, GEOINT is a type of intelligence product, the information and knowledge that is produced as a result of the discipline’s activities. GEOINT is the basis from which all intelligence analysis is derived.

Regardless of the intelligence challenge, all analysis is geospatially and temporally referenced in some fashion, and GEOINT is uniquely capable of providing that reference. As former NGA Director Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper, U.S. Air Force (ret.), actually the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), has stated, "everyone and everything has to be somewhere," and GEOINT provides the information to identify the "where and when."
The etymology of the word “geospatial” connotes the focus of GEOINT on representing natural features and human activities in their place on the planet. “Geo” comes from the Greek for Earth. “Spatial” refers to location.
Accordingly, a simple way to describe GEOINT might be to say it shows what is where on the Earth. As a discipline, however, and as a distinct category of intelligence products, GEOINT goes far beyond answering the question, “Where?”

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