Kevin Wells Exelis VIS  

Kevin Wells

Kevin is US Sales Manager at Exelis VIS, and has worked extensively with Exelis customers from the Defense/Intelligence space for almost ten years. Kevin obtained a BA in History at California State University, San Francisco. Over the time, he has developed a keen awareness of the unique needs of these customers and is committed to supporting  them in successfully fulfilling their mission requirements.

16

Jun

2015

Check out our WorldView-3 core skills workshop at GEOINT

Author: Kevin Wells

I’m really looking forward to the upcoming GEOINT 2015 Symposium, which is taking place next week on June 22-25, at the convention center in DC.  Each year, USGIF manages to assemble a distinguished list of keynote speakers, relevant panel discussions and breakout sessions that provide  attendees with a unique opportunity to learn from leading experts, share best practices, and uncover the latest developments from government, military and private-sector leaders.   

One of the most significant technological developments in our industry over the last year has been the satellite launch and subsequent collection of DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-3 data. With the access to 31 cm resolution imagery and SWIR coverage, this satellite is providing more answers from imagery to our community.  As a result of this, Exelis personnel have been receiving frequent inquiries from our customers as to how this new imagery can be used to extract information. 

Due to this interest, we decided that GEOINT would be a great opportunity for us to conduct a workshop where we provide attendees an opportunity to better understand the data being collected from WorldView-3, as well as how to use this data for extracting relevant intelligence. Working in collaboration with DigitalGlobe, Exelis Solutions Engineers have developed a session to provide the core skills needed for understanding how to create real-world products from SWIR information. Though focused on WorldView-3, the methodologies discussed will be applicable to other MSI/HSI data sources. This workshop is perfect current literal image analysts or others with limited spectral data experiences who are interested in learning more about using SWIR data. Scenarios used for the workshop will address Urban Mapping, Wildfire Mitigation, Flooding and Disaster Response. 

If you are interested in registering for this workshop (or one of the many others that USGIF is organizing), check out the following link: http://geoint2015.com/agenda/EduTraining

Also be sure to stop by and say hello to us in the Harris booth #4059.

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9

Apr

2015

ENVI Classified User Symposium (ENVIUS)

Author: Kevin Wells

I’m really looking forward to the upcoming ENVI Classified User Symposium (ENVIUS), which is taking place on May 14 at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) in Springfield, VA. This is an event that I’ve supported for several years now, and it is fun to see how it has become one of the most anticipated meetings of the year for our customers that work in the Defense and Intelligence community. I regularly have customers tell me that it is a great opportunity for geospatial analysts and scientist to hear and see what thought leaders are doing within the community, as well as an excellent opportunity to network with their colleagues. 

This year, Aimee Baldwin has done a great job putting together a full agenda of speakers that are using Exelis VIS technologies to solve some really challenging problems. Some of the highlights of the day include:

- Several discussions on the use of point cloud data from various modalities and sensors for 3D feature extraction and how this analysis can be conducted in a cloud environment using ENVI Services Engine (ESE).

- A speaker from George Mason University will be talking about how he has been able to use ENVI with HSI data for accurate, efficient, large–scale and timely identification and mapping of hydrilla infestation in coastal estuaries and other water bodies

- Representatives from the USGS will be briefing on the research that they conducted by analyzing a wide range of properties from disasters such as World Trade Center, Hurricane Katrina, the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill as well as various wildfires and landslides. Through this work, they have identified potential safety and environmental issues that may have been overlooked or not identified by traditional remote sensing techniques. 

- Work that has been done on the optimization of target detection algorithms so as to suppress noise and cluster anomalies and improve the ability to find specific targets.

- Image scientists from NGA will be discussing a new methodology of using the VIIRS Day/Night Band (DNB) for nighttime light analysis. They have then used ENVI Services Engine (ESE) to more efficiently process their data on a server and are executing the same processes for data residing on the desktop. Both of these implementations use a multiprocessing approach, which is greatly improving their efficiency and saving significant amounts of time. 

We are also going to have our Enterprise Product Manager, Mark Bowersox, provide a view through the looking glass as to what is on the horizon with the various VIS products. 

Keep in mind that this event is only open to US Citizens with a TS/SCI level security clearance. 

If you have any questions about it, please do not hesitate to reach out to myself (kevin.wells@exelisinc.com) or to Aimee Baldwin (aimee.baldwin@exelisinc.com). 

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5

Feb

2015

Exelis Enables Enterprise-Based Analytics to Fit Changing Needs of Warfighters

Author: Kevin Wells

I recently listened in on an interesting webcast sponsored by C4ISR & Networks titled 'Emerging Geospatial Requirements in Army Intel2020 and Beyond'. In this webcast Terry Mitchell, Director, Army Intelligence Futures Directorate, Deputy Chief of Staff (G2), discussed the US military's transition from a forward-operating force to a continental US-based, regionally aligned, expeditionary force and the fact that this transition is going to place increasing emphasis on geospatial intelligence.

With a draw down that is precedent setting in scope, the DoD is asking, ‘How do we get the best bang for our buck?’ There is the recognition that in becoming leaner, our forces are going to need to become more expeditionary and more agile. Intel analysts are going to require a higher set of fidelity and increased capabilities. This scenario is driving investment in several areas, but there were two in particular that aligned very closely with work that is being done at Exelis that will  benefit our warfighters in the coming years. 

FMV Exploitation

The value of FMV is universally recognized. Commanders want to have the ability to see the battlefield. The challenge is not flying the sensors, but how to track and detect? How do we move past ‘watching TV’ and create tools that can detect change and then alert analysts of that change?

Another challenge that commanders have with FMV is how to perform more efficient compression of the HD video that is collected. Solutions need to be in place for the data and intelligence products to go from ‘Space to Mud’ -- get the results to the soldiers that are at the company level.  

DCGS Migration to IC Cloud

DCGS is an enormous program that has had its share of problems, but it is important to keep in mind that it is deployed today, supports 58,000 MI soldiers, and is not likely to be going away any time soon. Many of the problems have been addressed in the latest Hunte build, but there is still the need for Army to transition to another construct, which has to be aligned with the rest of the IC. This requires tools to work interoperably with ubiquitous access to data across the IC.

Exelis has developed technologies that addresses both of these needs identified by the Army with enterprise-level geospatial solutions that leverage open standards to provide robust data cataloguing and dissemination capabilities along with proven, accurate data analysis. The three main components to this data analysis system: a user interface, a data catalog and dissemination component, and a processing component.

ENVI Services Engine (ESE) is an enterprise version of the ENVI software, and notonly facilitates image analytics capabilities, but also allows for hosting of custom web pages designed to enable those capabilities for the end-user.JavaScript clients and other interfaces can be designed and hosted by the engine to provide custom functionalities that are specific to DCGS specific workflows.

Jagwire is a web-based software system that is specifically designed for ingest, storage, management, discovery, and delivery of FMV imagery, and derived products with near real-time access. It promotes reduced latency from data collection to decision making in the field, is customizable, and can be integrated into existing IT infrastructures due to its standards-based design. Jagwire provides FMV viewing capabilities in near-real time, allowing users to see exactly what their assets are seeing from the air, which promotes more efficient tasking of aerial assets. It can be implemented as an enterprise-level solution, a ground-station level, or even at a mobile level, leveraging jpip streaming and other web standards to serve important data over constrained bandwidths. 

The ESE interface then provides a way for the end-user to discover, visualize, and request analysis on data, while the catalog hosts the various datasets in a way that is easily discoverable by the user interface. Once the analyst has found the data they are interested in and has decided what type of analysis they would like to run, they initiate a call from the user interface to the analysis engine. ESE is then able to locate the specified data set within the catalog and run the requested analysis algorithm on that data using the parameters provided by the analyst. Analysis in this case may consist of feature extraction, spectral identification, change detection or even a custom function/series of functions that have been chained together to extract a specific piece of information that is of particular interest to the military analyst.

The DoD is addressing evolving security challenges and budgetary constraints which are resulting in a new defense strategy. This strategy is based on smaller, leaner forces that are agile, flexible, rapidly deployable and technologically advanced. These changes require just as significant an adaption in thinking on the part of COTS software providers that are building tools to support our nations’ warfighters. Fortunately, Exelis has the foundation in place to provide solutions that align closely with Army requirements for today, tomorrow, and beyond.

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1

Oct

2014

Leveraging Forward-Deployed GEOINT as a Service

Author: Kevin Wells

A problem that I regularly hear about from my customers in the Defense and Intelligence sector is that they are drowning in data. These people have access to essentially all of our nations’ ISR resources and they can process that data on some of the world’s most robust hardware systems. Nevertheless, they are struggling to access the data, and then when they find what they are looking for, they are not always able to share it with decision-makers in a timely manner. These customers are coming to us asking for a solution that will enable them to keep the data where it is collected while making the data and the intelligence products created from that data readily accessible to their analysts and decision-makers that are located both in the Contiguous United States (CONUS) and Outside the Contiguous United States (OCONUS).

The problem is being exaggerated by the ever increasing fleet of ISR platforms that are collecting Wide Area Motion Imagery(WAMI), Full Motion Video (FMV) and Hyperspectral Data (HSI).  These assets are delivering unprecedented volumes of data, much of which is not even viewed for further analysis. 

We are being asked for a solution that provides forward-deployed, server-side analytic processing and visualization of the finished intelligence products that can be made discoverable and exploitable in near-real time by analysts in theater as well as in other locations.

Fortunately, Exelis engineers have put together a solution that has the capabilities to meet this requirement. The solution uses a combination of several different tools:

1. HYDRA provides an overarching orchestration, workflow management and collaborationtool for frequently executed exploitation routines performed by analysts. By streamlining the operation of linking appropriate data with applicablealgorithms, managing the queuing of ongoing processing, and tracking theperformance and results, HYDRA automates redundant steps by the analyst toincrease their efficiency and improve their collaboration across distributed environments.

2. Jagwire provides content management for a wide variety of GEOINT modalities. This tool manages the discovery of imagery assets on the server and federates access with any other Jagwire system on the same network to facilitate rapid data discovery.

3. ENVI Services Engine provides the ability to perform advanced analysis on imagery assets in an enterprise environment. Conducting Target Detection, Material Identification and Terrain Categorization can easily be applied to the federated assets to derive intelligence products. 

By combining these three tools, Exelis is able to deliver to both OCONUS and CONUS analysts online, on-demand access to the same operationally collected data and intelligence products. This is an invaluable solution that enables the warfighter to utilize near real-time remote access to previously inaccessible intelligence.

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