NSIN, on behalf of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), seeks novel solutions for searching and discovering multi-formatted geospatial content within government-managed and commercial data repositories across this dual-phased challenge. Open to all eligible innovators.

Overview

The National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), in partnership with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), is launching the geoSpatial Environment for Access, Retrieval & Content Hosting (gSEARCH) challenge to identify capabilities that transform the way the NGA and its partners search and discover geospatial content. NGA is interested in innovative and novel approaches that deliver a centralized, web-based user experience for searching and discovering content distributed across government, industry and partner data repositories. Furthermore, this centralized user experience must be interoperable with common exploitation tools and able to execute large scale geoprocessing functions as a service.

White paper submissions will be evaluated by a team of subject matter experts (SMEs). After an initial evaluation, up to 10 companies will be selected as finalists to participate in the pitch event the week of March 27, 2023. The top performing company will be awarded $75,000 in prize money.


Apply Now

To participate in the Challenge, interested participants need to create an account on IdeaScale. Upon registration you will receive a verification email. Check your spam folder if the verification email is not received. Please contact challenges@nsin.mil for questions about IdeaScale registration. All relevant information regarding this Challenge can be found via the following link to the IdeaScale platform:

Apply Now on IdeaScale


Benefits of Participating

  • $75,000 award to the top finalist company.
  • Exposure to leaders across multiple branches of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) responsible for the development and deployment of synthetic training data technologies.
  • Opportunities to learn from and collaborate with other industry leaders and partners in this space.
  • Potential for follow-on activities to prototype and demonstrate proposed solutions.

Eligibility

  • U.S. Owned and Operated Companies (to include those with non-U.S. citizens)
  • Mid to Early-Stage Ventures OR non-traditional defense contractors with the ability to demonstrate the solution’s capabilities by July 2023
  • Registration in SAM.gov no later than Pitch event date

Why

The solutions discovered through the gSEARCH competition will inform NGA’s approach to modernizing content discovery by demonstrating solutions that:

  • expand the diversity of commercial content available to NGA and its partners.
  • make data from emerging providers available to users ahead of formal, large-scale government data integration initiatives.
  • reduce long-term storage and retention costs for NUDL operations by adopting a transactional approach to acquiring externally-archived content.
  • can schedule and pre-stage geoprocessing jobs as a service to improve the readiness and quality of the data for use in generating foundation and analytic services at-scale.

Timeline (Subject to Change)

  • Week of January 2, 2023: Solicitation Released (not yet open for submission)
  • January 20, 2023: Ask Me Anything Session
  • Week of January 23, 2023: Solicitation Open for Submission
  • February 20, 2023: Solicitation Closes & Down-selection Begins
  • March 20, 2023: Down-selection Ends & Finalists Announced
  • Week of March 20, 2023: Pitch Rehearsal
  • Week of March 27, 2023: Virtual Pitch Event
  • First week of April: Winner Announced

Judging Criteria

Proposal Round- The quality of the white paper in the initial submission will be evaluated against five major criteria:

  • Well-Written: clearness & conciseness
  • Content: Addresses key questions
  • Standards: Within parameters and meets standards
  • Evidence: Contains scientific language & evidence-based solutions
  • Adaptability: Ability to use this approach for other use cases

Pitch Round- Selection to advance to the pitch event will be based on the overall quality and depth of the submission, considering the following components. Each component will carry the same weight for judging purposes:

  • Quality: Conforms to formatting guidance, addresses required components, clearly & concisely written, free of errors
  • Corporate: Company’s mission, value proposition and level of experience is relevant to the challenge
  • Remote Vendor Archive (RVA) APIs: Tested, mature and technically relevant RVA APIs
  • Industry: Obtained agreement from third-party data providers to adopt the API/ participate in prototyping activities
  • Desired Features: The extent each feature is addressed, evidence-based & logical conclusions/assertions in approach and delivery
  • Commercialization: Company has a solution that is viable in non-defense markets

Technical Requirements

NGA Unclassified Data Lake (NUDL) Application Programming Interface (API) References.

For more info, see:

WMS/WMTS via TiTiler: https://developmentseed.org/titiler/

Endpoints:


Problem Statement

The National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG) Commercial GEOINT Strategy calls on NGA and its partners to harness industry for rapid innovation, yet access to data continues to be a significant inhibitor to maximizing the utility of commercial capabilities for unclassified and classified use cases.

Analysts, data scientists, academic partners, and industry require seamless access to the vast amounts of imagery and geospatial data held within both government and commercially-owned repositories through a single, easy to use web-based interface. The gSEARCH Challenge asks participants to describe their approaches to addressing these needs by creating a single User Interface (UI) capable of:

  • Discovering Government-Held Content: NGA will be exposing Government-licensed commercial content in a multi-fabric cloud environment called The NGA Unclassified Data Lake (NUDL). NUDL will utilize open source tooling to provide Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) compliant Application Programing Interfaces (APIs) to discover and interact with content.
  • Discovering Externally-Hosted Content: NGA is also interested in exploring the use of standardized Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to discover remotely-stored content to the augment government-licensed data held within the NUDL. A preponderance of this remotely-stored content exists within Remote Vendor Archives (RVAs), which must be retrieved and sent to the NUDL for storage, exposure, or additional processing.
  • Executing and Scheduling Geoprocessing Services: Geospatial data often requires additional processing before it can be used to generate value-added foundation and analytic products. For mapping and feature extraction missions, at-scale orthorectification and orthomosaic processing may be required, usually across large spatial areas or with data collected over long periods of time. As a test case, the UI should be capable of queuing and scheduling individual and “batch” orthorectification and orthomosaic processes as-a-service. Challenge participants will also be asked to describe their approach to executing orthorectification and orthomosaic processing at scale.

White Paper Submission Guidance

White Papers are due by noon (1200) Eastern Standard Time on 17 February 2023 and must be submitted electronically through IdeaScale. The Government will not review papers received after this date. Responses should be submitted in Microsoft Word format (compatible with Word 2016).

Responses should be UNCLASSIFIED. Limited proprietary responses will be considered and should be severable from the overall response. Responses are limited to a maximum of 20 pages, including supporting appendices, cover page, indices, etc. A 17-inch by 11-inch page shall be counted as 2 pages. Briefings and/or briefing charts in lieu of written responses are not acceptable.

The gSEARCH Challenge asks participants to describe their approaches establishing a truly distributed search/discovery capability that can rapidly identify and access content residing in both government-hosted and Remote Vendor Archives (RVAs). The following areas must be addressed:

  1. Provide a corporate overview, and describe your technical/professional experience designing and/or implementing geospatial APIs, developing geospatial search/discovery interfaces, and establishing partnerships with industry geospatial data suppliers.
  2. Describe your proposed approach to designing and delivering a standardized API for discovering geospatial content across government- and vendor-owned archives.
  3. List and/or certify at least three US-based imagery suppliers or data brokers willing to adopt your standard for the purposes of a technical demonstration.
  4. Describe your approach to developing a User Interface (UI) that satisfies the Desired Features in Appendix B. Provide a description of the core functionality, as well as notional wireframe diagrams of the UI. Furthermore, the approach should account for two use-cases: a. Deploying your solution on government-hosted commercial cloud infrastructure, with direct access to geospatial content hosted on that same cloud infrastructure (such as the NUDL). b. Deploying your solution on government-sponsored commercial cloud infrastructure, with remote, authenticated API access to a repository such as the NUDL.

Pitch Event

Participants selected as finalists will pitch their solutions in a virtual pitch event the week of March 27, 2023. The pitch will include 5 minutes for a public (to all registered attendees) presentation and 5 minutes for questions and answers from the judging panel.

Additional information will be provided in IdeaScale. Finalists selected to participate in the pitch event will be evaluated and one (1) winner will be selected to receive $75,000 in prize money.


Pitch Event Deliverables

Participants selected as finalists will deliver the following by 11:59 p.m. ET on the designated submission day.

Presentation Specifications

  • Sized 16:9 (1920x1080 pixels)
  • Horizontal presentation
  • PDF file

Follow-On Activities

This NSIN Challenges Open Call Announcement is considered to have potential for further efforts that may be accomplished via FAR-based contracting instruments, Other Transaction Authority (OTA) for Prototype Projects 10 USC 4022 and Research 10 USC 4021, Prizes for advanced technology achievements 10 USC 4025, and/or Prize Competitions 15 USC 3719. If a prototype OTA is awarded and considered successfully completed, follow-on production may be pursued in accordance with 10 USC 4022(f). The public open call announcement made at NSIN Presents: NGA gSEARCH is considered to satisfy the reasonable effort to obtain competition in accordance with 10 USC 4025(b), 15 USC 3719(e) and 10 USC 4022(b)(2). Any FAR-based actions will follow announcement procedures per FAR 5.201(b) accordingly actions will follow announcement procedures per FAR 5.201(b) accordingly.

Intellectual Property Considerations

By participating in this competition and submitting in any of the rounds, participants are granting the US Government and its Partners permanent access to the provided white paper with the provision that the US Government and its Partners may store and copy the white paper in perpetuity. Participants will retain intellectual ownership of and publishing rights to the white paper.

Excluding white papers and any material considered to be co-produced with the US Government, the US Government and its Partners agree not to share submissions with other entities, including files and tradecraft concepts.

Background Information

The National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG) Commercial GEOINT Strategy calls on NGA and its partners to harness industry for rapid innovation. Access to data continues to be a significant inhibitor to maximizing the utility of commercial capabilities for unclassified and classified use cases. Analysts, data scientists, academic partners, and industry require seamless access to the vast amounts of imagery and geospatial data held within both government and commercially-owned repositories to conduct studies, create shareable derived content, and create the next generation of commercial products and services. In the past, NGA and its partners were dependent on the centralization of content within “libraries’’ (which were kept either on-premises or within the cloud), and integrating new sources of data into these libraries was both time-consuming and expensive.


About National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) delivers world-class geospatial intelligence that provides a decisive advantage to policymakers, military service members, intelligence professionals and first responders. Anyone who sails a U.S. ship, flies a U.S. aircraft, makes national policy decisions, fights wars, locates targets, responds to natural disasters, or even navigates with a cellphone relies on NGA. NGA enables all of these critical actions and shapes decisions that impact our world through the indispensable discipline of geospatial intelligence (GEOINT). NGA receives guidance and oversight from DOD, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and Congress. NGA is headquartered in Springfield, Virginia, and has two major locations in St. Louis and Arnold, Missouri. Approximately 14,500 civilian, military and contractor employees work across more than 100 locations in the U.S. and 20 international locations. Hundreds of NGA employees also serve on support teams at U.S. military, diplomatic and allied locations around the world.

About NSIN The National Security Innovation Network is a program of the U.S. Department of Defense that collaborates with major universities and the venture community to develop solutions that drive national security innovation. We operate two portfolios of programs and services: Venture and Talent. Together, these portfolios form a pipeline of activities and solutions that accelerate the pace of defense innovation.

Partners


Other Transaction Authority: This NSIN Challenge public announcement is an open call to small businesses and non-traditional defense contractors seeking innovative, commercial technologies proposed to create new DoD solutions or potential new capabilities fulfilling requirements, closing capability gaps, or providing potential technological advancements, technologies fueled by commercial or strategic investment, but also concept demonstrations, pilots, and agile development activities improving commercial technologies, existing Government-owned capabilities, or concepts for broad Defense application(s). As such, the Government reserves the right to award a contract or an Other Transaction for any purpose, to include a prototype or research, under this public announcement. The Federal Government is not responsible for any monies expended by the applicant before award and is under no obligation to pursue such Other Transactions.


Satisfying Competition Requirements: This Open Call Announcement is considered to have potential for further efforts that may be accomplished via FAR-based contracting instruments, Other Transaction Authority (OTA) for Prototype Projects 10 USC 4022 and Research 10 USC 4021, Prizes for advanced technology achievements 10 USC 4025, and/or Prize Competitions 15 USC 3719. If a prototype OTA is awarded and considered successfully completed, follow-on production may be pursued in accordance with 10 USC 4022(f). The public open call announcement made at NSIN Presents: NGA gSEARCH is considered to satisfy the reasonable effort to obtain competition in accordance with 10 USC 4025(b), 15 USC 3719(e) and 10 USC 4022(b)(2). Any FAR-based actions will follow announcement procedures per FAR 5.201(b) accordingly actions will follow announcement procedures per FAR 5.201(b) accordingly.