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Geospatial information (also called geospatial data) (GEOINF)

[is] information that identifies the geographic location and characteristics of natural or constructed features and boundaries on the earth and includes —
(A) statistical data and information derived from, among other things, remote sensing, mapping, and surveying technologies; and
(B) mapping, charting, geodetic data, and related products.[1]
describes entities or phenomena that can be referenced to specific locations relative to the Earth's surface.[2]


Geospatial information is

[f]oundation information upon which all other battlespace information is referenced to form the common operational picture.[3]

Overview (General)[]

Examples of geospatial information include maps, satellite imagery, and census and housing data as well as information identified by a region or jurisdiction.

For example, entities such as buildings, rivers, road intersections, power plants, and national parks can all be identified by their locations. In addition, phenomena such as wildfires, the spread of the West Nile virus, and the thinning of trees due to acid rain, can also be identified by their geographic locations.[4]

The fusion of remote sensing data, geographic information system (GIS) technology, and precise geographic information from the Global Positioning System (GPS) constellation, coupled with the increasing power and decreasing cost of computing over a network, has enabled an explosion of geospatial information across the United States and the globe.

The U.S. government collects, maintains, and uses geospatial information to help in decision-making and to support many functions, including national security, law enforcement, health care, the environment, and natural resources conservation. States, counties, cities, tribal governments, and the private sector also use geospatial information to support essential functions. Among the many activities that can depend on critical analysis of geospatial information are conducting the decennial census, the maintenance of roads and other critical transportation infrastructure, and actions in response to natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes, and fires.

Overview (Military)[]

Advances in technology and the use of geospatial data throughout the joint force have created the ability to use geography as an integrating function resulting in more sophisticated capabilities for visualization, analysis and dissemination of fused views of the operational environment.

GEOINT provides a common framework for supporting joint operations to better enable mission accomplishment across the range of military operations and with all mission partners. The use of GEOINT can be categorized into five general areas: general military intelligence and indications and warning; safety of navigation; operational environment awareness; mission planning and command and control; and target intelligence.


See also[]