NGA hires GeoIQ for social media analysis

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has announced a request for quote (RFQ) from FortiusOne/GeoIQ–who operate the popular GeoCommons web-based mapping site–to perform social media datamining in the event of disasters (either man-made or natural).

NGA announced on FedBizOpps that GeoIQ is the only company to be approached (sole-source without competitors) as it is a follow-on to a previous contract held by GeoIQ. It will be what is known as Firm Fixed Price–Time and Materials, according to FAR rules, the government’s primary contracting guidance book.

FortiusOne/GeoIQ/GeoCommons is run by CEO is Frank Moyer, founder and president Sean Gorman, and CTO Andrew Turner. However, this summer Esri bought out GeoIQ for an undisclosed sum.

It is unclear if Esri knew about this contract already and bought GeoIQ because they hoped to expand this line of work. Both Esri and Gorman have confirmed that “existing” GeoIQ customers will continue to be supported, presumably including the NGA. Gorman did reveal that they have an ongoing R&D project called “Twitch” which “handles dynamic aggregation and visualization of millions of points from social media streams with in-browser HTML5 support.” (Added: video demo of the Twitch project).

The statement of work (SOW) for NGA contains similar capabilities:

1.1 Create Temporal Histogram of tweet
1.2 Create predefined hashtags searches per disaster type with ability to customize (languages, abbreviations mispellings etc)

Summarize hashtag searches
o per USNG 1k cell
o per nearest cell phone tower
o per unique user
o Be able to locate last tweet of specific user
o Per user defined areas smaller then 1k (USNG 1k functionality at tighter scale)
o Per tweet within XXX (User defined) distance of predefined infrastructure datasets
o Create raster product of tweets per USNG cell and normalize by Day & Night Population
1.3 “Crawl” tweets and apply hashtag searches to basic text embedded in the tweet and not just hashtag

Task 3 also requires GeoIQ “tie-in” to Facebook, YouTube and “other platforms.” It is not clear however if this is the Twitch project or a separate one.

An attachment provided further details on the SOW, confirming for example that GeoIQ underwent “prior development” by In-Q-Tel (the CIA venture capital company) in 2007. (See press release here).

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