Much about the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency remains classified, but the U.S. spy agency that maps and analyzes the earth is opening up more than ever, from sharing computer source code on a public website to tapping new sources of intelligence.
The NGA’s director, Robert Cardillo, is leading what he calls a “seismic shift” in the agency’s culture to help it better exploit social media, commercially available imagery and other data to continue providing high-level intelligence to the U.S. government.
The NGA this week opened its doors to GitHub, the world’s largest site for sharing source code, to advance another goal – to encourage its employees to share analytical tools and other computer programs and get feedback from other developers.
The NGA last year become the first U.S. spy agency to set up its own page on GitHub, but other agencies are following suit. The National Security Agency’s page premiered this week, and the Defense Intelligence Agency plans to set up its page soon.
This summer, the NGA will also participate in Google Inc’s high-profile “Summer of Code” for young developers.