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The NV5 team was well represented at the 2023 GEOINT Symposium, sharing our unique capabilities with those who stopped by our booth and at our presentations. The event brought together top-notch professionals from the defense and intelligence sector to explore the latest advancements in geospatial intelligence. This year, our team included three NV5 employees who attended as Young Professionals. We asked them to share their unique perspective on the event, which included their experiences, key takeaways, the role of AI, the need for diverse talent in the GEOINT community, and the growing accessibility of commercial services. Read on to learn what stood out most to them.


Kady Nolte (1)
Kady Nolte
Geospatial Analyst - Project Lead

The theme of this year's GEOINT conference was "From Maps to Metaverse." There were three major themes of the 2023 GEOINT Symposium that I walked away with: 1) AI is a tool, 2) we need to change the talent coming into the GEOINT community, and 3) commercial services are becoming more accessible. All three of these themes are important, and watching how they shape the GEOINT community in the coming years will be interesting.

A lot of the discussion revolved around the transition from manual workflows to AI-powered workflows. AI sounds scary to some, but it can be harnessed as an extremely powerful tool that more people are going to be turning to. We have mountains of data produced every day, and AI can help us process it to pinpoint exactly what we need to see in just seconds. Leaders with NGA are confident AI can help us but were also adamant people still needed to be in the mix since AI is just a tool – not the end-all be-all solution.

Another theme a lot of the panels touched on at GEOINT this year was the size of the talent pool. Companies have limited themselves to neurotypical individuals, but there are so many opportunities to get neurodivergent individuals and their skills into the mix. Many companies (including NGA!) are developing practices to make hiring processes more accessible for all applicants. They are also developing mentorship and continuing education, so people feel supported during their careers.

Meanwhile, other organizations are looking to expose children to STEM in communities that might not otherwise have access to it. These organizations are focused on expanding the talent pool for the future. The main point of discussion was on the Gateway Global program, where K-12 students in St. Louis area schools are exposed to STEM through a lens that is relevant to them. This Gateway Global model can be spread to other cities to help develop similar programs there, which will only help the future generation of GEOINTers.

Finally, commercial, commercial, commercial! There are so many commercial satellites being launched this year. Access to commercial imagery services (or other commercial data sources) is becoming more available for public use. It sounds like the government is looking towards commercial services to get what they need instead of trying to host it themselves.


Nicholas Ruffini (1)
Nick Ruffini
Geospatial Analyst II - Production Lead

GEOINT was a great experience as a first-time attendee. There were many great keynote speeches and technical discussions, providing a wealth of knowledge and new questions for our everyday work. Beyond the top-notch discussions, one of my favorite experiences was the time I was able to spend connecting face-to-face with some of NV5's subcontractors who were also attending the event, whom I had not met in person before. Along with connecting with subcontractors, we also had the opportunity to talk with some of our new NV5 coworkers.

The technical discussions helped me immensely in understanding how the data produced by my team is utilized by end users, as well as the intermediate analysis that occurs between end users and our workstations here at NV5. Additionally, many of the technical discussions and lightning talks covered aspects of the GEOINT space that I had not previously considered as traditionally "GEOINT" themes. I quickly understood how these seemingly everyday or common occurrences and events impact global geopolitics and intelligence gathering.

As much as I enjoyed the technical discussions, I truly believe that the time I spent talking with our external partners and making connections was the most impactful opportunity of the week. Just like many of us are remote these days, being in the same room together helps foster connections and forge new relationships. I already feel more comfortable communicating with our subcontractors after having the opportunity to talk in person. Moreover, despite the GEOINT world seeming immensely large, it truly is a small and tight-knit group. I was able to reconnect with prior NV5 employees and see how they have progressed in their careers and how their teams are tackling many of the same challenges we face every day. I hope to have another opportunity in the future to attend and further build upon this first experience, extracting even more from it.


Lucas Pierce
Lucas Pierce
Geospatial Analyst

GEOINT 2023 was quite the learning experience. Between the various keynote speakers, the numerous booths on the convention floor and the networking opportunities throughout the week there was always something to do and something new to learn. Going into GEOINT my main goals were to learn as much as I could to help projects within the Intel group at NV5 and to become a more well-rounded geographer in general.

Listening to the keynote speakers was the most informative aspect of the symposium for me. There are two keynotes that left lasting impressions. The first was a panel on Neurodiversity in “Team GEOINT”. This panel discussed how embracing neurodiversity is vital to the advancement of our GEOINT communities. I found it very useful hearing how humans process information differently and because of this we need to find ways to use those skills to advance our work as a team. Promoting inclusion was a consistent theme throughout other discussions, as the more varied the talent pool is the better opportunity for improving the team there is. Hearing this made me appreciate how NV5 has prioritized diversity and inclusion, which has led to some of our recent achievements and growing comradery within Intel. The second keynote that I want to mention was a session titled “Putting Geography Back in GEOINT”. This was led by Dr. Lee Schwartz, Geographer of the United States. I did not know there was a position of Geographer of the United States and I found that to be just awesome. Who wouldn’t want to be “The” Geographer of the United States. His actual discussion was fascinating in how his team creates maps for use of the US government. One of the more memorable examples he provided was maps his team made to use in international trials for individuals accused of committing genocide. Showing an example of how we as a GEOINT community can help hold people accountable for atrocities.

In addition to the keynote speakers there were also plenty of opportunities to learn on the convention floor. Whether it be listening to lightning talks or interacting with people in the booths of the many companies in attendance. I was able to have discussions at several booths including Esri, BAE, L3Harris, and Kelyn Technologies. I mention these because they all have software or hardware that is being used or could be used in some programs NV5 supports. I wanted to make the most of the opportunity to ask what questions I could in person to experts in their fields to expand our knowledge and capabilities.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention the networking opportunities. Going into the symposium I personally did not have much experience in networking. I did find it both fun and informative being able to have discussions with others with the shared language of geography. It was nice not having to simply say I make maps when asked what I do. I really enjoyed meeting and chatting with some of our partners at CACI who we work with on Janus Geography contracts. As well as meeting with some of our fellow NV5 teammates in person. As an analyst we spend most of our time behind the computer screen, so it was nice having the opportunity to meet others in person.

Overall, I found GEOINT 2023 to be a very impactful experience. Both as an NV5 employee and as a geography nerd in general. There were opportunities to not only listen to leaders and experts in our industry but also to ask questions and have discussions. These discussions, presentations, and my overall experience at GEOINT helped me see our industry from a new perspective and helped facilitate new ideas that will help me grow my tradecraft as a Geospatial Analyst. Thank you to NV5 and the Intel leadership for allowing me to attend and participate this year.


Topics: Asset Inventory, Mapping & Visualization, Machine Learning & AI, Solution Design & Development, Enterprise GIS Architecture, Data Transformation, GIS Implementation, Cloud