NGA DevCorps Team Up with Army Cadets for Land Navigation Mission

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NGA DevCorps took a class in land navigation from Army ROTC cadets earlier this month.

The programme was created by DevCorps Branch Chief Rodney “RJ” Mosquito and conducted by Army ROTC cadets, in coordination with Missouri Army National Guard.

The day started in the classroom, where cadets taught DevCorps members about map reading, using land navigation tools, and pace counting by determining the average step count over 100 metres.

During the lesson, cadets explained that the true nature of land features cannot always be captured on the topographical maps used for land navigation.

Army Lt. Col. Ray Kuderka, professor of military science for the Gateway Battalion, relayed the story of a Joint Special Operations Command mission in Afghanistan. A high-stakes mission had been planned using the most cutting-edge technologies and best maps available, but had to be aborted because of a harsh landscape that hadn’t been detected.

“This story clearly illustrates why geospatial intel products from DevCorps, and NGA must be timely, relevant and accurate,” said Mosquito.

When school was out, the group piled into three Blackhawks and flew over to complete a mission in Weldon Springs, Missouri. In teams, they put what they had learned into practice as they shot azimuths to their navigation points.

Through the exercise, Mosquito said he was “trying to discover a way for software developers to gain the perspective of our Warfighters by walking a mile in their shoes.”

With his own military experience in mind, Mosquito understood the value of teaching DevCorps software developers to navigate land using a map and compass.

In summary of the day, Mosquito added, “this event continues to demonstrate how the NGA workforce can effectively [work with] local, state, and academic institutions, in order to promote teamwork and knowledge transfer in the furtherance of our geospatial mission.”

It’s so encouraging to see three letter government agencies like NGA investing in young people, the future of geospatial intelligence (GEOINT). Not only did this exercise introduce their team to a fresh perspective on land navigation, but the lesson was delivered by skilled young people. With programmes like this in place to inspire the next generation, the GEOINT sector can expand, advance and progress.

EVONA are passionate about cultivating the future of STEM industries. We were thrilled to announce Janna Chapman as the winner of the EVONA Scholarship for Diversity in STEM, in partnership with the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF). Janna is a talented and driven young person who wants to use GEOINT to address pressing environmental issues. We’re happy to be supporting Janna through her master’s in geospatial science.

It’s great to see our values aligning with an increasing number of agencies like NGA. We hope to see more influential organisations following in their footsteps to ensure a vibrant future for the sector.