The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and National Reconnaissance Office are eager to compare their near-term needs with the capabilities of companies that obtain data from small satellites or have innovative ways of using space-based data to make sense of activity on the ground.

“It comes down to change and activity,” Kevin Ayers, director of the NGA’s Commercial GEOINT Activity Engagement Division, said at the Small Satellite Conference in Logan, Utah, earlier this month. “What changed since the last time we took an image and what the hell is going on?”

To find out how companies can help it answer those questions,  NGA and the National Reconnaissance Office formed the Commercial GEOINT Activity (CGA) in 2016 to take advantage of emerging private sector initiatives. CGA will use the  Leaderboard to “rack and stack those companies so we can have a better sense of what is going to make the biggest difference for us,” Ayers said.

CGA is focusing on near-term capabilities. For firms establishing satellite constellations, CGA wants to know what imagery products it will be able to purchase within 18 months. For data providers, CGA wants to know what data products will be available in a similar timeframe.

Companies can submit that information through the CGA Leaderboard and update it as necessary, Ayers said.

CGA also will consider risk factors, such as the likelihood a specific company will still exist in 18 to 24 months and the level of difficulty of integrating a firm’s products with the agency’s legacy computer networks.

To help people find their way to the Leaderboard, Ayers sang a jingle. “If you have something good to say:”

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...