GREENBELT, MD, 30 May 2007
ASRC Management Services (ASRC MS) of Greenbelt, MD, managers of the Prime Vendor Contract (PVC) effort for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agriculture Service, Office of Global Analysis (OGA), announces GCS Research, LLC (GCS) as the latest addition to the Prime Vendor Contract.
GCS, Missoula, MT, has recently become a prime vendor on the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation Management Services Prime Vendor Contract for the USDA FAS/IPAB. GCS will be providing their flagship product GeoMarc®.
GeoMarc is the world's first and only geospatial digital watermarking solution for embedding and linking added intelligence and metadata into pixels of raster datasets. With the addition of GCS Research's GeoMarc product family many of the USDA FAS/IPAB existing products and services can now be coupled with GeoMarc to enhance the utility within their demanding workflows for raster data and related analytics. GeoMarc consists of a family of products designed to accomplish both production applications as well as a desktop exploitation client that can both add and extract additional value from the imperceptibly watermarked images using the embedded data in the image. Since the application applies watermarks according to the geospatial properties of a raster image, the capability to associate and link other spatial and non-spatial data with specific pixels is now available.
ASRC Management Services, a subsidiary of Alaska's Arctic Slope Regional Corp., has several contracts in its portfolio for providing various management and support activities at various government agencies including USDA, NASA, and USGS. Global Marketing Insights, Inc. Cleveland, OH, is responsible for negotiating and managing the on-going prime vendor contract vehicle with ASRC MS.
ASRC Management Services is an 8(a) Alaskan Native-owned Corporation that provides a full array of GIS consulting and design services. ASRC Management Services specializes in enterprise needs assessments, and ongoing geodatabase and GIS maintenance, which requires extensive and specialized knowledge of the GIS software, computer networking, database systems and GIS-related technologies such as global positioning systems (GPS) and mobile mapping applications.
ASRC Management Services provide GIS business solutions that use the most appropriate and cost effective technologies to achieve both short and long term goals for clients and works with clients to continually identify improvements that will positively affect their business operations.
The Office of Global Analysis of the USDA FAS is responsible for global crop condition assessments and estimates of area, yield, and production for grains, oilseeds, and cotton. The primary mission of OGA is to target, collect, analyze, and disseminate timely, objective, useful, and cost-effective global crop condition and agricultural market intelligence information. One of OGA's key missions is to provide unbiased commodity estimates and forecasts to create a marketing edge for U.S. producers in world markets. (Source: USDA and NASA) The Prime Vendor Contract vehicle allows them to obtain agriculture analysis solutions using satellite imagery and ancillary information quickly and cost effectively.
Brad Doorn, remote sensing coordinator for the FAS' Crop Assessment Division stated, "The premise of this contract is to promote efficiency. We are trying to make the best use of every dollar the taxpayer gives us". FAS requests from ASRC MS which type of imagery solution information they need. Then ASRC MS obtains quotes from the vendors on the Prime Vendor Contract list for the imagery or solutions required. "The Prime Vendor Contract helps the USDA achieve our goal - which is to have a contract in place that allows us to access products provided by the commercial industry and get the best price and performance possible. The Prime Vendor Contract managed by ASRC MS provides the USDA FAS with the best possible solutions at the best possible prices and meet our stringent delivery specifications', states Brad Doorn.
Established in 2002, GCS Research is an award-winning, nationally-recognized leader in geospatial information technology. At GCS Research, they believe the greatest challenge is being able to connect people with the geospatial intelligence they require in a manner they can actually use. GCS delivers a select group of products and services that allow their customers to organize, protect, visualize, analyze, and share their geospatial information across the enterprise. For additional information about GCS Research or GeoMarc, please contact Tyler Otto at (303) 475-8975 or firstname.lastname@example.org. GeoMarc information and literature can also be found at http://www.gcs-research.com/index.php/fuseaction/snnnolutions.products.htm.
Established in 1972, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation provides a wide range of capabilities in the commercial and government sectors with lines of business in: Aerospace, Base and Range Operations, Construction, Security, Engineering, Professional Services, Communications, Information Technology Services, Field Services and GIS and Geospatial Services. For more information contact Don Brown at email@example.com or call 202-720-6593
Established in 1997, Global Marketing Insights Inc. provides a wide range of geospatial industry based business planning and market research services, including targeted product/service market studies and competitive market research. For more information contact Sherry Loy at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 216-525-0600.
Tiny Tech Company Taking Off
By TYLER CHRISTENSEN of the Missoulian
A small but growing technology company in Missoula is leading the way and changing the way we use geospatial information - and riding the growing wave of international demand.
"We're somewhere between the bleeding edge and the cutting edge," said founder and president Alex Philp, who moved his company from his home basement in Missoula to the Montana Technology Enterprise Center less than three years ago.
The 12-employee company occupies several offices inside the building, and inside one of those offices is a shelf brimming with awards from industry giants both public and private, including the U.S. Geological Survey and ESRI Inc., a California-based geographic information systems company that employs more than 4,000 people.
In fact, Philp and his crew have been recognized by ESRI for three years running: The company has been ESRI's New Partner of the Year, Partner of the Year, and this year it was named Foundation Partner of the Year.
"It's a pretty rare collection we have there on our shelves," said Mike Beltz, the company's director of sales and marketing.
It's not easy for a tiny tech company like GCS to pick up these awards, Philp explained. But these awards and associations are important because they help position the company to compete on a global scale.
"We're going toe to toe with people all over the world," he said.
GCS has already completed projects for NASA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a number of private companies that don't necessarily want their competitors to know where they get the innovative technology they're using.
"We specialize in geospatial intelligence," Philp explained. "Our goal is to take a lot of complicated stuff and make it easier for people to use."
GCS Research competes within the geographic information systems, or GIS, industry, finding new ways to organize and use data from satellites. Five years ago, hardly anybody knew what GIS meant, he said. Now, it's increasingly a part of everyday life as individuals, government agencies and private businesses adopt this technology to create maps of noxious weeds, study development and growth patterns, find weak points in security systems and much, much more.
"At the end of the day," Philp said, "there isn't an industry, government or private, that doesn't use geographic information systems technology."
With so much going on at once, the industry is experiencing a period of extreme disruption, he said, adding that "in that disruption is opportunity for companies like GCS Research."
For example, one of the biggest problems facing governments and private companies right now is that they are spending billions of dollars on information they then lose because there's no efficient means of tracking it.
Philp's company created a software product, called GeoMarc, that allows data users to embed important information in every pixel of an image. The digital "watermark" that's created is invisible to the naked eye, but provides a way to call up that image and track its use. In fact, users can include whatever information they deem appropriate, and can even use it to send messages to one another.
"We have built and are selling the world's first geospatial digital watermarking software application," Philp said. "We think that will have a significant impact on how people utilize, work with and understand geospatial information."
Indeed, for the past year, GCS Research has been working on a special project using this technology for the U.S. Army. It involves watermarking digital video from unmanned vehicles.
"None of that's classified - but it's really, really close," Philp said. "We do some work with the U.S. intelligence community that we definitely can't talk about."
Philp's company is now starting its second year of work on the contract, and the Army has become its biggest customer.
All along, the company has made its way by impressing the biggest customers in the business.
Philp moved to Missoula in 1997, when he came to the University of Montana's School of Forestry to earn a doctorate degree. He landed in the Earth Observing System Education Project, funded by NASA, where he helped sift through information beamed down by satellites.
For the next three years, he watched innovation after innovation flow through the program, and thought up a few good ideas of his own. Eager to see his ideas transformed into reality, he rounded up "micro-dollars" by taking out a second mortgage on his house and started his own company.
He received no grants, and no interest from local investors. He funded the company, he said, by winning customers and recycling any revenues back into the company to position it for the next leap in technology.
Slowly but surely, the company grew. Philp eventually found partners willing to invest in the business, and added five employees shortly after moving into the space at MonTEC.
"They're a great example of a small entrepreneurial company that really carved out their niche," said Dick King, president and CEO of the Missoula Area Economic Development Corporation, the organization that oversees MonTEC.
MonTEC's mission, King explained, is to help local tech companies find ways to grow. The glaring lack of investment capital for tech companies is an issue across the nation, he pointed out, but it's an especially difficult hurdle in Montana.
For the most part, Montana does not have much in the way of an established investment environment - but as more companies like GCS survive and thrive, their success will help western Montana attract more investment capital, King said.
MonTEC helps by providing a place for these companies to do business and access to administrative tools, King said.
Philp said the technology center has helped GCS increase its visibility and professional image, and encourages his customers to think about Missoula and western Montana as a hidden treasure for new technology.
"Most people see Montana as a place for a retirement home, a vacation home, a place to play," he said. "It's not seen as a thriving place for technology innovation."
The best way to dispel that myth, he said, is to continue pushing the envelope in the international race to eclipse the competition.