Helena Independent Record
By Martin J. Kidston
What began more than 10 years ago at the University of Montana as a NASA research project has grown into a geospatial data company attempting to bid for multi-million-dollar security projects along the nation's northern border.
GCS Research, founded by Alex Philp in 2002 in an effort to find better ways of packaging remote sensing imagery, now employs 15 tech-savvy workers in a renovated Missoula office building.
The company's innovations include GeoMarc, a digital watermarking system that tags photos with “metadata,” or digital DNA. The tags allow users to gain value-added information that includes time, place and target identification, among other details.
The company, which has won contracts in both the public and private sector in its decade of growth, believes its GeoMarc technology could help save the government money and reduce the need for amassing personnel at the border.
But Philp, who testified at a U.S. Senate field hearing in Havre last month, says GCS Research can't get the attention of the Department of Homeland Security, and that has left the company frustrated.
“They don't like innovation coming from the bottom up,” Philp said during a tour of GCS headquarters in Missoula. “If it doesn't come from D.C., it isn't going to happen. You don't need to spend a gazillion dollars in Washington to get a solution.”
The S2 Corp. in Bozeman has also found ways to improve border security, which has remained a topic of interest since the Independent Record, followed by the Government Accountability Office, detailed in late 2007 the vulnerabilities terrorists could exploit by entering the county through its porous northern border.
Kristian Merkel, president of S2 Corp., expressed a similar frustration in dealing with Homeland Security, saying his company has received the runaround from Washington when bidding for projects.
“Attempting to do business with DHS, as a small business with a new innovative approach, is frustrating,” Merkel said. “I've seen little incentive for new technology to move to deployment in DHS.”
The technology developed by S2 includes “spatial spectral holography” developed at Montana State University in Bozeman. Merkel described it as a signal processing and surveillance system which uses an ultra-wideband radio frequency.
The equipment, Merkel said, would allow defense agencies to continuously identify all operating signals while locating a bandwidth where users could operate securely. It also gives operators the ability to view the full spectrum of a radar signal in real-time data.
“We want to be part of the solution,” Merkel said. “We have a technology that has proven successful at each step along its development path.”
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GCS Research is pleased to announce that it will be participating in SOCOM Tactial Network Topology (TNT) experiments during the week of August 18th. GCS team members and support partner will be demonstrating and experimenting with the Smart Data System solution, recently delivered to the US Army NVESD. The Smart Data System and associated capabilities culminates a two year project to test and evaluate the use of real-time, embedded, digital watermarking of full motion video for sensor payload enhancement, C4ISR exploitation, and network centric approaches to exploitation of mission critical GEOINT and UAS information from within the digital media stream.
Please visit GCS at Booth 531 in the Defense Showcase at the 2008 ESRI International User Conference, August 4-8, in San Diego.
GCS will be demonstrating the power of the "Networked Image", a revolutionary way to enhance geospatial workflows using GeoMarc® technology.
Additionally, GCS will be releasing GeoMarc 3.0 in conjunction with the ESRI UC. This latest release provides several key enhancements, improved performance and new feature functionality.
GeoMarc provides powerful, persistent, imperceptible geospatial digital watermarking. GeoMarc allows you to embed and extract user defined geospatial intelligence from the image pixels and provides a unique way to leverage your investment across all levels of your organization's geospatial workflow.
See you in San Diego soon!
The GCS Sales Team
(406) 532-3254 (ext 2) Main Office email@example.com