The GEOINT Community

The Defence GEOINT Community

The Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation (AGO) provides strategic leadership to address current and emerging geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) issues through a coordinated and integrated Defence GEOINT Community.

The Defence GEOINT Community includes all of the Defence Services and Groups that contribute to the collection, analysis and dissemination of GEOINT in support of the Defence mission, or are involved in developing and sustaining GEOINT capabilities.

The Defence Geospatial Enterprise Board (DGEB) is the senior consultative and advisory body for the Defence GEOINT Community. The DGEB provides strategic-level oversight, governance, direction and coordination of the Defence GEOINT Community. It is a forum for key stakeholders to assess the performance of Defence’s GEOINT capabilities, and brings together the Defence GEOINT Community to achieve the goals of the Defence GEOINT 2030 Strategy (PDF).

The National GEOINT Community

Within Australia, there is a strong and growing GEOINT community.

AGO, through the Maritime Geospatial Branch and the Australian Hydrographic Office (AHO), provides hydrographic services on behalf of the Australian Government in accordance with the Navigation Act 2012. These services support safe international and domestic navigation in Australian waters, strengthening stability, security and sovereignty in our immediate region. The AHO maintains Australia’s, Papua New Guinea’s and Solomon Islands' portfolio of paper and electronic navigational charts, and official carriage publications to support safety of navigation, contribute to protection of the marine environment and enhance the use of the sea for maritime trade and commerce.

AGO contributes to the coordination and determination of policy and standards which cover both hydrographic surveying and charting, as well contributing to the coordination, exchange and standards related to maritime geospatial data in general. AGO is also responsible for providing direct support to the Australian Defence Force (ADF), other Australian Government departments and international partners by providing hydrographic, oceanographic and meteorology geospatial services.

In line with Defence Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities, Australia’s growing GEOINT community is further supported by the HydroScheme Industry Partnership Program (HIPP), which enables AGO, through the AHO, to partner with Australian industry to continue to meet national survey obligations and allow Navy Defence Elements to focus on military survey activities.

AGO has close working relationships with Geoscience Australia as the Australian Government onshore mapping agency. Geoscience Australia and AGO cooperate under a Strategic Partnering Arrangement, which allows for collaboration across a range of earth observation, maritime, geodesy and mapping activities. AGO contributes to some of Geoscience Australia’s key collaborative projects, including Positioning Australia, Digital Earth Australia, Digital Mapping Australia and AusSeabed.

AGO also has a close working relationship with the Bureau of Meteorology, as the Australian Government provider of meteorological and oceanographic data, products and services.

AGO works closely with the Australian Space Agency to collaborate on shared interests in building Australia’s space capability.

Nationally, AGO collaborates with a range of other organisations to provide trusted data and services, leverage innovation, embed GEOINT into everyday business, and improve our readiness to respond to a range of scenarios.

The International GEOINT Community

AGO participates in various multilateral forums, which are critical to the development of GEOINT capability, and support to our near region.

AGO works closely with key international partners in support of Defence’s strategic interests. Our bilateral and multilateral partnerships are essential to meeting increased demand for GEOINT, assuring our collective GEOINT advantage, and allowing Australia and its closest partners to be able to ‘fight off the same map’.

Australia is a member of several multinational co-production programs:

  • Multinational Geospatial Co-production Program (MGCP)
  • TanDEM-X High Resolution Elevation Data Exchange (TREx)
  • International Program for Human Geography (IPHG).

These co-production programs ensure that foundation geospatial data production is shared across participating nations. This reduces duplication, while increasing the availability, interoperability and standardisation of critical geospatial datasets. These partnerships provide member nations with the ability to adapt and respond to national priorities, natural disasters and crisis situations, with a relatively small and agile workforce.

AGO is a key contributor to the Defence Geospatial Information Working Group (DGIWG), a multinational body that provides strategic guidance and recommendations to its membership on the standardisation of geospatial data, products and services. It supports the requirements of NATO and the other alliances that members participate in, including UN-sanctioned peacekeeping.

The Australian Hydrographic Office (AHO) is a key member of the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) and contributes to international stakeholder groups and forums to advocate for Australia’s maritime geospatial interests.

Collaboration with international organisations in these fields enhances Australia’s interests by maintaining an influential position in the development of international specifications and standards and ensuring continued access to international data sharing arrangements that support national and military requirements. Specifically, in our near region, the AHO:

  • Partners with Papua New Guinea via bilateral agreement on hydrographic survey, specialist training and nautical cartography, including the dissemination of official nautical charts and publications.
  • Is the Primary Charting Authority for Solomon Islands and, in partnership, produces and disseminates official Solomon Islands nautical charts and publications.
  • Is actively engaged in the South-West Pacific Hydrographic Commission, partnering with members to develop sovereign hydrographic capability and capacity to support navigational safety, protection of the maritime environment and enhanced use of the sea for maritime trade and commerce across the South-West Pacific region.