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Vice Adm. Robert Sharp: US Needs ‘Steady Stream’ of Geomatics Professionals

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Vice Adm. Robert Sharp
Vice Adm. Robert Sharp Director NGA

Vice Adm. Robert Sharp, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and a two-time Wash100 Award recipient, said the U.S. should develop the next generation of geomatics scientists, mathematicians and engineers to maintain U.S. national security, support NGA’s Moonshot strategy and safeguard the country’s advantage in the field.

“We need people to develop and manage cutting-edge geomatics methods and technology. To do that, we need students studying in this field now at our colleges and universities, and even delving into geomatics at the high-school level,” he wrote in an opinion piece posted Sunday on C4ISRNET.

He described geomatics as the “science of determining the ‘where’ and ‘when’ — either in, on or above the ever-changing Earth’s surface.”

Sharp said the U.S. should initiate actions to “create a steady stream” of geomatics professionals in order to compete with China and other countries that are investing in geomatics technology and students’ education.

He said NGA launched a strategy to employ college graduates in science, technology, engineering and math and educate them in the field of geomatics through the agency’s distance learning program.

“This enables our graduates to increase their knowledge while serving the mission,” Sharp added.