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Fascinated by geography and navigation? A career with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency might be just what you're looking for.

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National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Columbus Day isn’t much of a holiday anymore–it’s become yet another regular work and school day for many. It makes sense considering Christopher Columbus wasn’t really the guy that my 1st grade teacher taught me that he was. Still, I’m amazed by the feats of guys like Columbus (which is why I’ve written about Garmin and Facet Technology on past Columbus Days). Getting in a boat with an uncertain route to a far away destination still seems crazy to me, and these guys did it in a time when navigation equipment was quite basic. Their minds would be blown if they knew what kind of information the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (formerly the National Imagery and Mapping Agency) has. The agency is headquartered in Springfield, VA and has major facilities in St. Louis, MO (I learned about them from one of my awesome interns whose boyfriend works for the NGA). They are part of the Department of Defense, and they are tasked with providing “timely, relevant, and accurate geospatial intelligence in support of national security.”

Do You Have Geospatial Intelligence?

If you want an example of what the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency does, you’re not going to get a full answer because a lot of what they do is classified. However, they have been identified as playing a “critical role” in Operation Neptune’s Spear, which was the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. The agency’s employees operate in a number of areas including aeronautical analysis, cartography, geospatial analysis, imagery analysis, marine analysis, the physical sciences, geodesy, computer and telecommunication engineering, photogrammetry, and more. The NGA website is ok, but I highly recommend that you check out Wikipedia’s entry on the agency for a really good overview of the organization’s history and what it does.

If you like what you read, then you’ll want to take a look at the NGA’s Careers page. (Remember that we’re dealing with the federal government, so this isn’t going to be simple.) First, you’ll probably want to visit the Occupations page, where you’ll see that the NGA offers the following positions:

  • Accountants
  • Aeronautical Analyst
  • Bathymetrist
  • Contract Specialist
  • Counterintelligence Officers
  • Enterprise Account Managers
  • Geodetic Surveyors
  • Geospatial Data Stewards
  • Geospatial Intelligence Analysts
  • HD Consultants
  • Imagery Scientists
  • Imagery Intelligence Analysts
  • Information Assurance Officers
  • Maritime Analysts
  • Open Source Analysts
  • Police Officers
  • Political Geographers
  • Program Management Execution Officers
  • Project Scientists
  • Recruiters
  • Regional Geographers
  • Regional Source Analysts
  • Scientific and Technial Program Managers
  • Source Strategies Analysts
  • Systems Engineers

You won’t see most of these positions in the NGA’s Current Opportunities, so you may be better off meeting them at one of their On-Campus Recruiting Events or by reaching out to them at You may also want to read through the NGA’s Recruitment FAQs and looking at their Application Process. It’s all complicated, but that’s to be expected with one of our country’s intelligence agencies.

Links to Help You Begin Your Research

Are you amazed by what the NGA does?

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