Monday, November 26, 2012

GeoEye Expert Spotlight: Dr. Colleen “Kelly” McCue

GeoEye employees are elevating insight to bring you secure, timely, and accurate location information. The company’s staff is comprised of bright and talented individuals with diverse backgrounds who work hard to ensure customer satisfaction. Take a closer look at some of the people who help to make GeoEye great.

We know that GeoEye is collecting and distributing high-quality satellite imagery that delivers clear insight and allows our customers to “see change”. In order to extract deeper insights, the staff at GeoEye Analytics takes imagery and combines it with other sources of geospatial and human geography information. GeoEye Analytics delivers geospatial analytic assessments intended to answer tough questions and allow our customers to “understand and anticipate change”.

Dr. Colleen “Kelly” McCue is a subject matter expert at the company’s McLean, Va. office, with extensive knowledge of national security and law enforcement. Kelly uses her knowledge to tackle geospatial projects on a global scale. For example, Kelly has been heavily involved with predictive analysis, modeling the activity of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Africa. Improved understanding of LRA movements will enable better response to and prevention of threats from this violent group. Kelly determines how geospatial and human geography data can answer critical questions for our customers, like “How can resources be optimized to keep people safe?”

Kelly studied Psychology at the University of Illinois – Chicago before earning her Ph.D. in the same field at Dartmouth College. Her education led her to a postdoctoral fellowship at the Medical College of Virginia and helped shift her focus toward analyzing violent crimes. She worked with state and local police departments, assisting with investigations into criminal activities. Her involvement with high-profile cases enhanced her skills and prepared her for increasingly challenging projects.

Often, the work she does is proprietary, given its sensitive nature. She frequently deals with dangerous subjects and issues with global impact. Some of her work focuses on providing assistance to people in need, like the modeling of LRA movements in Africa. At other times, Kelly focuses on projects that make a difference right here at home. She applies her knowledge about consumer behavior and place preferences to predict trends in criminal behaviors. She also draws correlations between public health and public safety. While it is important to be able to accurately predict a likely result, it is not always possible to prevent or change a particular outcome. Still, Kelly notes that it is truly “a privilege to be a part of the solution.”

Given the opportunity, Kelly would like to join an embedded team and apply her talents in the field more often. She appreciates the challenge of hands-on work and knows how rewarding it can be to get up close to a problem to find the solution. She feels fortunate to work alongside many gifted individuals serving in unique places around the world.

During her childhood days of star gazing in the backyard with her father and throughout her career, she has embraced her love of science and channeled her passion to make a positive impact. She even recently discovered that her father was part of the Corona project, a secretive satellite surveillance project developed in the Cold War. Perhaps, even though it was unknown to her growing up, her father’s work inspired her own professional endeavors.

Dr. McCue’s research is published in various journals and book chapters, and she has also written a book entitled Data Mining and Predictive Analysis: Intelligence Gathering and Crime Analysis. Visit her Web site to learn more about her fascinating background:

Friday, November 2, 2012

GeoEye Expert Spotlight: Tanya Schoor

GeoEye employees are elevating insight to bring you secure, timely, and accurate location information. The company’s staff is comprised of bright and talented individuals with diverse backgrounds who work hard to ensure customer satisfaction. Take a closer look at some of the people who help to make GeoEye great.

Have you ever wondered how satellite images are taken? We all love the unique perspective that our “eyes in the sky” can provide, but we rarely consider the behind-the-scenes work that goes into producing quality imagery. To gain a little insight, here is a geospatial expert we think you should know.

Tanya Schoor is one of GeoEye’s Satellite Collection Planners. The Collection Planning team, led by Billy Pfeiler, is made up of individuals in both the Herndon and Thornton offices. This group keeps track of orders and generates the most efficient plans for tasking GeoEye’s satellites. They monitor variables like weather conditions and order due dates to determine the best use of resources, seeking to fulfill customer requests while maximizing collections.

Tanya brings a unique skill set to the Collection Planning team. She graduated from The Ohio State University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography, focused in Atmospheric Science. This led to several internships with the National Weather Service and television stations in Columbus, Ohio. Her first job out of college was at a local television station, working both behind-the-scenes and on-air as a weekend meteorologist. Tanya came to GeoEye in July 2008, joining the Customer Support department as an Associate Channel Partner Representative. She enjoyed working directly with international customers before transitioning to the role of Collection Planner in September 2009 .

“Making the move to Collection Planning gave me the opportunity to apply my weather forecasting skills in a way that is meaningful to the company,” she says . “I am able to use my knowledge to help locate the targets that are most likely to result in successful collections.”

As a member of the Satellite Collection Planning group, Tanya has helped track the success of GeoEye’s weather resources. She has compiled data on predicted vs. actual cloud cover and located new, effective tools for cloud cover predictions. Weather forecasting is vital to the success of GeoEye’s mission and Tanya is proud to be able to offer valuable support with her meteorological background. She can’t control the weather, but she can task orders that are predicted to have fewer clouds. Ultimately, this should result in more cloud-free imagery and higher revenue for the company.

Moving forward, GeoEye will continue to study the accuracy of weather resources and ensure the best data is considered in collection planning procedures. Tanya and the Satellite Collection Planning team are committed to obtaining the highest quality satellite imagery. Their knowledge and expertise are integral to GeoEye’s operations, and their contributions are an important part of GeoEye’s unparalleled customer support.


Q: What is most interesting and challenging about your work?

A: Collection planning is dynamic and always changing. The orders we receive and the forecasted weather are different every day. It’s like figuring out how to fit the pieces into a puzzle.

Q: If you could trade jobs with anyone in the company, who would it be and why?

A: There are so many unique jobs in the company; there is definitely something for everyone! I would love to work in the Marketing Department and have the chance to use some of my skills from my days in broadcasting.

Q: What contributions will you make to further elevate insight in the future?

A: I hope to continue to use my background in meteorology to enhance our weather predictions and improve the cloud cover scores in our imagery. It may not be possible to have 100% cloud-free imagery, but we can always do better!