Growing Authoritative Content and Public Trust

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is partnering with expert non-profit groups to grow public-facing, authoritative open source intelligence on various strategic, economic, and humanitarian intelligence topics that tend to be under-reported within in-depth or long-form formats. This authoritative open source content is created for two purposes: 1) it is cited for internal production purposes and 2) it grows public trust by increasing transparency around shared public-private interest in various intelligence topics that are fit for public consumption. The transparency thrust aligns with revised Intelligence Community Directive 107 to inform the public about IC activities to greatest extent possible. The NGA Tearline Project delivers real-world transparency examples. For this work, the NGA Tearline Project received the IC Transparency Team of the Year Award from the Office of Director of National Intelligence. Lastly, the Tearline Project also aligns with Intelligence Community Directive 205 to expand analytic outreach with outside expert groups to grow alternative ideas and new knowledge bases.

NGA's partners maintain full editorial independence. NGA helps review how our partners create content not what they create in order to grow authoritative content. Tearline's content syndicates to several .gov and .mil channels so partners can reach new audiences. This concept builds upon on the precedent of the CIA World Factbook but pushes it beyond reference material to include original research.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between NGA and partner organization sets the tone and culture of the collaboration. Here's a sample of the terms and conditions of a data access and methodology review arrangement:

  • The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and Organization X have entered into a data access agreement. NGA will extend access to commercial and unclassified geospatial data to Organization X in return for Organization X's expertise documenting Y. This data access agreement will increase the frequency and granularity of public reporting on topic Y.
  • NGA does not exercise editorial control over Organization X's content, analytic conclusions, or prescriptions. NGA supplies data and reviews Organizations X's methodologies based on NGA's long experience with geospatial analysis.
  • For example, independent fact-checking is a methodology used in journalism to reduce errors not to control story lines. In software development, a two-person code review prior to merging the code mitigates developers from "grading their own homework" not to control output. In the context of NGA's various partnerships, NGA will review Organization X's use of various structured analytic techniques such as looking for biases favoring centralized direction versus random chance to reduce errors not to control story lines.

Records Management

Using Tearline (government-controlled system) as the center of partner collaboration helps the government with records management, version control, tracking the outgoing commercial imagery, and syndication to other government platforms. After first citation in Tearline, our partners are free to re-purpose the NGA-funded imagery and collaborative content to their web properties with attribution of our partnership and a link back to the original imagery and content (see RAND example of re-purposing with attribution). The report locked at the .mil link covers the extent of the arrangement. Any other imagery, content, or commentary added during the re-purposing process is clearly delineated.

Government Syndication Reach and Feedback

Tearline integrates with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's under the Public's Daily Brief and NGA's homepage under the Partners tab. NGA passes unclassified feedback to our partners regarding how the collaborative content was used within NGA and the IC in order to demonstrate how it reaches new audiences.

Release Tempo

High-quality original content takes times to create. Tearline is not a situational awareness platform or news aggregator. Several in-depth or long-form articles will be published quarterly.


You can integrate this content into your services by coding against the API or using a small snippet of embed code. You can apply your own style sheets and filters with this small snippet of embed code.

API Reference: 3rd-Party Integration

Embed Code

Installation instructions (PDF)

A successful embed running on your site without customized style or filters looks like this:


Tearline Apps

The web browser version responds well on any modern smartphone or tablet. Native apps are also available in the Apple Store and Google Play. The functionality of the app is parred down slightly from the web version. Search for "Tearline."

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Tearline Project Help

If you have any questions or you would like to help produce authoritative content, please reach out.