The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) sponsors Tearline.mil, a congressionally supported publication platform that features unclassified geospatial intelligence from academic and non-profit contributors using open research and commercial imagery. The project supplies open-source intelligence to grow authoritative reports for NGA, federal partner agencies, and general public usage to support and assist in the agency's mission.
Growing Open Content Through Analytic Outreach
NGA partners with academic and non-profit contributors to create public-facing, 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 open-source intelligence is created for three primary purposes: (1) citation and usage for internal purposes, (2) strengthening analytic outreach, and (3) growing public trust by increasing transparency around a shared interest in various intelligence topics. The Tearline Project aligns with Intelligence Community Directive 205 to expand analytic outreach with outside groups to grow alternative ideas and new knowledge bases. The NGA Tearline Project delivers real-world analytic outreach content transparently. For this work, the NGA Tearline Project received the IC Transparency Team of the Year Award from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the OSINT Unit of the Year Award from the OSINT Foundation.
Tearline contributors maintain full editorial independence and are encouraged to submit topics they are passionate about researching. NGA helps review how contributors create content not what they create in order to grow open content. NGA provides GEOINT consulting services on submissions and ongoing work from practitioners and subject matter experts in your field of interest. Tearline's content syndicates to several .gov and .mil channels so contributors can reach new audiences. This concept builds on the precedent of the CIA World Factbook but pushes it beyond reference material to include original research.
A manuscript submission agreement or Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between NGA and our contributors sets the tone and culture of the collaboration. Here's a sample of the terms and conditions of a data access and consulting services arrangement:
- NGA and Contributor X have entered into a data access agreement. NGA will extend access to commercial and unclassified geospatial data to Contributor X in return for Contributor X's expertise in 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 Contributor X's content, analytic conclusions, or prescriptions. NGA supplies data and reviews Contributor X's methodologies based on NGA's long experience with geospatial analysis.
Benefits of Tearline Participation Video Explainer
Publishing your thesis, capstone work, or special project in Tearline is a good way to earn publication credit to strengthen your resume, LinkedIn profile, and overall brand. See the citation sample below:
Chris Johnson. (2023). Russia's Arctic Delimma: Permafrost Thaw Threatens Russia's Ambitions. Tearline. Retrieved from https://www.tearline.mil
If interested in pursuing publication credit, please see Publishing with Tearline for the next steps.
Government Syndication Reach and Feedback
Tearline integrates with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's intelligence.gov under the Public's Daily Brief and NGA's homepage under the Partners tab. NGA passes unclassified feedback to our contributors on how their content was used within NGA and the IC to demonstrate how it impacts new audiences.
Social Media Promotion
NGA will make video summaries for social media promotion after each Tearline report is published. NGA has hundreds of thousands of followers throughout the major social media platforms. These social media posts drive substantial traffic and attention to each new Tearline report. See an example of the summary video below and sample posts from Facebook, LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), and Instagram.
Using Tearline.mil (government-controlled system) as the center of collaboration helps the government with records management, version control, tracking the outgoing commercial imagery, and syndication to other government platforms. After initial publication in Tearline, contributors 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 after the re-purposing process is clearly delineated.
High-quality original content takes time to create. Tearline is not a situational awareness platform or news aggregator. Several in-depth or long-form reports will be published quarterly.
You can integrate Tearline content into your services by coding against the API.