UPDATE: As of June 2017, Earth Observation Solutions is now on the GSA Schedule! The Special Item Number currently includes 7 approved vendors.
Following recent trends of new and unique Special Item Numbers (SINs) on GSA’s IT Schedule 70 –ranging from health IT to cybersecurity services— the General Services Administration (GSA) has released a Request for Information (RFI) for a possible new SIN. GSA is looking to “address the federal government’s growing need for earth observation services which unite multiple technologies including satellite imagery/communication, IT security, and content management/distribution” into a single geospatial earth observation solutions category. While the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has been awarding contracts for such solutions through programs like EMERALD, which was a 100% small-business set-aside, and the Commercial Initiative to Buy Operationally Responsive GEOINT (CIBORG), a new partnership between NGA and GSA to leverage existing schedules and programs for geospatial observation services.
However, both GSA and NGA recognize that the agency will not be the only customer for such services, and that more can be done to expand commercial geospatial observation services in the federal contracting realm.
Recognizing the growing capabilities of commercial satellite imagery providers, NGA began collaborating with GSA in an effort to circumvent NGA’s traditional acquisition process as an intelligence agency, and allow greater access to companies providing needed services. However, since this is still a new and growing field, NGA also explained that procuring services through GSA’s Multiple Award Schedules, like IT Schedule 70, also provides NGA some safety, preventing the agency from getting involved in long-term contracts with a company that may fail. Because this is still an emerging industry, NGA has been supportive of the new GSA “Making it Easier” program, something EZGovOpps has explained in detail, which provides multiple resources specifically for companies looking to be listed on IT Schedule 70.
Earth Observation Solutions
As much progress as the NGA-GSA partnership has made in making this budding industry more accessible, GSA believes that more can be done, particularly as more and more agencies separate from NGA request similar services. To that end, GSA is proposing the new Earth Observation Solutions SIN as a way to re-organize commercial geospatial services into a single category on IT Schedule 70, benefiting both the federal government and the commercial satellite industry.
Beyond providing commercial satellite imagery, the proposed SIN would encompass a large number of related services as outlined in the proposed SIN description including:
- worldwide digital transmission, internet, data, and video services
- direct-downlink and delivery services including ground and mobile ground terminals, direct to cell phones, ships, and aircraft
- crowdsourcing and related emerging technologies
- sensor data including LiDAR, hyperspectral, and emerging technologies
The crowdsourcing capabilities may become very important, as the proposed Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) description includes a “Social media services” section for the use of crowdsourcing products and services.
Like the other unique Schedule 70 SINs that GSA has put into place, the proposed Earth Observations Solutions SIN may provide a much larger platform for companies to provide these specialized services to the entire federal government. As GSA noted, “The earth observation industry has experienced accelerated growth.” The industry is bound to continue growing, and GSA is now making great strides in helping both the federal government and companies take advantage of these opportunities.
Interested in learning more about NGA contracts, IT Schedule 70 activity, or a more detailed profile of the GSA? EZGovOpps has the market intelligence needed to win contracts and grow your business. In less than 5 minutes, you will have access to a platform built for success.
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