20 - 22 January, 2020
Royal Lancaster London
44 (0) 207 368 9836
My DGI Story by Neil Thompson:
OMM CD, Former Director Geospatial Intelligence
Canadian Armed Forces
Neil's DGI Story At a Glance
First Year Attended: 2004 (Been attending since the start)
How He's Participated: Attendee, Speaker and Conference Chair
DGI Highlights: Over the years Neil has been involved as an attendee, running focus days, main conference chair, round table discussions and in panel discussions as well as consulting on content and format suggestions during the conference production process.
"...Upon returning home I was much better informed on how we should be making our large Geospatial Intelligence capital purchases."
I am currently Managing Partner of WC Group, where I direct all operations of WCGroup. Before that I had a long and distinguished career in the Canadian Armed Forces with more than 30 years in various command and staff positions in the defence, civilian and international intelligence communities. These included a secondment to the Government of Canada Privy Council Office (Cabinet Office) and a Branch Chief on the International Military Staff at NATO Headquarters.
I was the first Commanding Officer of the Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Centre and also a Defence Intelligence Attaché in the United Kingdom. Upon returning to Canada, I became Director Intelligence Operations within the Chief of Defence Intelligence Staff. I completed my career as the Director of Geospatial Intelligence. I was responsible for all aspects of Geospatial Intelligence in the Canadian Armed Forces and have since kept active in the Intelligence and Geospatial Intelligence fields by accepting the position of Managing Director of the WCGroup.
In 2004, the first year that DGI London started, I was the Defence Intelligence Attaché in London. The Chief of Defence in Ottawa was not sure if DGI London was worth sending a team of senior officers to the conference. The General sent me to evaluate the event. The first DGI was small but, very professional conducted and extremely effective in starting to help members of the Geospatial, mapping, remote sensing and intelligence communities understand that Geospatial Intelligence was the way of the future.
"...As DGI London went from strength to strength with the number and quality of speakers increasing it was the best event to keep up date in a complex and multi-faceted environment"
The Canadian Armed Forces have sent a strong team each year, including the Major General Chief of Defence Intelligence himself, and will again in 2016.
When I was the Director of Geospatial Intelligence I went to hear the speakers but equally important was to spend time with the solution providers in the trade show area. When I was in my Ottawa office I never had the time to visit numerous trade shows. But in London in three short days I could get an update on all the capabilities and solutions. Upon returning home I was much better informed on how we should be making our large Geospatial Intelligence capital purchases.
I had the privilege to fill several positions within the Canadian Armed Forces during the years after my tour in London and before I retired and joined the WCGroup Team. In each of the military positions Geospatial Intelligence played a key role. When supporting deployed or domestic military operations or advising senior politicians and General Officers, Geospatial intelligence is the foundation and backdrop of how we explain everything from complex geopolitical situations to providing extremity detailed targeting type knowledge.
In each of the senior positions I had depended on Geospatial Intelligence to provide the kind of high level of support and advice demanded by very senior national leaders. As DGI London went from strength to strength with the number and quality of speakers increasing it was the best event to keep up date in a complex and multi-faceted environment. When I joined the WCGroup Team, I quickly assessed that DGI London was the best place to keep up to date and to maintain and develop new networks and relationships.
"...I have made many new contacts and friends over the years at DGI."
I measure the success of DGI London by two indicators:
First by the amount of new knowledge that I acquire each year at DGI. The new information and concepts come the speakers, sponsors, senior leaders and other delegates. In the panel discussions and at coffee the real business is done. That is when the new and sometimes radical ideas are introduced.
Second, is the large group of Geospatial Intelligence professionals I have got to know over the years. The community is not large and you can make very effective contacts with members of the community from around the world. We do not always agree but, that is the strength of getting together and sharing a conference like DGI. I have made many new contacts and friends over the years at DGI.
What is different about DGI compared to other events?
- I have attended Geospatial Intelligence conferences in the UK, United States, Europe, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Canada. DGI London is unique as it has the highest quality of speakers and solution providers.
- In London the speakers provide the entire spectrum of Geospatial Intelligence. We are fortunate enough to get the most senior Officers from the UK, Europe and USA. They place Geospatial Intelligence into perspective at the highest levels. In addition there are working level analysts you can explain the trade craft and skills required in the current environment.
- Also unique is that the speakers and panel members are open to share challenges they are facing. At other conferences only the success stories are allowed to be shared.
In my opinion, DGI London is the most professional conducted, sophisticated and mature Geospatial conference in the world.