The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) announced Tuesday that it intends to award Google a $27 million sole source contract for visualization technology, the largest known contract between the Internet firm and a national security agency.
NGA says that it is awarding the contract without competition because it needs to have unlimited access to Google Earth Enterprise services and software and to provide other government agencies access to that data at an unclassified level. Only Google can provide those services, according to NGA’s announcement posted on FedbizOpps.gov.
As we noted here last month, the original announcement of the sole source contract for Google prompted an unsuccessful protest from Microsoft that its Bing search engine could provide such services.
The one-year renewable contract appears to be an outgrowth of the NGA’s use of Google Earth technology in highly classified government activities. In its announcement, NGA stated that it has already made “a significant investment” in Google Earth through visualization services “on SECRET and TOP SECRET government networks.”
On its Web site, NGA describes itself as “a Department of Defense combat support agency” which “develops imagery and map-based intelligence solutions for U.S. national defense, homeland security and safety of navigation.”