NGA Spectral Imagery Scientist

Supporting Food and Water Security

Can a satellite tell you who has enough to eat and who doesn’t? Manuela uses her expertise as a Spectral Imagery Scientist to determine where in the world food is scarce and aid is required.

Spectral Imagery Scientists at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) are experts at interpreting different types of imagery and understanding the layers of information it conveys—information that a layman looking at a satellite image likely wouldn’t even notice. They support teams of analysts focusing on various global or regional issues, developing intelligence products that are often used by policy-makers and senior leaders at other U.S. government agencies to make decisions.

Manuela works in NGA’s Office of Sciences and Methodologies and directly supports the Natural Resources Branch, concentrating on food and water security. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is a key customer of her branch’s intelligence products, which are used to determine where to distribute U.S. relief funds to foreign countries facing food shortages and similar humanitarian crises. Lack of food and clean water can lead to unrest and political instability abroad, which in turn impacts U.S. national security.

“I feel like I work on something that matters…. I get to work on the issues that are not only important to me but I think have a lasting impact on who we are as an agency and what we do for national security.” —Manuela, Spectral Imagery Scientist, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Spectral Imagery Scientists like Manuela use a variety of imagery sources, data sets, and analytical tools in their work. They apply their technical and subject-matter expertise to issues that ultimately affect not only U.S. support to other nations but also regional and global stability.

Would you like to learn more about Imagery Scientists and similar careers in the IC? Check out our Careers page. Learn more about NGA.