In any disaster response situation, information is the true currency that spells the difference between life and death. The ability to share this information is even more vital.

This is why the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has opened up its Mobile Awareness GEOINT Environment (MAGE) mobile app to the public.   Developed to support first responders deploying in the event of natural disasters, the app allows individuals to create geotagged field reports and record observations containing media components such as photos, videos and voice recordings, then share those reports instantly with other team members.

“MAGE allows teams across multiple agencies that normally can’t communicate in real-time during security events to quickly and easily start sharing geospatial information,” said Ben Tuttle, Ph.D, NGA’s mobile apps team lead, in a recent press release.

According to this recent FCW article, the app helped security personnel at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.  In addition, overall, the intelligence agency is no stranger to support disaster response situations.  In November 2013, the NGA set up a working unit that used data from commercial satellites and airborne platforms to aid in the international response to Typhoon Haiyan.

More recently, the NGA provided geospatial expertise and damage assessments to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for flooded areas in West Virginia earlier this month. It has supported FEMA by providing geospatial analysis of flood damage in Texas and Louisiana in March.

For modernizing the way government responds to disasters, we are naming the NGA as this week’s GovTransformer. Stay tuned for our ongoing coverage of other federal executives and their agencies that are truly transforming how they support mission goals through the most effective use of IT.