ST. LOUIS—The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) later this year plans to award a new contract to help in monitoring for economic indicators using remote sensing data, agency officials said on Monday.

The LUNO contract will succeed the existing Economic Indicator Monitoring (EIM), which is considered a pilot effort and was awarded in August 2021 for $29 million to BAE Systems, Ball Aerospace

[BALL], BlackSky Technology [BKSY], Continental Mapping Consultants, and Royce Geospatial Consultants, all of whom compete for delivery orders.

The demand for the analytics and services under EIM has been strong and in November 2022 the agency increased the value of the contract to $60 million. The goal of the program has been to better understand global economic activity and trends to aid policymakers.

NGA Director Vice Adm. Frank Whitworth told attendees at the GEOINT 2023 Symposium here that the EIM contract has “provided shareable commercial analytics with valuable information to support our I&W (indicators and warning) and monitoring missions.”

Late last November, NGA released a Request for Information through the intelligence community’s Acquisition Research Center to gauge industry interest in LUNO, which will be a more “comprehensive vehicle” than the EIM pilot, James Griffith, director of the Source and Operations Management within NGA, said during a media roundtable at the event.

The EIM contract has offered NGA the opportunity to examine different “commercial activities, services, computer vision, those kinds of things and how to bring that into the agency and operationalize it,” Griffith said. The LUNO contract vehicle is the “next step,” which is to nimbly deliver these services and capabilities “so they are operationally relevant,” he said.

The EIM contract will be ending but Griffith said it’s premature to assume that LUNO will acquire the same things as the current contract as the acquisition strategy is still in development. It will include the “same types of activities and actually more activities,” he said, adding that NGA has “expanded the number of areas that we are looking at it because, again, the EIM contract was really intended to let us figure out how to do it.”

A Request for Proposals for LUNO is expected in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2023.