The 2017 Lt. Michael P. Murphy Award in Geospatial Intelligence was recently presented to Robert J. Farnsworth, a retired U.S. Army reconnaissance engineer. He was recognized at the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation’s (USGIF) GEOINT 2017 Symposium.

Farnsworth is currently a senior consultant of geospatial data for KeyW Corporation in support of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). After serving 12 years in the U.S. Army, Farnsworth retired in 2009 following injuries sustained while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Keith J. Masback, USGIF CEO; Nancy S. Coleman, vice president of corporate communications at DigitalGlobe and a board member of the DigitalGlobe Foundation; and Todd S. Bacastow, professor of practice of GEOINT at Pennsylvania State University, presented the award to Farnsworth on the Government Pavilion Stage in the GEOINT 2017 Exhibit Hall.

“Our program is online and has served military in combat zones,” Bacastow, said. “Robert was one such military student. I first met Robert in October 2007 through an email in which he described how he just passed the protective barriers in the front of the dining facility in Iraq when two mortar rounds landed close to him. He went on to say that he wanted ‘to finish the three exams by Sunday, but may need another day or two.’”

The Murphy Award is named for Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a distinguished Penn State alumnus. Murphy was killed June 28, 2005, by enemy forces during a reconnaissance mission in Afghanistan. For his selfless leadership and courageous actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

The Murphy Award recognizes achievement by a Penn State graduate who is serving or has served in the U.S. Armed Forces or IC. Recipients are chosen based upon demonstration of exceptional contributions to the discipline after completing Penn State’s graduate certificate in geospatial intelligence.

Also receiving the 2017 Lt. Michael P. Murphy Award is U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Drew Cavanagh, who will be recognized at Penn State’s Military Appreciation Day Nov. 11 in State College, Penn.

“USGIF is honored to be a part of supporting this annual award given in the name of Lt. Murphy,” Masback said. “The ability to present this award at the GEOINT Symposium is a sobering reminder of the reason we all work so hard to continually improve the capabilities of the GEOINT Community. Our dedication to service members, first responders, emergency managers, and relief workers who depend on geospatial intelligence to accomplish their respective missions must never waver.”


USGIF is a nonprofit educational foundation dedicated to promoting the geospatial intelligence tradecraft and developing a stronger GEOINT Community with government, industry, academia, professional organizations, and individuals who develop and apply geospatial intelligence to address national security challenges.