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Abe Usher - HumanGeo Group. Washington D.C. Metro Area, VA, US

Abe Usher

Chief Innovation Officer | HumanGeo Group

Washington D.C. Metro Area, VA, UNITED STATES

Chief Technology Officer at HumanGeo Group




Heatmaps are the Heat BigData Meets the Federal Data Center 2012 humangeo smn Geohash: Integration of Disparate Geospatial Data


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Big Social Data: The Spatial Turn in Big Data




Abe Usher is the Chief Technology Officer of the HumanGeo Group, a Big Data analysis company.

Previously, Usher was an engineer at Google where he worked on the integration of search and geospatial technologies such as Google Maps.

Usher has spoken before audiences at Harvard Business School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, General Electric, the Nielson Company, National Defense University, the Washington Convention Center, the Portland Convention Center, and Whitehall Place.

He has served as a keynote speaker on discussions related to Big Data analysis, location intelligence, and cyber security.

Usher's ideas have been featured in leading publications such as Wired Magazine, Business Week, Network World, CNet News, Trajectory Magazine, and the Geospatial Intelligence Forum.

Before working at HumanGeo or Google, Usher served as a cryptologist in the US Air Force and as an Infantry leader in the US Army. A graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, Usher lives in Virginia near Washington, DC.

Fun facts:
In 2005 Usher coined the term "pod slurping" to describe the emerging trend of using portable devices (e.g. iPods) to steal data from computer end-points like laptops.

In 2008 the Macquarie Dictionary (the Australian equivalent of Webster's Dictionary in America) selected pod slurping as the word of the year, and added it to the Macquarie Dictionary - the official record of Australian English language.

Industry Expertise (5)

Information Technology and Services

Information Services


Social Media

IT Services/Consulting

Areas of Expertise (5)


Social Network Analysis

Big Data

Data Science

Data Analysis

Accomplishments (3)

Certified Information System Security Professional (professional)


CISSP certification is a globally recognized standard of achievement that confirms an individual's knowledge in the field of information security. CISSPs are information assurance professionals who define the architecture, design, management and/or controls that assure the security of business environments. It was the first certification in the field of information security to meet the stringent requirements of ISO/IEC Standard 17024.

Cloudera Certified Hadoop Professional (professional)


ndividuals who achieve the Cloudera Certified Developer for Apache Hadoop certification have demonstrated their technical knowledge, skill and ability to write, maintain, and optimize Apache Hadoop development projects. - See more at:

Competent Toastmaster Certification (CTM) (professional)


I completed the Toastmaster 'competent communicator' certification, the international gold-standard for public speaking certification.

Education (4)

George Mason University: MS, Information Systems 2003

Graduate research included: * automated detection of virtual communities through analysis of e-mail and USENET messages (using Java and MySQL) * real-time awareness of the emergence and disappearance of community focus (using Python, Java, and MySQL) * application of software agents (bots) for system administrator tasks (using Perl)

West Point: BS, German and Arabic 1996

Created implementation of high-speed searching and sorting algorithms (using Pascal and C)

Cloudera: Cloudera Certified Hadoop Professional, Cloud Computing 2009

International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium: CISSP, Information Security 2003

Affiliations (4)

  • ISSA
  • American Mensa
  • ACM
  • usgif

Testimonials (1)

Rob Painter, Managing Director | Razor's Edge Ventures

Abe represents the best of Google Enterprise as he is committed to solving tough technical challenges and effectively evangelizing the art of the possible. Abe's strengths that I have experienced lie in a deep and wide-ranging body of technical knowledge and expertise across not only Google Enterprise products but in particular his talent operating within the dark nooks and crannies of INFOSEC within tough, secure government settings as well a deep expertise in social networking and its application to operational support and analysis. He is one of the few true technical "rock stars" I have been honored to work with and look forward to our tackling some touch, meaningful problems ahead -- I do not hesitate to give Abe a big thumbs up!

Event Appearances (9)

Crowdsourcing Customer Insights Through Open Location Data

Location Symposium  The Nielsen Company, San Diego, CA


Big Data Meets the Federal Data Center

Cloud Computing and Virtualization Expo  Washington Convention Center, Washington DC


HeatMaps are the Heat

State of the Map Conference, PDX  Portland Convention Center, Portland, Orgeon


Multi-Source Geospatial Data

2012 Government Data Summit  National Defense University


Finding Technology Innovation in Unexpected Places: Lessons from Special Operations and Google

Harvard Business School Quarterly Innovation Symposium  Harvard Business School


Understanding the Geospatial Context of Big Data

Marketing Science Institute Quarterly Innovation Conference  Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Big Social Data

Summer Semester Technology Webinar  University of Maryland, Baltimore-County (UMBC)


Social Media Foundations

International Conference "Social Media: Risks and Opportunities"  Tallinn, Estonia


Big Data Technology and the Social Sciences

Big Data Lecture  Mannheim, Germany


Sample Talks (5)

Big Data Meets the Federal Data Center

We all know there is more data than ever. But there's not just more of it, it is much less predictable in format, and it's also hitting data centers at great speed as bandwidth increases and access becomes more pervasive. This talk presented challenges, trends, directions, architectures, and solutions.

HeatMaps are the Heat

This presentation discussed the rapidly emerging landscape of technologies and data related to location intelligence. As a capstone, it presented a method of using kernel density (heatmap) technology to understand trends that can be visualized in large scale geospatial data.

Finding Technology Innovation in Unexpected Places: Lessons from Special Operations and Google

I presented an overview of applied technology innovation to a Seminar at Harvard Business School.

Understanding the Geospatial Context of Big Data

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I presented an overview of the changing landscape of location intelligence as it is related to Big Data technologies. More than two-dozen Fortune 500 companies were present for my briefing, as part of an event sponsored by the Marketing Science Institute.

Big Data Technology and the Social Sciences

Ex-Google engineer Abe Usher presents a talk about Big Data technology and methods applicable to social science. Participants will learn techniques that are used by Google engineers to collect, clean, analyze, and visualize Big Data. Additionally Mr. Usher will provide URLs to sample data, open source applications, and code to those interested in applying these Big Data methods themselves. Some familiarity with basic statistics will be useful in understanding the talk, but no knowledge of coding or software development is required. Come learn about what Big Data really means at this informative and humorous talk.



  • Keynote
  • Moderator
  • Panelist
  • Workshop Leader
  • Host/MC


2500 to 10000

Articles (3)

Re-Defining the Digital Human Geography Space

CIO Review


Social media provides a variety of context data to help understand business environments better. The infusion of social media’s contextual data with 21st century location-based smart systems is generating geospatial context, which is helping forward-thinking companies to deliver tailor-made information to users based on location. Highlighting the importance of geo-location data is HumanGeo, a technology and analytics innovator in geospatial context with robust capabilities in hyper-local advertising, threat monitoring, and activity modeling.

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Former Special Ops Innovators Launch Big Data Startup

Arlington NOW Magazine


When launching a service-based technology startup, it helps to be able to walk into a meeting and own the room. Al DiLeonardo and Abe Usher, the co-founders of HumanGeo, rarely have to worry about that. The two met in 2007 when DiLeonardo, working for the U.S. Army Special Ops Command (SOCOM) visited Google’s D.C. headquarters to try to recruit technology talent for a new data project. Sitting in their new office conference room on the top floor of a Ballston startup, DiLeonardo shrugs and admits he might be the only person to have walked into a Google office hoping to lure people away. Most of the employees laughed it off, but Usher — a graduate of West Point and former NSA cryptologist — chased DiLeonardo down in the parking lot and accepted the job.

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Human Geography, an Evolving Discipline

Geospatial Intelligence Forum


As Web 2.0 hype has worn off and the participatory use of the Internet becomes a societal norm, we are witnessing an unprecedented explosion in the creation and analysis of geospatial data. Just as major governments are reducing their investments in location intelligence (due to budget reductions), individuals and non-government organizations (NGOs) are fueling a bonfire of innovation in the world of GIS data. This timely innovation is driven in response to several recent trends: 1. The explosion of social networks for sharing information 2. The proliferation of smartphones and GPS technology 3. Web-based planning and operations for humanitarian relief and crisis response. There are at least three important socio-technological advances that are affecting human geography: how users are co-creating content through the participatory Internet; how new methods are available for exploring and analyzing data; and how emergency responders are finding new ways to use old technologies

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