New Geospatial Software Export Restrictions to the EAR

Geospatial Software Export Restrictions

New EAR Export Restrictions of Geospatial Software

The Bureau of Industry and Science placed restriction on the export of geospatial software on January 6, 2020.  This ruling classifies software specially designed to automate the analysis of geospatial imagery, as specified, under the Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 0Y521 series, specifically under ECCN 0D521.  This ruling which effects exports to all countries except Canada, was determined to be necessary because these items could provide significant military or intelligence advantage to the United States.

What is Geospatial Software?

Geospatial software is a growing field of technology involved with mapping and analysis of the Earth’s surface.  It is a technology used to acquire, manipulate, and store geographic information.  Technologies that utilize geospatial software include Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Internet Mapping.   As an analysis tool it can be used by businesses to understand trends at specific locations by understanding demographics, availability of natural resources, agricultural trends, and environmental conditions.

Because such powerful tools can also be used for a wide variety of intelligence gathering activities by unfriendly nations the new export restrictions were expected.  They will, however, place limitations on a large number of commercial, proprietary, and open source developers of software.  Included on the list of players are some rather large companies like Microsoft and Autodesk.  It will be necessary for these companies to place serious controls over the distribution of their products to prevent non-compliance.

The Need to Stay Aware

As technology develops into new market segments controls on the export of these items must be clarified.  EAR and International Trade in Arms Regulations (ITAR) are therefore a very dynamic.  For companies that are involved in export, keeping in step with these new regulations can be a challenge.  Maintaining an effective export control program for either commercial or military markets requires constant vigilance and education.  CVG Strategy can help with Export Classification, ITAR Training, and Anti-Boycott Regulations. 

Our consultants are premier providers of customized ITAR Consulting and ITAR & Export Compliance Programs and Training that addresses critical U.S. Government regulations, from Export Administration Regulations (EAR), to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC) and other regulatory agencies and more.


Kevin Gholston

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