Dr. Nirav Patel is a Geospatial Data Scientist and Program Manager for both the Space and Artificial Intelligence Portfolios. In these roles, he utilizes his deep knowledge of remote sensing and geospatial sciences to evaluate technology and design new applications of commercial technology for the Department of Defense. Nirav leads the Peacetime Indications and Warning effort at the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) which fosters DoD/USG adoption of U.S commercial small satellite collection capabilities in Low Earth Orbit and associated analytics over those collections, as well as leading and assisting with Prize Challenges such as xView2 and xView3.
Prior to joining DIU, Nirav was an intern at NASA Langley Research Center (Summer 2013, DEVELOP) and researcher at NASA Ames Research Center (2015-2017) where he attempted earth science experiments during his PhD. During his PhD, Nirav was also an executive at a technology company called Dito, building out and managing different geospatial business lines. In his Masters research, Nirav worked with the State Government of Gujarat in India to make HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis medicine more accessible to patients. Nirav also spent time at the World Bank mapping human populations for the Bank’s 27 countries in their East Asia and Pacific Division.
Nirav served as a non-commissioned officer in the California Air National Guard at the 129th Rescue Wing serving as a Guidance and Control Avionics Craftsman for the HH-60G and MC-130J combat search and rescue aircraft from November of 2015 to November of 2021.He has served on tours with the 1st Expeditionary Rescue Group against ISIS during Operation Inherent Resolve as well as with the 303rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron supporting combat operations against al-Shabab.
Nirav earned his PhD from George Mason University in Earth Systems and Geo-Information Sciences and earned a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Geography from the University of Florida. He also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography and Philosophy from the University of Florida.