The eighth edition of GeoIntelligence India was held in New Delhi recently
Gen Bikram Singh, Chief of Army Staff, Indian Army, delivered the inaugural address at the event.
Describing geoint as a vital foundation for defence, Gen Bikram Singh, Chief of Army Staff, Indian Army, said that defence industry needs to come up with innovative and economical solutions which cater to the complexity of today’s warfare. He also highlighted the need to build interoperability among the three forces. Gen Singh was delivering the inaugural address at GeoIntelligence India 2014.
The eighth edition of GeoIntelligence India, organised by Geospatial Media and Communications, took place at the JW Marriott, Aerocity, New Delhi, India, on 12-13 June 2014. The conference is renowned for its thought provoking sessions from eminent speakers from military, industry, academia and importantly, individuals at the policy formulation level. The theme of this year’s event was ‘GeoInt: Enhancing Combat Potential’.
Speaking about the importance of technology, Lt Gen (Dr) Prakash Menon (Retd), Military Adviser, National Security Council Secretariat, said, “If India does not leverage the technical advancement, it will be left behind. India needs to establish a national capacity which will help build its technological capabilities. That requires a policy.” AG Apte, Chairman, NTRO, raised an interesting point when he said that ‘geoint itself can become a platform for data fusion and analysis.’ He then spoke about the challenge of ensuring security of this platform and stressed upon the need to build effective cyber defence capabilities.
Raising the issue of private players in the Indian defence sector, JD Patil, Director, Heavy Engineering, Larsen & Toubro, said a relationship of trust between government and private industry is an absolute necessity if India is to reach self-sufficiency in indigenous defence manufacturing. Explaining how homeland security has assumed importance overtime, Atul D Tayal, Joint Managing Director & COO, Domestic Operations, Rolta, focussed his talk on the kind of solutions the company provides to armed forces and internal security.
What is GeoInt?
Prof Todd Bacastow, Dutton eEducation Institute, Penn State University, who was the guest speaker at the event explained the importance of geoint in today’s warfare. “GeoInt is ultimately about outthinking an opponent. It provides the decision maker with the advantage of insights about the human’s use of geography. GeoInt methods are an integration of the intelligence tradecraft and geoinformatics,” he said.
Advancement of GeoInt
The first plenary session with the theme ‘Surveillance in the Digital Battlefield’ was chaired by Lt Gen Anil Bhalla, DG DIA & DCIDS. Dr MR Bhutiyani, Director, Defence Terrain Research Laboratory (DTRL), talked about empowering the armed forces with advanced geospatial intelligence. He explained that this could be achieved through terrain analysis using remote sensing and GIS. He also spoke about the ongoing projects in the field of geointelligence like Terrain Assessment System for the Western Sector and System for Information Extraction of the Spatial Terrain Intelligence.
“The commander and frontline soldier have specific information requirements and they must get the information they need but without overwhelming technology load and information over load,” said Brig Amul Asthana, 11 GR, Indian Army, who spoke about the industry-user synergy in surveillance. Kaushik Chakraborty, Vice President, Hexagon India, and his team spoke about Gen Bikram Singh, Chief of Army Staff, Indian Army, delivered the inaugural address at the event the importance of imagery intelligence, its interpretation and near real-time workflow for time critical applications. NS Narayana, Senior Director-Government Programmes, DigitalGlobe, explained to the audience about Worldview-3 satellite (claimed to be the most advanced highest resolution commercial remote sensing satellite by the company).
Tracking Geographic Location
“Ensuring national security is a complex challenge. Providing a common enterprise platform is helpful in this endeavour,” said John Day, Director, Global-Defence, Esri, as he shared his vision of empowering users by increasing collaboration, agility and responsiveness during the second plenary session, ‘Converting Geographic Coordinates to Navigation Coordinates.’
RAdm (Dr) S Kulshrestha explained the concept of Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) and spoke about the importance of navigation. Brig Rahul Bhonsle (Retd), Director- Security Risks Asia, discussed the challenges of converting geographic coordinates into navigational coordinates. He pointed out that some of the ways to overcome these challenges are through open source, encryption and accuracy. The session was chaired by VAdm SK Jha, Chief Hydrographer, NHO.
Target Acquisition and Weapon Guidance
“Air threat is becoming more severe with the advancement of UAVs and UCAVs,” said Lt Gen VK Saxena, DG AAD, Indian Army, while chairing the session on ‘Target Acquisition and Weapon Guidance’. “Threat from UAVs is a reality. Carrier-based UAVs is a threat of future. In order to address air threat, studies needs to be carried out on regular basis,” said Brig KJ Singh, Indian Army.
Stressing upon the importance of geotech, Col US Sengupta, MCEME, Indian Army, said, “The geospatial coordinates are difficult to tamper with. Because of their accuracy and integrity, the geographical and spatial knowledge being merged into the target acquisition and guidance algorithms is among the emerging concepts in this domain.” “Network enabled weapon platforms with seamless integration of sensor and information grids have improved the capability of Reconnaissance, Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Guidance Systems (RISTAG). GIS is the zero of RISTAG,” said Col Ramesh Shanmugam, 505, ABW, Indian Army. Representing industry, Brig SC Sharma (Retd), Axis Aerospace, focussed his talk on simulation and its importance for war-like air defence scenarios. Simulation also results in preservation of warlike equipments and reduces costs.
Improving Disaster Management Skills
The Uttarakhand disaster that took place about a year ago is still fresh in people’s minds. This was evident in the session on ‘Disaster Management’ with almost all experts referring to the incident in order to explain why disaster preparedness is important for the country. “It is not that we do not have basic information for disaster reduction like technical studies, geographical data, etc. This information does exist, but is not readily available to local authorities and other stakeholders. In fact, the information is hardly available in a form that facilitates decision-making,” said Sreeja Nair, Assistant Prof, In-Charge, GIS,can be used in various fields like border surveys, site planning, route planning and disaster analysis,” he said.
The session on ‘Coastal and Maritime Security’, began with a presentation by KR Suresh, DIG, Head – Operations and Coastal Security Directorate, CGHQ. “It is important to enhance the security at the sea ports. There is a need to set up a coastal radar chain and marine police,” he said. He also informed the gathering that Indian Coast Guard is now better prepared to meet challenges at the sea than they were a few years ago. Captain AM Surej, Directorate General of Lighthouses, talked about e-navigation and how it will harmonise and enhance navigation systems as well as have a significant impact on the future of marine navigation. Mihir Gupta from IIT Bombay, who along with his team have developed AUV Matsya, spoke about the functions of the product and explained how it could be used for mine identification and ship hull inspection.
Lt Gen (Dr) Prakash Menon (Retd), Military Adviser, NSCS
AG Apte Chairman
Lt gen anil bhalla DGDIA DCIDS
Dr MR Bhutiyani Director DTRI
Atul d tayal Joint managing director domestic operations rolta
John day director global defence Esri
Kaushik chakraborty vice president Hexagon India
Nikhil Kumar Director technical marketing Trimble
NS Narayana Senior Director Government programmes Digitalglobe
Anand Santhanam director APAC BAE systems
A Grid of Intelligence Networks
“Geospatial technology has to be at the base of Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), and a major tool in counter terrorism operations,” said Sanjay Sahay, AGDP, Police Computer Wing & Nodal Officer, CCTNS, Karnataka, while making his presentation on the topic, ‘Internal Security and Police Modernisation’. According to Sahay, the country needs to establish a city-based video surveillance system, which can be integrated to a national level network, to form a grid of intelligence networks.
Major Poonam Sawaant Kar (Retd), Group Manager – Homeland Security, Defence and Security Division, Rolta India, said that CCTNS will operate through the creation of a nationwide networked infrastructure for evolution of IT-enabled tracking system around investigation of crime and detection of criminals.
Discussing the bottlenecks in enabling a strong network of location based technologies and a single emergency response number, Prakash Narayan, Technical Services Manager, Hexagon India, said “We need good map data. We need to collect geo-referenced data on roads without name and address information, improve coordination between first responders (police/ fire/ ambulance), find solution that facilitates call-transfer between jurisdiction in two different states, and mandate providers to share existing location data,” he said.
Brig Sanjay Agarwal, Security Adviser (Naxal Management), Ministry of Home Affairs, outlined several challenges in countering the Naxal movement in India and also offered a few suggestions for the homeland security industry. “We want solutions and not products, which would enable us to analyse, extrapolate it to a paradigm, and then use it in decision making process.”
Visualising Spatial Data
“There is need to reduce the time cycle period between each phase of operation right from observation to action,” said Lt Col S Mohan, Indian Army, during the session, “Remote sensing and image analysis’. He stressed that India needs to exploit remote sensing data more aggressively and intuitively for protecting the national security, and that digital elevation models, multi- spectral and hyperspectral imagery and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) have opened up new avenues in the field of defence applications. Juxtaposing the current situation with the challenges faced by the image analysis in the past, Murali Mohan, Managing Director, Mobiterra Solutions, India, said, “In the past, image analysts were forced to accept solutions which were made with a ‘fits all’ mentality available for effective disaster management.
The Need for Smarter Borders
The technical session on border security brought together experts from different organisations under one roof. Maj Gen Sanjeev Loomba, (Retd), Divisional Director, Defence and Security, Rolta, discussed why the proper management of borders is vitally important for national security. Brett Dixon, Business Manager, Esri, informed the attendees about the applications of GIS in border security operations. “Actionable Intelligence should be provided to those who need it. The need for simple, effective and timely solutions is crucial,” he added. “Border security is a national priority. Satellite and aerial imagery can help maintain a constant vigil along the border,” said Rohit Bhanot, Sr Director- Sales (Defence & Intelligence), Digital- Globe, India, who then explained how his company can help secure borders. The session was chaired by K Srinivasan, Ex IG, BSF & Ex IG (Consultant) Int, CRPF.
Enhancing Combat Potential
The technical session on ‘Emerging trends’ took off with Lt Gen BS Pawar’s (Retd) presentation on ‘UAVs: Enhancing combat potential and emerging trends’. Pawar stressed on functions of UAVs and how UAVs are an ideal platform for collecting information. “UAVs are a key part of combat operations and they provide exclusive capabilities to the forces,” he said. “Collective information and mashing crowd sourcing with wearable technology can empower the future of defence,” said Anand Santhanam, Director- APAC, BAE Systems. Santhanam also spoke about how BAE Systems is using wearable technology like Google Glass to collect and share information through processes like facial recognition. Nikhil Kumar, Director-Technical Marketing, Trimble, shared his vision of taking mapping to a new level through UAS Aerial Imaging. “Trimble products mentality. Today, Just In Time image processing is done using workflow based systems which are tailored according to each user and are task-specific.” TS Rawat, Scientist- E, DTRL, discussed how remote sensing in thermal band for terrain intelligence holds the potential to detect changes due to heat disturbances or heat re-distribution on account of activity on the ground.
GIS Assisted Integrated Intelligent Logistics
Lt Gen RC Chadha, DG OL&SM, who chaired the session on ‘Intelligent Logisctics,’ spoke about the importance of geotech in logistics. While Gp Capt JV Singh (Retd) advocated a dynamic new approach to logistics support for Revolution in Military Logistics to become a reality, Brig AS Nagra (Retd), Mahindra Defence Systems, spoke about the importance of logistics and how it is the key element of the war-fighting supply support. “GIS based Data Analytics can render vital metrics for determining the Residual Combat Potential of a Force in real-time,” said Brig Sanjeev Devasthali, Comdt, 509 ABW, Indian Army.
The two-day event ended with a Valedictory address by KN Shrivastava, Member, NDMA, Government of India. Talking about the challenges before India’s security agencies, he said, “To strengthen our forces, it is important to modernise them and provide them with the best of weaponry. The fact that crores (billions) of rupees have been allocated by the government for modernisation of forces proves that the government is committed towards the same.”