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Australian Navy yet to embrace enterprise GIS

Australia: Australian Navy should develop an enterprise-wide GIS approach to rapid environmental assessment (REA) to deliver unprecedented advantages in both surface and sub-surface warfare, recommended Simon Hill, Esri Australia Manager for Defence. Hill was speaking ahead of the Pacific 2012 International Maritime Exposition in Sydney, Australia. Hill stressed a service-wide approach to Navy’s use of geospatial technology was crucial to an improved REA capability.
“An REA capability is designed to develop a heightened understanding of operating environments and their likely impact on military operations in a tactically relevant timeframe,” Hill stated. “To improve REA, Navy must coordinate its geospatial data and processes across the force with a Service-wide approach to its technology systems. An enterprise GIS approach is the only way to ensure the coordinated, systematic and timely collection and distribution of environmental information – such as hydrographic, bathymetric, oceanographic and atmospheric data – to military planners, decision makers and operational forces.” 
Hill observed that the current dissemination of information in defence can be manually intensive and time-consuming, with data stored across many diverse systems that are often unconnected or use different networks. “Using an enterprise GIS approach, environmental data from disparate systems can be combined, or ‘mashed up’, on a map or chart, which creates a single point of truth,” Hill opined. 
“This ensures Navy personnel have access to the most accurate, up-to-date, maritime geospatial information available, which strengthens their ability to make rapid, accurate decisions in theatre, on exercise or in response to a humanitarian disaster.”
According to Hill, the Australian Hydrographic Service (AHS), which is at the global forefront of Meteorological and Oceanographic (METOC) data discovery and dissemination, was one organisation that had much to gain from an enterprise GIS approach. “AHS is internationally lauded for its METOC geospatial information and services provision – however, the manually intensive methods they must undertake to do so are not sustainable.”
“AHS data is enormously important to the Navy and other areas of the Australian Defence Force, which are increasingly recognising the value timely access to maritime REA can provide across many operations. The advantages of the superior efficiency and increased collaboration inherent in an enterprise-GIS approach would bring rapid and meaningful distribution of AHS information.”
Pacific 2012 International Maritime Conference will be held in Sydney during January 31 –February 2, 2012.
Source: Esri Australia