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GeoIntelligence Asia 2011 calls for hybrid solutions

New Delhi, India: The fifth edition of the annual GeoIntelligence Asia conference-cum-exhibition got to an elegant start here today amid a sea of uniformed officers of the three forces of Indian Defence. The two-day conference is being organised by Directorate General of Information Systems (DGIS), Indian Army along with GIS Development. The theme of this year’s event is ‘GIS: Empowering the Warfighter of Tomorrow’.

Presenting the inaugural address, Chief of Army Staff Gen VK Singh, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, ADC, spoke about the importance of geospatial technology in today’s warfare. Gen Singh said, “We are endeavouring to achieve capabilities for full spectrum dominance in any conflict scenario. The need is to understand and appreciate the impact of geospatial technologies on information operations.”

Talking about the importance of information, he said, “Indian Army looks at information systems that can be used by all the three services .” He also advocated a need for a single module from where information can be filtered to different departments as per their requirements. “Information needs to be configured in a manner so that it becomes useful for everyone.” He also cautioned people against getting too enthusiastic about automation but suggested to maintain the right balance between traditional ways and modern methods. “It is important to ensure that too much automation doesn’t result in more conflict than we are looking for.” Emphasising on the importance of structuring the available information, VK Singh felt that unless operational intelligence, geointelligence and human intelligence are fused together in a format and symbology understood by a common war fighter, information is not much of utility.

Earlier, Lt Gen V S Tonk, PVSM, AVSM, Deputy Chief of Army Staff (IS&T), Indian Army, talked about the importance of terrain and how geospatial technology is important in today’s environment. “It is our firm belief that OIS and GIS are closely interlinked,” he said, adding, “Indian Army is looking to IT as a major war-fighting tool.” He also stressed about the importance of mapping and talked about the need to have a change of policy, if need arises. Describing military symbology and interoperability among force as the most important challenges for forces around the world, he said, “Indian Army is looking at these challenges very seriously.”

Welcoming the audience, Lt Gen N B Singh, VSM, Director General, Directorate General of Information Systems, Indian Army, talked about modernisation of armed forces and explained why and how information technology is important for that. “The development of C2 system has become important part of modernisation of armed forces. GIS and associated tools are important for achieving it.” He also explained how usage of satellites has changed over time , “Remote sensing satellites are now acquiring capabilities that were once thought fit only for military satellites.”

Representing the industry, K K Singh, Chairman Rolta Group & President, Association of Geospatial Industry, India, talked about the threats that India faces, prominent among them the threat from low-intensity warfare. “Nowadays, battlefields are more digitised and complex,” he said, adding, “C4ISR is the need of the day. Technology developments are becoming increasingly important today. Network-centric warfare enhances the power of the forces and reduces time of decision-making,” he said, adding, “Geographical knowledge is critical for military analysis.” He also stressed about the need for modernisation of armed forces .

Talking about place-based memo, Christopher Tucker, Member United States GeoIntelligence Foundation, said that we need to focus on ‘when’ to understand the problem and come up with solutions. He also spoke about the importance of geospatial data in US and explained with the help of examples (like the recent tsunami in Japan) how the technology can aid in addressing crisis-situation around the world.   He also stressed about the need for on-line, on-demand services in today’s world.

Later, Maj Gen Rajesh Pant, VSM, Additional Director General, Directorate General of Information Systems, Indian Army extended a vote of thanks to all the distinguished guests. Mr Narayan, Chairperson, GIS Development, then presented momentos to all the speakers.

Source: Our Correspondent