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Geospatial tool critical for military planning

US: Satellite imagery has become a critical element in military planning and operations, and warfighters are clamouring for even more data, according to an article published in Defense System. The article further added that military in all over the world is responding rapidly to make more images available while improving their resolution so users can focus on areas of interest. At the same time, there is a major effort to get those images into users’ hands quickly, letting them see the latest views instead of using data that’s been sitting in archives.

As imagery becomes more critical to military efforts, there is a continuing drive to improve resolution and combine photos with additional data that makes imagery more effective. “Infrared, electro-optics and others are improving constantly,” said Sean Love, Geospatial Business Development Lead at Northrop Grumman Information Systems. “The boards are also getting smaller so we can put more into a module. I think we’re at the knee of the curve — we’re going to see huge changes in what can be done with sensors.”

Meanwhile, technologists are becoming more efficient at combining different types of data into a single composite image. For example, the National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG) community is beginning to use DOD’s investments in LiDAR sensors.

Warfighters are already using those composite images in the field. “One major technological change is that commercial imagery is now accurate enough for use in precision engagement,” said Christopher Incardona, GeoEye’s government programs director for NGA.

Satellite imagery isn’t the only technology that combines images to yield better intelligence. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are taking photos and gathering data that provide more close-up, real-time views that can augment the big picture that satellites provide.

Instant Gratification

As with many trends, the Internet is the primary technology enabling this democratisation. “We are leveraging mission partner networks and resources for terrestrial fiber, satellite communications and tactical edge networks,” said, Keith Barber, director of the NSG Integrated Program Office’s Acquisition Directorate. “Integration of new technologies, such as 3G and 4G cellular data networks, helps us stream imagery on demand.”

Military programmes are also adapting many of the Web tools developed for Web 2.0 services and applications. “We’re evolving our dissemination systems to be Web 2.0 centric,” said Incardona. “We, along with others who focus on Web 2.0, are designing systems to be more intuitive and accessible. That will reduce the need for specialised training, and it will make imagery more readily available for all people.”

Source: Defense System