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GIS as an effective tool for homeland security

New Delhi, India: The technical session on ‘Geospatial for Border Management‘ focused on technologies available for effective border management. It highlighted how geospatial technologies are being used by agencies in safeguarding country’s borders.

The session was chaired by Maj Gen S V Chinawar, Additional Director General Military Survey, Indian Army. A K Gautam, DIG, Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBPF) said that geospatial technology has become an essential tool for modernisation. ITBPF is primarily responsible for guarding India’s border with China. Guarding the harsh terrain is one of its biggest challenges. Talking about GIS technology, he said, “GIS is an important part of ITBPF’s modernisation programme. Our aim is to equip our soldiers with advanced weaponry, communication network and provide them an instant access to information.”

Nitin Arora, Deputy Commandant, Border Security force (BSF), India, observed, “Geography matters to BSF. It helps in taking decisions at operational, tactical and logistic level. It is an effective tool for border management. GIS works as a force multiplier for BSF as it makes decision making process faster.”

A Vinay Babu, Defense Industry Solutions Manager, Intergraph SG&I, India, spoke about how Intergraph solutions provide real-time target recognition capabilities to soldiers and enable them to rapidly detect and identify threats.

M Rajathurai, Technical Manager, Bentley systems, India, said that modern-day battlefield faces new challenges due to evolution of data and technology. Battlefield managers therefore look for advanced geospatial technologies to combat challenges like making latest data available to right people at right time. He also highlighted the technological advancements in overcoming these challenges.   

V Vasudeva Rao, Technical Sales Manager, DigitalGlobe, India, said that the organisation provides high quality 50-cm satellite imagery to users from its most advanced satellite constellation: World View 2, World View 1 and Quick Bird. “Such high resolution satellite imagery can play an effective role in border management,” he said. The company also has a large database of archived imagery which can be used to analyse changes at the border, he added.

GIS for Tactical Military Roles – Developers Perspective

The session was chaired by Maj Gen R P Bhadran, ADGIS, Directorate General of Information Systems, Indian Army. Narayan Panigarhi, Scientist F, Centre of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, India, proposed creation of Indigenous GIS (INDIGIS). “Major challenge in the design of a GIS lies in identification of appropriate algorithms. There are a plethora of well researched algorithms in the field of geodesy, cartography, image processing etc. The challenge is to identify the appropriate algorithm for the spatiotemporal problem and make a robust implementation of algorithms. The answer to the spatiotemporal problem can be from any segment of GIS such as visualisation, computation, measurement, simulation, etc,” he said.

Brig Sanjeev Devasthali, CLE, HQ TG EME, Indian Army, said, “Today’s battlefield is characterised by transparency. However, this transparency is also available to our opponents. Therefore, one has to be more cautious and vigilant. Geospatial technology has helped military in battlefield management, decision support system, terrain analysis and much more,” adding, “GIS is the core of network-centric warfare (NCW).”

D Padma, Scientist F, Centre of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), India, underlined applications of GIS technologies for Air Defense Control and Reporting System (ADC&RS). “The primary purpose of ADC&RS is to detect targets and neutralise them. GIS is a crucial component of ADC&RS as it enables the user to view, asses the operational scenario and quickly act on the aerial threats. In ADC&RS, GIS is required at every node in the system,” she said.

Lakshmish Nayak, Scientist D, (CAIR), spoke about GIS interoperability across Army Tactical C3I systems. Army TAC C3I systems are heterogeneous in nature and differ in architecture, network, database, and even in GIS platform. Sumant Mukherjee, Scientist F, Institute for Systems Studies and Analysis, India, highlighted the role of modelling and simulation in developing network enabled capability of the Indian defense system. He said, “Modelling and simulation can be used to evolve NCW concepts beyond simple infrastructure.”

Positioning and navigation

Lt Gen S M Mehta, Commandant, MCME, Secunderabad, Indian Army, chaired the session. Lt Col Sarvanan, FEL, MCME, Secunderabad, India, underscored the importance of satellite as a critical infrastructure. He explained the omnipresence of satellite technology by giving examples of how it is being used in banking sector, broadcast industry, disaster management, etc. He also explained that the satellite sector will continue to grow as this technology addresses the concerns of security agencies. After elaborating on different Global Navigation Satellite Systems of various countries, he concluded by saying, “Without satellite technology, GIS would not have been a reality.”

S Sundararaman, Executive Director (CNS-Planning) Airport Authority of India, highlighted the importance of positioning, navigation and timing. He briefly discussed the opportunities and challenges faced by GNSS industry. Murli Mohan, CEO, Mobiterra Solutions, India, spoke about the role of gravity in defence system. “The common understanding that gravity varies with location has immense applications. In the era where missiles are designed for reaching distant targets, the gravity factor plays an important role in redefining the ballistic parameters of range, travel time and landing location,” he said.

Source: Our Correspondent