‘National agency for geospatial intelligence necessary‘

‘National agency for geospatial intelligence necessary‘


New Delhi: As geospatial information becomes ever more critical in modern warfare, it becomes pertinent to look at some of the enablers of this information. The session “Geointelligence Enablers” on the second and concluding day of GeoIntelligence India 2013 explored some such aspects.

Maj Gen T M Mhaisale, (Retd), Senior Advisor Electronics MNC and Former Commander HQ Technical Group EME, deliberated upon networking sensors and platform weapons. Some of the drawbacks in the current system according to him are that all systems operate in silos, there is no common viewpoint available, integrity and commonality of data, no single source of truth / CoP, no interoperability between the different systems, and holistic assessment of expenditure, capabilities built and progress cannot be made available. He put forth having enterprise wide architecture, which presents a unified view of the IT infrastructure, as the solution. The purpose of the EWA is to create a map of IT assets, business processes, and governance principles. He also informed that the Army is upping its modernisation drive, 680 projects worth Rs 2 lakh crores are lined up for the 12th plan period.

Brig Rahul Bhonsle (Retd), Director – Security Risks Asia, discussed exploitation of geointelligence in the Indian operational environment. The key enablers according to him include the commander’s understanding of geo-int potential, the geo int enabled OODA (observe, orient, decide and act) loop, understanding of terrain and restrictions of geo-int, following on intelligence acquisition resources, analysing geointelligence from archives, enablement through training, and an effective organisational hierarchy, while mulling on the creation of a national agency for geospatial intelligence. Another critical factor is doctrinal support, where geoint doctrine will have to be all encompassing to include the manner in which each stakeholder will contribute to exploitation.

Dr Narayan Panigrahi, Scientist ‘F’, Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics discussed the robust computational techniques for computation of geo-spatial data registered temporally and geometrically. The areas in which these techniques can be used include co-ordinates, map projections, space visualisation of earth, multiplicity in GIS, image registration, GIS as a platform for sensors, data integration, and cross country mobility map generation.

Lt Col Sarvanan of Indian Army discussed the satellites as enablers. He discussed their importance in national security and search and rescue especially through their function of providing position and navigation. He observed that new GPS capabilities will drive user equipment upgrades and new signal design will spur new applications. Anand Santhanam, Director Sales – Asia Pacific, Geospatial eXploitation Products Group, BAE Systems, deliberated upon the role of UAVs in aiding tactical warfare. He shared that 50 countries have developed more than 900 different UAV systems primarily attributed to effectiveness of current US operations. The value and benefits of UAV includes near-real time reporting, contextual intelligence, fewer aircrew required and full motion video. Dr Rakesh Malhotra of Fayetteville State University and United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation observed that geospatial is not what it used to be. Social media is a great leveler of information and it can be extended with “geo” to derive what can be called “GeoSocial.” For example, if one scans the Facebook page for the whole battalion, can it be predicted where they will be?According to him, training is important. As more intelligence is conducted in the realm of open source, what’s out there and how it is used has to be drilled into everyone – generals, leaders, foot soldiers. He observed that the new Geo requires new training that integrates all kinds of terrains (geo, knowledge, and social). Geospatial is central to geointelligence and the other way around.

Product lifecycle management

Brig Raju K Subramani of Indian Army elaborated upon the relevance of geospatial intelligence to product lifecycle management. He stressed that capturing geoinformation during the exploitation stage is going to impact everything else. Balaji Rangachari, Vice President –Business Consulting Group, Ramco Systems discussed the integration of GIS and analytics with MRO for effective decision making. Capabilities that can use GIS include mission planning, peacekeeping operations, modeling, simulation, and training, terrain analysis, visualisation, command and control, defense mapping organisations, base operations and facility management, force protection and security, environmental security and resource management, health and hygiene, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems, logistics, military engineering and mine clearance and mapping.

Network centric warfare

Brig AS Nagra (Retd) discussed the promises and problems in network centric warfare. The key advantages promised by the concept of network centric warfare are information dominance, shared battle space awareness, speed of command decision superiority, self synchronisation and lock

out of enemy`s options. The challenges however, that need to be addressed, include overestimating human capacity, under estimation of enemy, enemy presumed to be passive, no change in information generated, idealised sequence of events unlikely to happen even at tactical level, situational awareness being neither sufficient nor necessary for self sync, flattening of levels of command encourages decision making at inappropriate levels.

Anil Pant / Sr.DGM (D&E/NCS), Bharat Electronics Ltd elaborated on how situational awareness can be ensured through net centric operations. The imperatives of effective operations according to him include seamless and common situational awareness for tactical actions by multiple users, high level of planning and coordination for joint operations, detailed information of the resources available at hand for disposal for effective operations along with insight into enemies’ capabilities and faster response time. The fundamental requirement in such a scenario is that the right information should be delivered to the right place at the right time.

Source: Our correspondent