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NGA assesses potential of mobile devices

US: “There is tremendous potential with handheld devices, but we have to work on the security issues and other aspects that ensure seamless integration,” said Keith Barber, implementation lead for online on-demand services at National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), US. Barber added, “We are analysing 5-inch and 7-inch displays, and all kinds of mobile devices.”

According to report published in DefenseSystem, the emergence of powerful, portable consumer products is helping propel the NGA’s plans to get imagery into the hands of warfighters. Geospatial imagery is inching closer to real-time distribution, which is often an important factor for warfighters in the field. That is because processing times and data transmission rates are both improving as faster electronics become available. The synergistic availability of smart phones and tablet computers provides an easy way for mobile warfighters to gain access to this information.

Along with secure connectivity, NGA will also search for an optimal screen size for viewing geospatial imagery, which may include radar and thermal data. Some question whether smart-phone displays are large enough to provide a useful view of the terrain being examined.

When smart phones and tablets enter the discussion, application software follows in lockstep. NGA foresees quick development of apps that are designed for various groups. Sometimes, tech savvy individuals may even write their own programmes. “Warfighters, industry partners and more traditional app suppliers can create applications,” Barber said.

These apps will draw in data that meets the requirements of the moment. Users will be able to set the parameters for their image searches, which should dramatically improve the likelihood that the images they get are the ones they need. Gerald Kinn, senior member of ESRI’s Imagery Team said, “Users can decide whether time is the most critical aspect, whether resolution is the most critical, whatever they want.”

Source: DefenseSystem