US: Saab’s brand new military technology can create an accurate 3D map of a battlefield and show troop and vehicle movements in real time, Fox News reported. According to the report, Saab’s Rapid 3D Mapping is far better than “magic maps” in the Harry Potter books that tracked the location of every wizard at Hogwarts.
Saab’s Rapid 3D Mapping uses footage from a nearby drone as an overlay. These maps are “geo-referenced,” meaning they incorporate latitude, longitude and height and they are accurate to within four inches.
“We truly believe that Rapid 3D Mapping will revolutionise the field of geospatial intelligence and the way military and security forces get access to much needed accurately geo-referenced data,” said Saab Director Michael Olofsson.
The report claimed that once built, the potential applications for this technology are limitless. Suppose a commander wants to find the best spots for snipers in a town he is approaching. Because every pixel is geo-referenced, he can place a virtual sniper within the Saab map to study his 360-degree point of view and find the best vantage point.
The commander can also anticipate who can see him and from where, to discover where enemy snipers might already be lurking.
En route to the town, let’s say his platoon falls under attack. With a live feed from an unmanned aircraft (UAV) or even sensors on a patrol vehicle, he can get the full picture of the surroundings on a real-time 3D map instantly — not five hours later.
IEDs are an ongoing threat to forces. With UAV footage, Saab’s maps can identify changes in soil in the route that lies ahead that may signify a recently hidden IED.
Traditionally, 3D mapping had to be executed by hand — using a computer, that is. Engineers had to model every building separately, a process that can take months. An alternative technology called LiDAR uses laser scanning to gauge the height of buildings, but that takes even more time — and to get texture on buildings requires aerial imagery anyway.
Saab’s Rapid 3D Mapping processes height and texturises immediately, and allows users to zoom in on actual war zone terrain to plan. This technology can map up to 100 square kilometres per hour.
During a flood or other disaster, Rapid 3D Mapping could map water levels and indicate what areas are affected and where there is rising water. In a first-responder command and control centre, it can give an accurate picture of the civilian space showing where police, fire, helicopters and other support are located. When a person rings in, a dispatcher can ask the caller to describe the environment and enter this information into the model so that first responders can identify how to send help most effectively.
3D Rapid Mapping brings the black box to the soldier in the field. It takes thousands of photos and uses only the very best, Saab claims, therefore reducing the data volume by 40 to 60 times. All that’s needed is a laptop or handheld to look at the data. It can even be used on iPhones, iPads or smartphones.
Source: Fox News