Home Geospatial Applications Miscellaneous ‘Situational awareness essential for successful operations’

‘Situational awareness essential for successful operations’

New Delhi, India: The second and concluding day of of GeoIntelligence Asia 2011 witnessed several sessions on the role of GIS in situational awareness. In the session “Exploiting GIS in command and control systems, the industry perspective was offered by Dr. Aniruddha Roy, Vice President – Strategic Business Group (GIS), Navayuga Engineering Co. Ltd. and Col. Sanjay Kishore (Retd)., Command and Control Systems Group Defence Division, Rolta India. While Dr. Roy dwelt on the challenges involved in developing GIS-based command and control systems and offered possible solutions in the form of smart applications with high performance, Col. Kishore observed the need for soldiers to exploit terrain to gain advantage in battlefield. According to him, the importance of GIS to a C2 System can be likened to the importance of terrain to the soldier. Where technologies are concerned, Web GIS is defining the way ahead according to Col. Kishore. User perspective was offered by Maj Saurabh Agarwal, Instructor, Military College of Telecommunications Engineering, Indian Army. He stressed on the need to make technology simple – if it is simple, commanders will use it. He also highlighted the importance of a careful review of flow of information, in addition to talking about Defence SDI that would reduce data redundancy.

Discussions on situational awareness were taken further in the session “Position & Location Information: Enhancing Situational Awareness.” Chairperson of the session, Lt. Gen. JDS Rawat, SM, Commandant, Military Intelligence Training School and Depot, India, observed how situational awareness is essential for successful military operations. Session speakers dwelt on how situational awareness can be enhanced. One of the ways is use of large scale digital maps, particularly keeping in mind the requirements of warfighters in battleground, that was elaborated on by Manosi Lahiri, Managing Director, ML InfoMap. Such maps are needed because in today’s warfare, modern equipment work on digital maps, there is a need for GPS and GIS ready digital maps, maps can be shared by devices and software, the same map provides situational awareness both to C&C centre and at battlefield, large scale maps can have many more details and current situation on ground reflected. She detailed a pilot undertaken by the company in this direction, to demonstrate that digital large scale maps can be made with speed. Some of the key benefits of large scale digital maps are, high resolution satellite images show current scenario, scales can be changed without loss of data, and very importantly, geo-tagging of photos, videos etc is possible.

While GPS has been playing an increasingly important role in situational awareness, GPS-free position determination is equally significant. This was demonstrated by CS Venkataraman, Principle – Technology, Tata Power SED. He described algorithms on location information that operate at three levels – perception, comprehension and projection, so that one can be ahead of the adversory. The algorithms are based on Direction of Arrival and Time of Arrival. The process also utilises GIS data. Pankaj Khushani, Enterprise Head, Geo-Asia, Google, observed that effective visualisation is key to dealing with location overload. He asserted that everyone in defence should be able to visualise data that their team wants them to see. He observed that 80 percent of enterprise data has location dimension; the biggest challenge is how soon and easily can the data be visualised and transferred to troops on ground. He proceeded to demonstrate Google’s involvement in defence through its Geo Enterprise business including Google Maps, Google Earth Pro and Google Earth Enterprise, and soon to be launched Google Earth Builder. Concluding the session, the chairperson offered a word of caution that situational awareness cannot substitute for intelligence; one should not emphasise intelligence while emphasising on situational awareness.

Emerging trends

The day also witnessed sessions on emerging trends in GIS technology. One of the sessions focussed on advances in the field of terrain mapping and modelling. Chaired by Maj. Gen. SV Chinnawar, Additional Director General Military Survey, Indian Army, who observed that one should be choosy about data in terrain mapping, the session witnessed several innovative offerings in terrain mapping and modeling. Observing that terrain plays a vital role in mission planning and that providing significantly increased capabilities to military command is the need of the day, Col GS Mehta, Chief General Manage, RSI Softech presented a demonstration of Terra Builder offered by the company that does not require army personnel to be technically qualified to explore benefits.  

VK Panchal, Scientist G, Defence Terrain Research Laboratory, discussed an off-beat concept of nature-inspired anticipatory computing for intelligent battlefield planning. According to Panchal, natural computation extracts ideas from nature and implements in computational model. Computing paradigms draws inspiration from nature and the scientific questions are being answered through philosophical debates. Elaborating further, he explained that natural computation refers how uncertain principle of nature attempts to computationally process information, and natural computation uses all the features and properties of this nature to solve and create computing paradigms which cannot be done so easily by our traditional computer. RS Rathi, Divisional Director, GIS & Defence, Rolta India, presented information on enterprise GIS solutions offered by the company for intelligence preparation of battlefield. He shared that enterprise GIS-based terrain and tactical database helps in simulate the preparation of the operational environment (battlefield) for effective command and control by: defining the environment; describing influences of the environment, assessing threats and hazards and developing analytic conclusions. According to him, Rolta Geomatica Enterprise GIS Solution stores, manages and serves terrain and tactical GIS data stored within Oracle Spatial / GeoRaster through OGC compliance WMS, WFS (T), and WCS and SOA-based Web services to clients using JAVA and Portlets technology. Another interesting technology, on detecting vessels using high resolution imagery and generating textual reports listing their position, orientation and size, was presented by Murali Mohan of Mobiterra Solutions.

Source: Our correspondent