Archive for the ‘Military GIS’ Category

GIS on Wired Science

wired science

No mention of GIS Day on last night’s episode of Wired Science, but there was a nice demo of the TouchTable.

They find what appears to be a uranium enrichment facility and suggest “this is where you might send you UN inspectors”. What a concept!

I wonder how much the price for touch screen technology will drop now that production is ramped up for iPhones.

They start out with Google Earth, then switch to a more “Industrial Strength” tool from ESRI. I suspect its the same ArcEngine (GlobeControl) app demo’d at ESRI’s 2005 UC:


Work, Play & War

What does it say about us when the latest Playstation has so much more computing power than a Workstation?

Not so long ago it was GIS practioners who had to teach people to spatially navigate digital worlds. Now its the other way around. A new generation of users raised on computer games are demanding game-like experiences from GIS. When I heard people in the Defense User Group meeting demanding 3D dymamic display, I thought OK, ESRI just needs to migrate to the Playstation 3 platform.

However, after looking at this Dr. Dobbs article, I think it will take the deep pockets of a defense project. I remember Reagan looking at some kids playing first person shooter games and commenting that the games were “training tomorrow’s warriors”. The warriors are now trained, now they just need weapons like the ones they’ve been trained upon.

The World in Red and Blue

While the red state/blue state world view has gotten a lot of attention from cartographers, I haven’t seen anyone questioning the “red force”/”blue force” world view as practiced in military. For example FBCB2, which is used for “situational awareness” appears to have some “red force tracking” issues.
It appears the military brass is learning to celebrate diversity, but has not grasped the diversity of tribal regions along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. Last night’s episode on Frontline, “Return of the Taliban”, was interesting, also Winston Churchill’s account of this region. Seems like situational awareness apps should support viewing the network of tribes along with all the alliances and feuds. Simply coloring them all red or blue won’t do.
Yes, the map is not the territory, but it sure is a lot easier to fold. Just need to get better symbology.