Born and educated in Edinburgh, Scotland, Iain Whittington was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1966. He served in military engineer construction units before and after obtaining a BSc(Eng) in 1971. After completing the British Army Survey Course in 1973, he worked in the Ordnance Survey, commanded a squadron of the Royal Australian Survey Corps, serving as a Staff Officer in MOD UK before and after commanding the UK Geodetic Specialist Team in Washington DC. After completing a MSc in Remote Sensing, he commanded the Geographic Support organisation of the British Forces in Germany. He has served as a Chief Geographic Officer with NATO and with the UN in the Former Yugoslavia. He is currently serving as Director, Geographic Commitments, UK Military Survey at Feltham UK..
The fundamental common denominator in a military Command and Control Information System (CCIS) is the ability to link military information to the associated record of geospatial position. This is normally then associated with a map or chart display functionality which complements or, in some cases, replaces conventional map and chart displays. The paper gives details of the concept behind an Operational Geographic Server (OPGEOSERVER) and the provision of the associated geographic information within a CCIS. This is a concept that has been employed as the basis of the development by UK Military Survey of the field deployable Tactical Geographic System (TACISYS). The paper outlines the operational experience gained from the use of TACISYS as part of the UK Military Survey contribution to NATO operations in Bosnia and how this had lead to the development, production and introduction of TACISYS into the British Army. It describes the 'value adding' role of deployed geographic staff using high end geographic servers such as TACISYS and the necessity for the employment of specialist geographic staff to maintain and manage the geographic information database that underpins the military CCIS. It concludes by commenting on the use of NATO standard Digital Geographic Information, together with the UK involvement in the continuing development of international geospatial information standards, through active participation in the NATO Military Agency for Standardisation and the multinational Digital Geographic Information Working Group.
2. Design Concept
3. Common Reference
4. CCIS Infrastructure
GEOGRAPHIC SUPPORT TO MILITARY GIS
5. Geospatial Database
6. Geographic Support to Military CIS
7. GIS Support to Military CIS
8. Use of Maps and GIS In a Land Force Headquarters.
9. Data Integration.
11. Prototype TACISYS.
12. Production TACISYS
FIELD GEOGRAPHIC SUPPORT STAFF
13. Geo Specialist Staff
14. Geographic Database Management.
15. Specialist Expertise.
16. Terrain Visualisation
GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION STANDARDS
17. Geographic Position
18. International Military Standardisation
19. STANAG 7074.
20. Digital Product Standards
21. US DoD Standard Products
22. Related International Standards
23. Revision of Specifications.
24. Compressed Raster Product (CRP)
25. ARC/VIEW Extensions
1. The records of military activity rely on the knowledge of "what" is going on, related to details of "when" and "where". This is true of modern Command and Control Information Systems (CCIS) for the control of military forces, which require the collection, storage and display of a wide range of operational and intelligence information. It is easy to use the information on "where" to link the details on "what" and "when", through the use of a map or chart as a display medium. The traditional vertical wall map or horizontal chart plotting table, is being complemented or, in some cases, replaced by a computer map or chart display. The accurate and effective linking of data on "what", with details of "when" and "where", within the framework of a computer environment, has the potential to become a significant "force multiplier" in the modern battlespace environment.
2. Design Concept. In logical design terms, a military Command and Control Information System has much in common with any corporate Management Information System. Both use operational and administrative information, held in a corporate database, at different levels of detail, which are related to a geospatial position, for analysis, decision-making and presentation. You can be looking at timber planting records, against the soil, slope and weather records, to develop a harvesting plan, or you can be looking at your own troop deployments, against the soil, slope and weather records, to develop operation orders. Whether it is the functions required for Command and Control for a deployed military forces, or those of a corporate MIS, they have much in common. The military CCIS can be as much a "management" tool, for the disposition and control of military assets within the battlespace, as is the corporate MIS for the managing a large business. In either case the CIS infrastructure is based on conventional "Server" and "Client" architecture. The "Server" holds all the operational databases, together with the "office automation" files, which are then accessed through the "Client" software and to be related to the geospatial database.
3. Common Reference. What can make the military CIS differ from a commercial MIS, is the need to maintain and display, all the operational data dynamically, in a common reference system. This common reference system is the geographic position, such as a Grid Reference, latitude & longitude or start point and track vector. The geographic position should be dynamically updated, from the message content of the military Situation Report, or SITREP, but irrespective of how the operational picture is maintained, it has to be displayed as a standard military symbol, on a map or chart background, for it to be see in relation to other relevant information.
4. CCIS Infrastructure. With a large "corporate" organisation, whether military or civilian, there are many specialist applications required at the "Client" level, which are restricted to a minority of users, such as CAD for engineers or Book Keeping for accountants and of course GIS for the environmental support staff. While these need to be related back to "core" information, at the "Server" level, and integrated into the overall system capability, the functionality of the specialist "Client" software is only needed by a discreet sub-community. At the other end of the spectrum, there are many general functions needed by the majority of users, such as report writing and presentation, which are supported by common user "corporate" databases. This common functionality and data must form part of the basic infrastructure and functionality of the system. The simple logical structure can be further complicated by practical and economic considerations, such as standardisation, training and system support. For example, while the majority of report writers only need a "light weight" word processor, the procurement and support economics of the major vendors packaging, ensures that all users are given access to the power of a major word processor. For major "corporate" users, such as defence forces, the requirement to use geospatially referenced information, make a simple GIS or "Mapping Tool Kit" an essential part of the CIS infrastructure. This must be fully integrated with other common user "Client" software. The "Mapping Tool Kit" and other infrastructure software, needs to be supported by the "corporate" geospatial database "Server". In UK Army CIS terms, this is the OPGEOSERVER.
5. Geospatial Database. Digital Geographic Information (DGI), provided by UK Military Survey, includes all topographic data and products, in digital form, (such as: land maps, aeronautical charts, position information, gazetteers, magnetic and gravity data), Military Geographic Information and Documentation (MGID) (such as cross country movement mapping, terrain analysis products), in the form of digital data of raster, matrix, vector and text. This Geographic Information is only part of the wider Geospatial Database requirements of Military CIS, and specifically excludes air and maritime navigation information, aeronautical information (such as flight publications and en-route charts), hydrographic information (such as nautical charts, special naval charts), and associated environmental information (such as oceanographic and meteorological data - METOC). All this Geospatial Information will need to be integrated, within a single infrastructure database, to support the provision of a full picture of the battlespace ,for joint or combined operations. It is through the deployment of specialist Geo Staff, with OPGEOSERVER, either as a "stack", or within TACISYS, that UK Military Survey discharges the responsibility, for the provision and management of DGI to deployed Land Forces.
6. Geographic Support to Military CIS. Within the deployed land force Headquarters of the British Army, the requirement for specialist geographic support is well established. This has been demonstrated effectively in Bosnia, both at national formation level and at NATO theatre support level. This specialist support, with associated specialist equipment and manpower, is provided at two discrete levels,
a. Geographic Staff First, as integrated headquarters geographic staff, there are specialists to provide advice and support to the Commander and headquarters staff, and
b. Geographic Support Group Second, at a "force" or "theatre" level, there is a Geographic Support Group (GSG), with capabilities for GPS survey, map production and distribution.
7. GIS Support to Military CIS. To enable the military staff officer to use geospatial information and to exploit the underlying geospatial database, there is a requirement for GIS support at three complementary levels. These are:
a. Infrastructure GIS. Infrastructure GIS is where a simple "common user" Mapping Tool Kit (MTK) is required. This will enable simple geospatial relationships to be displayed and utilised, in conjunction with other infrastructure packages, such as report writing and presentation graphics. It must be an uncomplicated, user oriented package, which is fully integrated, in terms of "look and feel", with other infrastructure packages. It must be indestructible, intuitive to use and as inexpensive to licence as the mass market "office" packages, with which it must integrate. No more than "read-only" access to the geospatial data should be allowed. To date, no economic solution seem to exist, to fill this potential mass market opening.
b. Client GIS. The Client GIS is where a limited amount of pre-defined geospatial processing is required, such as route analysis, line-of-sight computations and data integration. It will need limited ability to manipulate and enhance the geospatial database, so must be manned and operated by personnel with some GIS knowledge and training. To meet this requirement, Military Survey have deployed OPGEOCLIENT, with ARC-VIEW, on a rugadised portable, as a support tool for the specialist geographic staff at a Brigade Headquarters. This Client GIS can be specifically tailored to meet specialist needs and UK Military Survey has benefited greatly from the co-operation of the US Army Topographic Engineering Centre, in having access to the US Army CTIS development, a tailored GIS solution, specifically for field geographic support. Other British Army battlefield systems, currently under development, are following a similar route for tailored Client GIS. The limited functionality and database capacity at the "client" level, requires the back-up of a geographic database at base or formation level, which is currently only linked by CD-ROM and sneaker-net.
c. Server GIS. Server GIS is where the geospatial database support is provided for the whole of the military CIS infrastructure. The server GIS must have sufficient power and capacity, together with associated specialist manpower, to be capable of importing, re-formatting, integrating, updating and maintaining all the various components of the geospatial database. In addition, the database management staff must be proficient at supporting the "high level" queries, for a range of specialist "products", derived from the database. These include the ad-hoc queries, that are beyond the capabilities of the software, hardware or competence of "common user" or "client" implementations. For the geographic database support, to a UK Land Component command, or special NATO theatre deployments, such as IFOR/SFOR, UK Military Survey have deployed OPGEOSERVER, within the TACISYS environment, to meet the UK National and NATO Force requirements. UK Defence CIS infrastructure staffs are now realising the need to incorporate server GIS into the various CIS infrastructure developments, recognising that UK Mil Svy will not be able to meet all the GEOSERVER requirements, especially within barracks, in peace. There is a growing awareness that GIS, together with the provision of geographic support to systems, are fundamental to the progress of "Digitisation of the Whole Battlespace" and other CIS programmes within UK Defence. The advice of Mil Svy is being more actively sought than ever before.
8. Use of Maps and GIS In a Land Force Headquarters.
To put the military use of GIS into perspective, it is necessary to consider the use of maps and map displays in a military headquarters. It is from this that the display specification of a military CIS, are derived. The use of maps fall into the following general areas:
a. Military Operations. The military operations requirement, is that the same detailed map and chart information be made available, to all forces concerned, to enable information held in the operational database, to be displayed and communicated, in relation to the ground. The map and chart information must be current, contain standard navigation and position information (in the form of a grid or graticule) together with detailed topographic and hydrographic information. Interoperability and standardisation of information is of prime importance, hence NATO military maps are required to meet the provisions of the relevant standardisation agreements (called STANAGs). In other words, it is of prime importance that the Operations Staff at a Headquarters can use the same, common basic geographic information, in use by all the deployed forces. This is where the full range of GIS expertise and capabilities, from "Mapping Tool Kit" for the Staff Officer, through to OPGEOSERVER and its supporting geospatial database, will be required.
b. Military Intelligence. The requirement for military intelligence is for small quantities of maps and charts, sufficient to support the collection and display of intelligence information, in relation to the ground and friendly forces. The primary requirement, to support the collation of such intelligence, is that the geographic information be current, with detailed toponymic and cultural information. Although position information is required, if this can be provided from other sources, such as geocoded imagery, then it is not essential on the intelligence display itself. Currency of geographic information is of prime importance, together with the ability to associate the information, within the standard position referencing system, to enable rapid retrieval of other referenced data. Where possible, map information is supported by imagery, such as scanned reconnaissance photography. In other words, the most up-to-date geographic information is essential, together with the ability to relate it to other database information and then back to the standard map products used by the operators. This is where the specialist use of on-line, tailored GEOCLIENT will be required, with remote GEOSERVER support to be provided when required.
c. Planning. Small quantities of general maps and charts are required for planning, with detailed planning undertaken using the standard large scale operational maps and charts. For operational planning, the clear portrayal of topography, hydrographic and cultural information is essential. For logistic planning, the ability to dynamically refer to additional MGID is required, such as database information on Military Infrastructure items - such as ports, airfields, roads and bridges. Although position information is required, if this can be provided from other sources, then it is not essential on the map or chart display itself. Again, the planners need the best available, current geographic information, with the ability to relate it to other databases and then back to the standard products used by the operators. This is where the various functional areas may require to establish and manage their own specialist geospatial databases, with a tailored GEOCLIENT, for them to easily relate their specialist information to the relevant geospatial data.
d. Crisis Management. In the initial phases of crisis management and peace support operations, the requirement is for early use of the best source, current maps and MGID, to meet the requirements of intelligence and planning. The system will be required to import, integrate and update geospatial information from any number of sources. Only in the later phases of crisis management will standard operational maps and charts be required. This will allow time for the development, production and distribution of maps stocks and digital information, from the best sources available. With the need to be able to import, merge and manipulate data, on an ad-hoc basis, this requires the specialist manpower, software and capabilities of OPGEOSERVER to be included in any Crisis Management system.
e. Briefing Systems. Maps displays have long been used as the background to military briefings. With the advent of briefing aids, from projectors to computers, special maps have been required that emphasise only those features that are essential to the subject being briefed. This gave rise to a special blend of cartography and graphic arts, picking and choosing from the available geographic information, to meet the briefersí individual requirements. This is where the common "Mapping Tool Kit" can be employed, as an integrated "add-on" to the presentation graphics package.
9. Data Integration. This has only covered the geographic information requirements of the Land Component Commander. In any Joint or Combined operation, there will be the challenges of integrating the Land Operations view of the battlefield, with the maritime, amphibious and air operation information to provide a seamless view of the whole battlespace. On top of integrating the joint operational information, there are also the challenges of bringing the geographic database together with the other geospatial information, to support this common view of the battlespace. To put this latter problem into perspective, you should remember that the maritime operators use a vertical datum based on the high water mark, the land operators use a vertical datum based on mean sea level, while the air operators are more concerned with the obstruction heights above ground level. You then have the amphibious operators, who couldnít care about what the database uses for a datum, because marines put no trust computers anyway.
10. Background. From the early experience of operations in the Gulf, to the initial UN operations in Bosnia, the use of GIS, as specialist tool for geographic support staff was appreciated. Initial deployments were supported by PC based tools, which lacked the analytical power required to support commanders decision making. However, from this early experience, it was possible to develop the initial requirement and specification, for the equipment, software tools and digital information required for geographic staff support.
11. Prototype TACISYS. Using this initial requirement, a rapid prototyping process was initiated, to establish the hardware and software configuration required for OPGEOCLIENT and OPGEOSERVER. The subsequent open competition delivering a SUN-SPARC based solution, running ArcInfo and ERDAS under UNIX. The need for the OPGEOSERVER to be mobile was a fundamental requirement, from which the housing of the GEOSERVER, in an ISO container, gave rise to the prototype TACISYS. The first prototypes were produced in time to support the initial NATO deployment of IFOR in late 1995. The increasing demands of field commanders and changing emphasis from Terrain Analysis to Terrain Visualisation, together with the need for larger quantities of digital data, introduced urgent operational requirements for enhancements. This resulted in the procurement of Silicon Graphic stations, to utilise the DRAWLAND software, developed by the US Army Topo Engineering Centre. This Prototype TACISYS is the equipment that was demonstrated in London, at last yearís Esri European Conference.
12. Production TACISYS. The operational experience, gained from the deployment of the prototype in Bosnia, enabled a final procurement specification to be developed for the production TACISYS. This has delivered the required, mobile, field deployable, computing centre, mounted in a climate controlled ISO container, suitable for deployment either as a complete containerised system, or in dismounted "stacks". However, this, and its current operational success with NATO, are the subject of separate papers, so will not be further covered here.
13. Geo Specialist Staff. The success of TACISYS, in providing the geographic support to the field commander, is only part of the story. In addition to the development of the equipment, UK Military Survey have also been providing the Geographic Specialist Staff, to both international and national headquarters, manning and operate the equipment. This has resulted in over 75% of the officers and soldier of UK Mil Svy having served in the Former Yugoslavia. The capabilities, training and development of the Geo Support Staff, have been just as fundamental to the success of TACISYS in the field, as has the equipment. We run our own specialist training courses, for both Officers and Technicians, at the Royal School of Military Survey, Hermitage, UK. More information in these courses can be provided on request.
14. Geographic Database Management. Earlier, I illustrated the GIS as sitting in the middle of the system, to emphasise its place as a system integration tool, where it can "serve" to integrate the "client" access to the geographic database. But neither the GIS, nor the Geographic Database, can operate effectively without the catalyst of the GIS specialist to maintain and enhance the data flow. One of the lessons that must be learnt, from the UN and NATO operations, in the Former Yugoslavia, is that the Geographic Information and associated databases are dynamic. New editions of the basic map information have been issued on a regular basis, with a considerable quantity of locally produced information being acquired, to maintain and enhance the quantity and quality of available geographic information. All this new and revised information needs to be specifically controlled, by specialist staff, to ensure that procedures, such as validation, conversion, supersession and distribution are rigorously implemented. For example, if the reported destruction of a bridge is immediately used by the operations staff to delete the bridge from the database, together with all associated feature data and attributes, then the engineers will be unable to locate the bridge site, for planning and preparation of the replacement improvised bridge. In addition, unnecessary GIS specialist effort will be required, to re-connect the "new" improvised bridge feature, into the geographic database. The more effective data management solution, is for the operational attribute "destroyed" to be added to the original bridge feature. This then leaves intact, both the underlying geographic database and any other linked or associated data, available for continued access on the system.
15. Specialist Expertise. Routine military procedures, such as the maintenance of the situation map, can be automated through a GIS, where the military symbol is generated "on the fly" from the component fields in the operational database, then placed at the Grid Reference given in the SITREP, this is only the start of benefits of GIS. Within the GIS environment, all operational data, that has a stored geographic position, is immediately accessible for complex queries. The trained geographic staff can compile ad-hoc compound queries, for procedures that were previously impractical, as they would have taken hours or days to resolve manually. They can scan local maps and air photographs, to be imported to the system, enabling them to be registered, geocoded and analysed, before being used for the extraction and integration of new information or for the development of special products. The high level of general computer expertise, required of the GIS specialist, also makes them a valuable additional asset to the hard pressed system support staff of a deployed headquarters, as there are never enough CIS qualified people to cover all the work required.
16. Terrain Visualisation. One interesting development, that has resulted from having both GIS and Image Processing concurrently available to the deployed geographic support specialists, perhaps more in the category of a "blinding glimpse of the obvious" than a development, has been the realisation that, where the great majority of military geographic information is provided as raster maps and where "current intelligence" is often supported by imagery, it is actually the array processing power of the Image Processing software that has been of significant benefit, as a processing and data fusion tool. Unlike the academic or commercial sector, where "core business needs" have tended to polarise GIS and Image Processing, in a military environment, the requirements of data fusion, with database information, vector maps, raster maps and imagery being brought together, has placed serious pressure to bringing the two disciplines together. A significant experience, from support to operations in Bosnia, is the increasing utilisation of Terrain Visualisation as a planing tool. This needs all the different data forms, including the terrain height matrix, the raster maps, the vector information, imagery and database information, to be combined in a seamless presentation to commanders, planners and operators. This is a capability that is now right in the core of the TACISYS configuration demonstrated outside.
17. Geographic Position. The one common denominator that underpins the GIS environment is geographic position. All geographic position references are related back to the true ground position, through the mathematical relationships of grids and datums. This relationships of grids and datums to the "real world" is too often left to the geodesist, considered as just a theoretical problem, for academic consideration. All soldiers know the world is basically flat. Unfortunately, within military operations, the use of the same datum by all friendly forces, can be a matter of life and death. Melodramatic? Perhaps an example, from my own experience with the UN in the Former Yugoslavia, might put it into perspective. The miss-match of datums in the Former Yugoslavia is demonstrably at its worst, but no means unique. The 1/100,000 scale maps used by the UN were a modern WGS 84 product, which could be used by the UN forces to call in a NATO air strike. However, the original NATO maps at the time, were a Cold War product on ED50, with the same grid reference actually moving the target some hundreds of meters, sufficiently to be ineffective. Just for comparison, the same grid reference plotted on the local Yugoslavian TK maps would change the position by about a kilometre. Standard datums are vitally important.
18. International Military Standardisation. Much of the military geographic information, used by combined and international forces, is produced and provided by participating nations. To ensure interoperability of this information, there are two principal international bodies involved with the military standardisation of Digital Geospatial Information:
a. Digital Geographic Information Working Group (DGIWG). DGIWG is a multinational organisation, with representative of the geographic production agencies from eleven nations. It is principally the work of this body that has developed the military standards for the exchange of geospatial information, through the Digital Geographic Information Exchange Standard (DIGEST). Unfortunately, the requirements of international maritime navigation, articulated through the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO), have led to concurrent development, by the hydrographic agencies, of the IHO S-57/DX-90 for hydrographic charts. Work is in hand, to bring the two specifications into harmony, to enable the development of translators between the two different standards.
b. NATO Military Agency for Standardisation (MAS). MAS is responsible for the development of the NATO standards (STANAGs). In the case of geospatial information, much of the technical work is provided by DGIWG, with the subsequent STANAG work being taken forward to MAS by a DGIWG nation. This inevitably means that STANAGs lag behind DGIWG work, with some DGIWG work being adopted as national standards, in advance of STANAG promulgation.
19. STANAG 7074. DIGEST is referred to by STANAG 7074 as AGeoP-3 and has been adopted by NATO as the DGI Exchange standard. As a result, OPGEOSERVER has been designed to import DIGEST compliant data, usually from a CD-ROM, as this is the format that will be made available to the international military community, by many of the producing nations. The DIGEST exchange standard is not necessarily suitable for use within the military CIS, but digital products built to it, can be readily imported and exploited by them.
20. Digital Product Standards. At the basic level, a Standard Product forms part of a standard series, which will conform to internationally agreed standards for content, format and datum, hence able to meet all requirements for international interoperability. UK Standard Products are the only geographic information that UK military CIS must be able to read. For reference, listed below are those national and international Standard Products currently supported by UK Mil Svy for UK Defence CIS use:
|ASRP||ARC Standard Raster Product||1.2||DIGEST||4387|
|CRP||Compressed Raster Product||1.1||
|DTED L1||Digital Terrain Elevation Data Level 1||3809|
|DTED L2||Digital Terrain Elevation Data Level 2||3809|
|DVOF||DMA Vertical Obstruction File||1|
|VMap L0||Vector Map Level 0||
30 Sep 93
14 Jan 94
|VMap L1||Vector Map Level 1||
30 Sep 93
14 Jan 94
|MIL-STD-2407, 28 Jun 96|
|VMap L2||Vector Map Level 2||
30 Sep 93
14 Jan 94
|MIL-STD-2407, 28 Jun 96|
|UVMap||Urban Vector Map||
30 Sep 93
14 Jan 94
|MIL-STD-2407, 28 Jun 96|
|WVS||World Vector Shoreline|
Figure 1: CURRENT UK MIL SVY STANDARD PRODUCTS
21. US DoD Standard Products. For clarification, listed below are commonly available US DoD standard products, which are not supplied or supported by UK Mil Svy for UK Defence use, as their functionality is provided, or exceeded, within an existing UK Mil Standard. In this context, it should be noted that the US DoD raster, ADRG, is a smoothed "RGB" image, optimised for simple display systems. The technical challenges, associated with re-sampling the "true colour" image of the UK ASRP raster map, to generate the "RGB" display image of ADRG are not insurmountable. However, the reverse is not a trivial process, as the smoothed "RGB" is difficult to re-sample to generate the "true colours" of an ASRP raster and significant data losses can result:
|ADRG||ARC Digitised Raster Graphics||MIL-A-89007|
|CADRG||Compressed ARC Digitised Raster Graphics||MIL-C-89038|
Figure 2: NON-STANDARD PRODUCT RANGE
22. Related International Standards. To complete the picture, there is a small group of other international standards, relating to geospatial information, which are not provided as part of the UK Mil Svy standards geographic product range. These are included for reference purposes only:
|Digital Terrain Elevation Data (DTED) Exchange Format||Ed3||STANAG 3809||15 Nov 95||US|
|Preferred magnetic tape standards for the exchange of digital geographic information||1||STANAG 3985||4 Jun 87||
20 Dec 94
|Mapping, charting and geodesy (MC&G) video discs||1||STANAG 7035||8 Apr 94||US|
|UTM/IPS Standard Raster Product - AGeoP-6||Draft||STANAG 7077||FR|
|Aeronautical Information Dataset||Study Proposal||STANAG||IT|
Controlled Image Base
|MIL-C-89041||15 May 95||
31 Jul 95
|Standard Raster Graphics (SRG)||Jun 93||IT|
Figure 3: OTHER PRODUCTS/STANAGs
23. Revision of Specifications. Please note that the tables in this paper provide information on the current range of Military Survey of products, with details of supported product specifications and standards. Many product specifications and standards are internationally controlled and outside the direct control of Military Survey, therefore occasional changes to the specifications and standards are inevitable. Products are described in more detail by the Military Survey 'Digital Geographic Product Information Booklet' available on request. It makes both economic and system sense to have a map or chart display that can utilise the standard information and access it in the relevant product format, rather than having to digitise your own maps or go through an external translation process.
24. Compressed Raster Product (CRP) The new UK development of Compressed Raster Product provides raster maps, in a compact and readily used format, suitable for low end computer systems, running standard office software, while retaining basic geographic information with the image. It has been developed by UK Mil Svy over the last 18 months, in order to meet existing, emerging and perceived future user requirements, which would not be satisfied with the existing UK/NATO digital products. CRP uses a combination of NATO and established commercial standards, but principally TIFF Version 6.0 with GeoTIFF extensions. The production capability is now developed and initial production has commenced. The product specification has been submitted to MAS for staffing as a NATO STANAG.
25. ARC/VIEW Extensions CRP is specified in the "Equal Arc Second" projection, which has the major benefit of allowing the possibility of world-wide, seamless, raster dataset, irrespective of the vagaries of the original paper map projections and datum. However, while Esri software correctly interprets the ARC projection, the screen display for the maps is distorted, in a non-conformal manner, with grid "squares" displayed as rectangles. Given the wide use of ARC/VIEW in UK Army CIS, UK Mil Svy developed software to manage CRP, which makes it conformal on screen, while preserving the co-ordinate integrity. The wider applications and benefits of this software, for defence use of GeoTIFF, have been recognised and as a result Mil Svy have negotiated further development of the software with Esri (UK). Esri (UK)) are currently in contract negotiations with UK Mil Svy to deliver a full solution to UK Defence. The full solution is expected to be available to everyone with the release of ARC/VIEW 3.1, at the end of the year, and this should ensure Esri software maintenance support, in line with defence needs. Essential elements of this functionality will be ported to ArcInfo by Esri, to allow it to use CRP.
26. The use of maps is fundamental to the maintenance of the records of "what" is going on, with the details of "when" and "where". Now that this function is migrating to the military CCIS, ways and means are required to store, update and display this information, with the maximum use of automation. In the ideal world, the SITREP arrives over a digital communications system, automatically update the operational database, then displays the revised information directly on the staff officersí terminal, where he can immediately access any of the underlying data.
27. With the experience from the development of OPGEOCLIENT and OPGEOSERVER and the success of deploying TYACISYS operationally, we have gone a long way to bringing the right tools and the geographic specialist into the deployed headquarters. NATO has taken this a step further, by proving that it is feasible to link this specialist support into the SFOR local area network in Sarajevo, which is on the NATO CRONOS wide area net.
28. To be honest, there are never going to be enough specialist, with TACISYS behind them, to meet all the GIS needs of deployed forces. After all, you shouldnít have to be a GIS specialist to be able to import a map picture into PowerPoint, or to draw the military symbols as you need them. The needs of the Staff Officer, for this "low level" integration, of geospatial data, into his work environment, can be no different from many large corporations. Even when TACISYS and its GOESERVER are not available to a headquarters, there should be a simple way for the staff officer to "maintain" a variety of situation maps, together with additional functionality, such as the ability to search by place names, provide co-ordinate conversion or interrogate the operational database by grid reference. Now you are clearly into the domain of the embedded joint operations geospatial database, ready and able to be accessed by a simple, inexpensive, common "Mapping Tool Kit". Is that the route that commercial GIS development should be taking to support the battlespace of the next millennium?
WHITTINGTON, I.F.G, Colonel (UK Army),
MINISTRY OF DEFENCE (D Mil Svy),
Elmwood Avenue, FELTHAM, Middlesex, TW13 7AH, UK.
Telephone: (+44) 0181-818-21376
FAX: (+44) 0181-818-2177
Message: SVY FELTHAM (SIC JQA)