WHAT TECHNOLOGY IS BEING USED TO BOOST SOLDIER SITUATIONAL AWARENESS?
As armies across the world upgrade their facilities and ways of operating, new technology means that a number of departments are seeing benefits.
One of these is the field of soldier situational awareness, which is key for personnel in battle situations. The term encompasses any circumstances where people are under pressure to interpret information and make quick decisions.
Whether it is at ground level or in the skies, soldiers place their lives at risk every time they step into the battlefield, meaning that it is imperative that they are equipped with the greatest facilities possible.
The equipment must be configured to match the intricacies of soldiers’ surroundings. Therefore, communications systems in built-up, civilised areas must be able to operate without being interrupted by signalling issues.
On the other hand, technology such as night vision must be reliable because, without it, soldiers will have difficulty assessing their environment, and could be susceptible to any enemy forces in the vicinity.
Communications systems are another key aspect of soldier situational awareness tools, as personnel must always be in a position where they can easily send out messages to fellow colleagues.
This is especially important considering the strategy changes that can unexpectedly be made when soldiers are on duty.
One of the latest technologies to be introduced to the world of soldier situational awareness is JAGO’s DataMan Mapping System, which was developed by the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Joint Aeronautical and Geospatial Organisation (JAGO).
It has been lauded by many specialists in the industry, and collected the Network Systems Award at the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Journal’s (C4ISR) Annual Conference.
DataMan is connected to the UK military’s secure network in Afghanistan and provides a common geospatial picture via a secure online browser named GeoViewer.
In addition, the technology amalgamates a wide number of disparate data from several sources, with the overriding theme being location.
On 12th January this year the DataMan geographic system, developed by the MOD’s Joint Aeronautical and Geospatial Organisation (JAGO), has been recognised as one of 2011’s top five programmes and innovations in the ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) community.
Staff Sergeant Antony Giles developed the GeoViewer application, which provides a secure user interface through which to access the geospatial information collected by DataMan
DataMan is connected to the UK military’s secure network in Afghanistan and delivers a common geospatial picture via a secure online browser called GeoViewer. It brings together a huge range of otherwise disparate data from multiple sources, the common factor being location. It also delivers geospatial information directly into other Command and Control (C2) and Intelligence applications on the OVERTASK network. In March 2010, DataMan was successfully deployed in Afghanistan, operated by 42 Engineer Regiment (Geographic), and, within nine months, was receiving over two million hits per month from a wide range of users throughout the command chain.
For the first time, JAGO is able to ensure that everyone, from geospatial analysts to patrols on the ground just requiring a map, are referring to the same, accurate pool of current information and intelligence. The system uses Esri’s ArcGIS, a standards-based, commercially available off-the-shelf geospatial information software package.
Staff Sergeant Antony Giles, Capability Development SSgt and GeoViewer
developer, said the wide use of the GeoViewer web application came as something of a surprise, “We originally developed it as a tool for users to view geospatial information and products prior to requesting data. However, it quickly became the visu