Military lays out mapping tool demands

Members of the armed services on Tuesday charted their requirements for

mapping tools of the future.

Vendors must produce a mapping system that's easy to use, scalable, interoperable

and portable, the panelists agreed during a conference sponsored by the

Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association.

"If a system is not easy to use, it will not be used," said Army Col. Harry

Thigpen, chief of the Command System Operations Division of the Joint Staff

and one of the panelists at a conference session titled "Mapping Requirements:

The Warfighters' Perspective."

During a stressful situation, personnel cannot take the time to try to remember

how to use the system, panel members said. And because of the limited availability

of personnel, the armed forces cannot send someone to extensive training

to learn a complicated system.

Because military leaders must work collaboratively and visualize wartime

situations, the panelists also agreed that anyone from any division should

be able to access the mapping system and use it immediately. Currently,

each of the armed forces and the Joint Staff has a different system, and

they are not always able to communicate.

Portability also is a priority. "A pilot flying over a battle zone,

a soldier in the trenches and commanders in D.C. must all be able to download

3-D maps on demand," said Cmdr. Bruce Binney, deputy chief engineer for

Naval Global Information and Network Systems at the Space and Naval Warfare

Systems Command.

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