Use of GIS in Military

                                                   PROTECTING THE BORDERS
Every night we close our eyes peacefully knowing that our house is secured, it’s locked, there is security guard, and most importantly family is with us. But many are not that fortunate. Reviewing the present situation in the Middle Eastern countries like Iraq and Syria, it makes me think how cruel mankind can be. Actually wars have never been a solution for anything: it’s like a loop: a loop (if you know programming you will be familiar with the term) goes on and on until the condition is false. Wars have no borders, no gender, no religion or age. It’s mankind that has created them, divided the society into compartments of rich and poor: the haves and have-nots.

So now the condition cannot be false, i.e., we cannot make wars end: be it protecting the borders or geopolitics of resources like oil and water wars. Now that we have to live with this why not bring in some innovation in military to help us serve better for our country?
This “innovation” is brought by GIS in the world of defence and intelligence.

Read more about what is Geographic Information System (GIS) and how it works

Advantages of using GIS and its Intelligence Capabilities in Modern Military Warfare

Here are some facts we need to know about:
Homosapiens… ok don’t get worried…it means simply human beings…we... are power hungry and when we don’t get what we want we fight for it…the wrong way or the right way. Similarly in the modern day battle field, the key to victory lies not in the size of the military forces but in remaining one step ahead of your enemy. So if one can figure out where their enemy is and what his future course of action going to be like... then it will be easier to locate and defeat them. But how are we going to find them? The answer to our question is spatial information: if in a weapon system we have it with accuracy then we can take advantage of the position and make for the action plan. So the military command which has the information fast and uses it fast will be the game changer (hope you remember the situation in Gulf war in the ‘90’s by Allied forces against Iraq. Now the country with better or best technology will get the best of GIS and will attain dominance in military power on land, sea and air. Military forces use GIS in myriad ways including battle field management, cartography, intelligence, remote sensing terrain analysis, military installation management and monitoring of possible terrorist activity.

GIS plays the administrative role here. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has large chunks of properties across the nation and their effective management is done through digital mapping by GIS. It helps in significantly reducing base operations and maintenance costs to improve the overall mission effectiveness, provide rapid modelling capabilities for analyzing alternative strategies and improve communications.

Terrain evaluation involves developing a detailed land map with information on the land use and cover, terrain modelling and proximity analysis of habitat are essential for military operations. All these details must be available to the field commander on adatum (bench mark area) to match with the equipment he uses for position fixing and communication in her/his area of operation. For all sensitive military operations gravitational information and magnetic variation are a must have. Due to the extremely critical nature of the operation, any discrepancy in this information may endanger the entire operation. If the inputs are matching with the system used for firing, target assessment can be done.Read about application of GIS in Land use management

When a submarine or any other ocean vessel sails through it must know where it is in the vast waters of the earth. The complex ocean dynamics (wave conditions, sea surface temperatures, etc.) are crucial to comprehend the situation during war time. ENC- Electronic Navigation Chart and Electronic Chart Display and Information System -ECDIS, on bridge of the vessels helps the navigator to navigate the ship safely in all weather conditions. Read about use of GIS in Marine Resource Management
The database for GIS operations is ENC and the real time GIS application in marine environment is ECDIS. Electronic Navigation Chart (ENC) has replaced the conventional paper chart, which was used for providing input for detailed information about depth, navigation, navigational and hazards aids in the area.

Like the land and sea operations it is important to have data about elevation, proximity to the civilian areas and threat from the ground. For example data regarding location of the target, its identification, possible hot spots is relayed to cockpit of aircraft. The tool used by Arc GIS is 3D ANALYST TOOL which helps in making threat envelopes (volumetric circles or spheres –high, medium and low) on the map and then decide the flight path (in the form of a corridor).Meteorological information and data which enhances visibility, and warns them of possible change, which may occur during an aerial war activity is also received by the pilots.

One important note that military operations are going to function properly and successfully when This additional information Is handy: like wind conditions, cloud coverage, visibility and temperature parameters are real time. Therefore, ground truth data, remote sensing.

Application of Remote Sensing in Military

A major activity which uses GIS is determining how troops can be deployed in the quickest and most effective way by understanding the terrain. This is done with GIS along with satellite imagery. This is very crucial because this way strategies with respect to positions, likely locations for scouting parties, best line of sight/fire and also the ability to hide troops and equipment are charted out.

GIS plays an important role in military logistics because it is able to move supplies, equipment, and troops wherever they are needed at the right time and place with help of digital maps.

The bottom line is that technology has revolutionized warfare. It is no more with swords and horse riding. It is about harnessing the best from our existing infrastructure and using it intelligently for war-fare by forming strategies and not merely the size of the enemy.

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