When you think about geospatial technology, more often than not what comes to mind are maps, earth images, and so on. But, in fact, more and more government departments and agencies, notably the DoD, are turning to geospatial technology to increase business efficiencies.
According to DISDI Program Manager David LaBranche, quoted in the article “Geospatial Technology Aids DoD Efficiency Drive” in the February 2011 edition of Geospatial Intelligence Forum magazine (PDF), achieving economies of scale, reducing duplicative acquisition of imagery and data, as well as better tracking and management of buildings and other fixed assets are some of the key benefits of geospatial technology.
LaBranche also noted that his office, which is located within the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment, wants to see geospatial capabilities used by all of the mission areas across the department – an ambition that up till now was quite a challenge to achieve.
Take for instance the need and use of high-resolution imagery in the DoD. Acquiring high-resolutions images can be very costly and difficult. In addition to purchasing and licensing costs, many agencies also need a multi-million dollar infrastructure to store them. Combine that with the fact that high-resolution images were not readily accessible in the field makes it difficult to access and collaborate between base and ground missions.
One particular tool that addresses these challenges is Lockheed Martin’s Intelligence on Demand. Through an easy-to-user web interface, users can download and store high-resolution imagery without needing to purchase, install, manage or maintain a multi-million dollar infrastructure to house it – simplifying the acquisition process and also reducing the occurrence of duplicate images.
Additionally, GIS applications can help DoD achieve consolidation requirements. Imagery and mapping provided by Google Earth, GeoEye and Tele Atlas can improve tracking and management of buildings and other fixed assets. Using the solutions these companies provide will make it easier to allocate resources to places with greater needs and eliminate resources that are no longer necessary.
With the positive impacts geospatial technology is having in the DoD, the likelihood is that other government departments will reap the benefits too. It will be interesting to see which others branches follow suit.