The development of small computer geographic analysis systems for military applications

Barney W. Jones, Michael Rowan, Nickolas Faust, International Geographic Information Systems (IGIS) Symposium: The Research Agenda, 1987

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Georgia Tech has a long history of developing complex geographic data processing capabilities on small computers. Four such systems, SATELLITE, TAWS, Microfix, and Penaids were developed to aid in the planning of various military operations. Each system emphasized the underlying spatial structure of the application and the inherent difficulties of processing large amounts of geographic data on small computers. The first software system, SATELLITE, began in 1971 for the processing of Landsat satellite imagery. SATELLITE was one of the first image processing implementations on minicomputers. TAWS, the Terrain Analysis Workstation, was developed with the U.S. Army Engineering Topological Laboratory (ETL). TAWS, a pioneering effort in using the DMA Digital Terrain Elevation Data (DTED), provided capabilities for generating perspective views of terrain, visibility plots, and mobility information. Microfix was developed in 1980 for U.S. Army FORSCOM. The Microfix system was the first fielded system using video disk map technology providing zoom and scroll over map imagery coupled with a point database of intelligence data such as order of battle, airfields, roadways, and bridges. The concept of using a relational database for geographic data was carried a step further in the Penaids mission planning system developed for the U.S. Air Force TAC/DRIB. Penaids supports a full relational database of point, vector, and polygon data allowing queries based on geographic location and other attributes. Other data sets used within Penaids include DMA DTED and CIA WDBII. Capabilities were provided within Penaids for determining the limits of visibility for hostile defense radars. Additionally a geographically distributed probability surface is constructed from threat effectiveness models and, consequently, used for aircraft path optimization.

Reference Type: Conference Proceedings
Editor: Robert Aangeenbrug; Yale Schiffman
Conference Location: Arlington, Virginia
Publisher: Association of American Geographers (AAG)
Volume: 3
Number of Volumes: 3
Pages: 407-422
Date: 15-18 November 1987
Author Information: Georgia Tech Research Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia
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