UKJAGO awarded for DataMan mapping system

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.

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A sam­ple screen­shot of GeoView­er dis­play­ing geospa­tial data col­lat­ed by Data­Man [Pic­ture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

At the C4ISR (Com­mand, Con­trol, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Com­put­ers, Intel­li­gence, Sur­veil­lance and Recon­nais­sance) Journal’s Annu­al Con­fer­ence and Awards Cer­e­mo­ny, held in Wash­ing­ton DC in Octo­ber, Data­Man won the Net­work Sys­tems Award. The top pro­grammes and inno­va­tions are select­ed from five cat­e­gories: Plat­forms, Sen­sors, Organ­i­sa­tions, Inno­va­tions and Net­work Sys­tems.

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 visu­al­i­sa­tion tool of choice for hun­dreds of Op HERRICK users who want­ed easy access to sit­u­a­tion­al aware­ness infor­ma­tion,” he said.

Ben Ian­not­ta, Edi­tor of the C4ISR Jour­nal, stat­ed the rea­son for DataMan’s nom­i­na­tion was based around its rapid acqui­si­tion and sim­plic­i­ty:

“The abil­i­ty for troops to view infor­ma­tion from mul­ti­ple sources in a geospa­tial con­text is cru­cial for their deci­sion-mak­ing and JAGO fig­ured out how to pro­vide this capa­bil­i­ty, quick­ly, by using exist­ing soft­ware as much as pos­si­ble. They inno­vat­ed, but with the dis­ci­pline not to reach too far.”

Data­Man cur­rent­ly inte­grates over more than 300 lay­ers of data, includ­ing infor­ma­tion and intel­li­gence from satel­lite and aer­i­al recon­nais­sance, ground patrols and part­ners work­ing in the same regions. Infor­ma­tion that was pre­vi­ous­ly held by exter­nal organ­i­sa­tions in spread­sheets — for exam­ple, lists of med­ical facil­i­ties in Afghanistan — can now be loaded once into Data­Man, visu­alised in a geo­graph­ic con­text, and made acces­si­ble to all units and part­ners work­ing in the vicin­i­ty:

“This sig­nif­i­cant award under­lines both JAGO’s fore­sight in devel­op­ing Data­Man, and its achieve­ment in bring­ing this new capa­bil­i­ty so quick­ly into the­atre where it has been so well received,” com­ment­ed Budgie Dhan­da, Gen­er­al Man­ag­er, Defence and Nation­al Secu­ri­ty, Esri UK.

On receiv­ing the award Mr Kei­th Mosley, JAGO’s Capa­bil­i­ty Devel­op­ment tech­ni­cal lead and Data­Man design­er, said:

“We have been devel­op­ing this sys­tem for over five years now, and to see it suc­cess­ful­ly pro­vid­ing author­i­ta­tive geospa­tial infor­ma­tion and sit­u­a­tion­al aware­ness over­lays to users on Op HERRICK is very sat­is­fy­ing.”

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK

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