November 02, 2012 -- The Australian Department of Defence’s silver bullet for seamlessly uniting joint taskforce operations lies in a technology they already widely use, according to a leading Geographic Information System (GIS) specialist.
Speaking from the Department of Defence’s Land Warfare Conference in Melbourne today, Esri Australia Defence specialist David Eastman said the integration of the Australian Defence Forces’ (ADF) existing GIS technology platforms would create a ‘single point of truth’ for operational information across the Army, Navy and Air Force.
“ADF joint task forces contend with a broad range of data streams, including environmental, intelligence, command and control, logistics and personnel information,” Mr Eastman said.
“To ensure joint operations run efficiently and effectively, it’s critical that all personnel across the Force – from troops in the field to senior leaders in the headquarters – can share and view the same information, in real time.
“An enterprise GIS approach can provide this capability by seamlessly linking information from the various Forces’ multiple systems and platforms, to create a ‘single point of truth’.
“The ADF already has an advanced GIS capability, which it has been developing for more than a decade – but what is required now is an integration strategy for its information, to realise the vision of a seamless joint force.”
A former infantryman and now Royal Australian Signals Corps reservist officer,Mr Eastman said GIS technology is the silver bullet for establishing a seamless Force because it takes advantage of the shared geographical elements in all operational data.
“Through leveraging geography, GIS technology provides a common ground to manage joint operations,” Mr Eastman said.
“By aggregating and visually representing layers of information in a geographic context, the technology enables users to navigate through the maze of seemingly disparate, unrelated data to clearly identify correlations and relationships that exist.
“Specialist operational knowledge can therefore be shared across organisational and functional boundaries– and not confined to silos – which means everyone is effectively fighting off the same map.
“The result is greater situational awareness, quicker analysis, more robust planning and, ultimately, superior decision making – which can save lives, time and resources.”
Mr Eastman said GIS technology could also help deliver much-needed productivity gains as the ADF deals with budget cuts of $5 billion over the next four years.
“With the Federal Government enforcing these enormous budget cuts, an enterprise approach to GIS technology makes a viable, cost-effective solution,” Mr Eastman said.
“Using GIS to establish a common information source eliminates duplication in the production, dissemination and processing of data across the Forces – which ultimately means the Department can do more with less in terms of their budgets.”
The Land Warfare Conference is a major national event that brings together senior Defence personnel, academics and technology specialists to discuss the future direction of the field.