3-D mapping

August 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
Data-rich 3D maps would let soldiers spend time viewing terrain from a variety of perspectives to gain an intuitive sense of the battlespace before megacity operations. Courtesy photo

Some U.S. Army officials and other experts warn that the nation’s military may one day have to do something militaries throughout history have tried to avoid: fight in major cities. Urban combat, in many ways, neutralizes any technological advantage, but some technologies, such as robots and 3D learning maps, could still provide an edge.

Urban combat, even in smaller cities, is the most complicated, chaotic, brutal and bloody form of warfare. But experts increasingly caution that it is only a matter of time before warfighting in megacities—cities with populations of 10 million or more—becomes necessary.

January 1, 2017
By Henry S. Kenyon
In addition to military uses, the iCommand system offers civilian governments applications for law enforcement, disaster management and transportation authorities.

A software-based fusion tool aims to ease the problem of tactical information overload by collecting and parsing incoming data, sending just the right types of intelligence to users in real time. The system represents this data graphically on a single screen, superimposing it over satellite and 3-D map imagery showing friendly and known enemy unit locations.

December 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, or IARPA, has selected its winners from its crowd-sourced Multi-View Stereo 3-D Mapping Challenge—a contest to see who could best convert satellite photos into 3-D models to create more accurate maps.

The top challenge solvers demonstrated their solutions during an all-day workshop Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The open source solutions were released during the event and will be made available to the public on an IARPA website.

July 6, 2016

An intelligence-based research agency has launched a challenge to foster a community of participants that will produce a solution to accurately produce 3-D mapping from satellite photos.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, set in motion its Multi-View Stereo 3D Mapping Challenge, inviting the broader research community of industry and academia, with or without experience in multiview satellite imagery, to participate in a non-contractual way.

December 9, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Even lush forest canopies could became effectively transparent with a future generation of light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technologies. Source: Shutterstock/DARPA

The Defense Department’s primary research agency seeks flat optics that could revolutionize a number of industries, from surveillance technologies to how autonomous systems sense obstacles in their surroundings, to name a few.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, put out a call for “pancaking the telescope” when it announced its Modular Optical Aperture Building Blocks (MOABB) program. That’s fancy speak for its challenge to create ultra-compact, light detection and ranging (LiDAR) systems that would be flat, lightweight, easily transportable and inexpensive, the agency states.

April 27, 2012
By Beverly Schaeffer

The U.S. Army is working to compress large amounts of geospatial data into an amount that is manageable on a handheld device. Imagery from the GeoGlobe database currently seeing use in Afghanistan soon may become available in PDF format, placing crucial imagery and information directly into the warfighter's hands. In his article "U.S. Army Expands Combat-Proven GeoGlobe" in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Technology Editor George I. Seffers discusses how 3-D terrain visualization imagery will go compact for handheld applications.

October 22, 2010
By George Seffers

TeleCommunication Systems Incorporated recently announced that it has been awarded a new order with a ceiling value of more than $9 million to provide 3-dimensional terrain mapping software and database models as well as training and exercises to the U.S. Army. The order is funded by the Program Executive Office Aviation and relates to the continued supply of equipment to the Unmanned Aerial System Project Office and the Small Unmmanned Aerial Vehicle Product Office. This award was made under the Army's $5 billion World-Wide Satellite Systems contract vehicle in support of the Project Manager for the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical.