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Greetings Mission Planners,

For those of you looking for Mission Planning information, software and data on the SIPRNET I recommend visiting the AFSOC/DOXC website at http://www.afsoc.af.smil.mil/do/doxc.  You'll find good information and tools as well as links (I helped with that part) to other sites where you can download charts, EChum, DAFIF, Aimpoints, Threat Files, Software Tools etc.  There's a lot more valuable stuff on the SIPRNET than the NIPRNET.

One of the tools you can download is the new version of the BirdDog Near Real Time (NRT) Threat Feeds for FalconView.  BirdDog 1.1 has a host of improvements and fixes based on user's experience with BirdDog 1.0.  If you're running PFPS on a classified network then you should be taking advantage of the enhanced SA you'll have if you can see firsthand what's happening on top of the map.

 Mission Planning Tip:  Advanced VMap and DNC

While DNC can be used as a FalconView "Map"  (as discussed here) it can also be used as an overlay.  The image below shows DNC Coastal data overlaid on top of 30 Meter Landsat imagery.  you can compare it to the basic DNC here.  You'll notice black items from the DNC disappear on the imagery's dark water.  This is a big problem with vector data displayed on imagery - a vector color that looks great on one image may disappear when overlaid on another image. 

DNC and VMap are both vector products but they don't form a coherent database - VMap's data extends to the waterline and DNC's data extends to the shoreline.  This is no different from traditional paper products where Topo products have limited information off shore and Hydro products have limited information on shore.  Its unfortunate that we've extended the weaknesses of our paper products to the vector realm.  One way to overcome this limit is to use VMap or DNC as the base map and use the other as an overlay.  The image below shows DNC information on top of VMap1:

You can also overlay VMap on DNC and you'll get a different looking result:

One great thing about DNC is the approach and harbor charts have the detail needed to look "right" on top of high resolution imagery.  This screen capture shows DNC information overlaid on 1 Meter Imagery at 25%, i.e. 4 Meter Imagery:

An image like this shows the detail and accuracy of a Harbor chart - including details like the "approach" frequency.  Again, you'll note that the black depth markings are invisible.  You can view the DNC information in SkyView just like any other overlay.  One free beer at MPUC to whoever can identify the world famous bar lurking under the (slightly misplotted) DNC Shoreline below...

The image below shows 1 Meter USGS Imagery combined with a DNC Harbor chart

VPF Conclusion

That wraps up VPF (VMap and DNC)  capabilities in FalconView, but what's available in FalconView today is just the tip of the iceberg of what could be done.  FalconView's VPF implementation has focused on taking data and reassembling it into a map, but the real strength of VPF is its ability to be used as a database.  Things that could be done include data queries (identify all bridges within 100NM of Baghdad), map Navigation (center on "Brewton Alabama" or any other town on a JOG chart) and advanced data display (display Interstate Highways only). 

No agency appears willing to fund improvements to FalconView's vector display.  This is unfortunate because NGA's stated plan (as described here from an Army point of view and here from a Navy point of view) is to move away from producing "Maps" to producing "Geospatial Intelligence.  A review of the NIMA Statement of Strategic Intent finds "Geospatial Intelligence" mentioned 36 times and "Map" mentioned 3 times - twice as part of a spelling out of NIMA and once as "map out a successful path."  I'll end with a quote from the Statement of Strategic Intent. 

Goal 1: First and foremost, we MUST NOW (and always) respond to analysis and production demands–in what we recognize is a perpetual state of crisis.

NIMA’s customers encompass a widening array of decision-makers and operational forces. Their interests include protecting national security, combating the threat of terrorism, implementing national policy, responding to natural disasters, and countering illegal drug trafficking. To be successful, they require Geospatial Intelligence, tailored to meet highly specific needs, delivered faster and cheaper, in an easily understood format.  We will meet these needs by continually adapting ourselves, our analysis and production, our business practices, and our technology to support information and decision superiority.  NIMA’s global foundation databases, Earth-referenced and time-stamped, support information and decision superiority through an evolving state of national security. They include, as well, land-based, aeronautical, and hydrographic navigation information.

Paul