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Greetings Mission Planners,

First, an apology to the fine folks at NGA.  I was a bit confused last time regarding a controversy about NGA's website.  Turns out the USGS DOQ's were being used in the Image Ace game on the NGA Kids website.  Who would have thunk it.

NGA has posted "DAFIF Next" (effective 15 April) on the DAFIF Page.  As always, don't use the DAFIF before it's effective date.

All the briefings from the Mission Planning User's Conference are available for download from the Mission Planning System Support Facility (MPSSF) website.  These include the mass briefings on Tuesday, the breakout session briefs on Wednesday and Thursday and the NGA session briefs.  These are invaluable in catching up on meetings you missed, preparing a briefing for the rest of your unit on what you learned in Las Vegas (that doesn't involve two for one drinks, gaming systems, entertainment venues etc) and for future reference, i.e. "what did they say about Vertical Obstructions anyway?"  Most of the briefings also include a POC with an email/phone # so you follow up with any questions.

Mission Planning Tip: The Big Bang Cometh (?)

The "Big Bang" is NGA's yearly re-release of the CADRG NAVPLAN (JOG-GNC) CD's.  If I remember correctly, the first Big Bang happened in the summer of 1997.  Late in 1998 we got the Big Bang's companion - the CADRG Supplement Disc (CSD) set.  The CSD is your monthly "Little Bang".  It includes the new NAVPLAN CADRG data released since the Big Bang.  The CSD include first timers (initial release of CADRG over a given location at a given scale) and updates to existing CADRG frames.  The updated frames include new chart editions and older frames with updated "burned on" Digital CHUM.  DCHUM puts the most data on the CSD set by far.

A popular misperception is that the Big Bang includes a lot of new/updated information.  In truth the Big Bang's month to month update is no larger than the month to month update between CSDs.  The only difference is that for 11 months the update is spread across a handful of CSD discs but the Big Bang spreads the updates across 48 NAVPLAN CD's.  Of course the Big Bang also spreads the previous month's CSD updates across those CD's.

What this meant was that the Big Bang meant "Big Pain" if you'd done a good job of maintaining your data.  In a normal month you'd update from a handful of discs but the Big Bang meant you'd have to update from all (or at least most) 48 NAVPLAN CD's.  Fortunately that's changed with Big Bang 2004.  Previously the CSD for the Big Bang month was a single CD that contained EChum data files and the NAVPLAN Chart Currency data file imported by FalconView.  This time the April CSD contains two CD's.  The first contains the frames updated between March's CSD and April's Big Bang (the "incremental update" from the March CSD to the Big Bang).  The second CD contains the "first time" map data  released since last year's Big Bang.  Of course all these frames are also on the Big Bang CD's.

What does this mean to you?  What follows is my advise on how to handle the Big Bang in your unit.  If you follow these easy steps your FalconView Map Data Paths will have complete, current NAVPLAN coverage, even if you haven't updated it since last year's Big Bang.

Step 1 - Don't Open the Box:  When you get the Big Bang you'll be tempted to open the box to look at the CD's.  Don't bother -  they look like last year's.  Leave the box taped shut and gather all the previous Big Bang and CSD CD's.  Since NAVPLAN CD's look identical (except for the date and edition) it is nearly impossible to separate current and previous edition CD's if they get mixed up.  Put the March CSD discs aside - you'll need them later.  Separate the other CD's from their cases, shred the labels, reuse the jewel cases and send the disc's to NSA for destruction or use a locally approved method.  Scratching or breaking the CD's doesn't qualify as "destruction".

Step 2 - Do a Chart Currency Check with the March CSD:  If you've been a Good Soldier/Sailor/Airman/Marine you've already done this, but if not insert the first CSD disc in a Map Data Path drive.  FalconView should update its Chart Currency Database (but not it's charts) to the March 2004 data.

Generate a Chart Currency Report then do a Chart Update using the CSD CD's listed. 

After updating from the CSD discs generate another Currency Report to ensure your files are current.  =You may see reports of noncurrent files even after doing an update.  In most cases this can be corrected by doing a Data Check (in the Map Data Manager) on the "problem path".  Occasionally FalconView thinks there are files on a path that just ain't there.  Since the files aren't there they can't be updated so you're stuck in a Catch 22.  A Data Check forces FalconView to reindex the files and normally corrects the problem.  If that doesn't work you may have read-only files in a read/write path.  You can use Excel2FV's "Map Path Scrubber" to reset the problem files to read/write so FalconView can update them.

Step 3 - Do a TLM Update: The TLM (1:50K and 1:100K) charts aren't part of the NAVPLAN or part of the CSD set, but now's a good time to make sure they're current too.  You should have received a TLM Update Disc (TUD) set last month.  Do a Chart Update from the three CD's in the Update Set.  There are a lot of new TLM first timers on the TUD so use FalconView's Map Data Manager to copy the new charts you need.

Step 4 - Copy the "First Timers":  There are new NAVPLAN frames on each CSD, but you probably haven't been checking for new data each month.  Now all those new charts are assembled in one place on April CSD's Volume B.  Insert the CD and go through the NAVPLAN scales (JOG, TPC, ONC, JNC, GNC) and copy the new files you've missed.  Remember only select the red frames.  A bug in FalconView 3.2/3.3 can let you copy multiple versions of the same file to the same path and (FalconView shows the least current of the bunch.  Not sure if it's happened to you?  Use Excel2FV's "Map Path Scrubber" to remove any duplicate superceded files - or just get the piece of mind that you don't have any.

Step 5 - Do a Chart Update from the April CSD Volume A CD:  You used the March CSD to get 11 months of updates and now you'll use this final CD to get the final updates you need to make your system current.  Generate a final Currency Report then head to the bar for a well deserved Rum and Coke.

You probably noticed the one thing I left out - the Big Bang itself.  Open the box and place the CD's (still encased in cellophane) on the shelf.  When you load data your best bet is to use a network path or external ("firewire") drive to avoid the pain of shuffling of CD's.