Pablo's Mission Planning Website

Home Links Tips Downloads MPSSF Tips

Greetings Mission Planners,

The Mission Planning System Support Facility (MPSSF) has posted their processed April 2004 EChum files for FalconView here.  Of course you can download and import the data using the NGA source files which you'll find here.  

According to the USA Today, NGA will soon seek a new  $500 million contract for commercial imagery as a second "NextView" contract. NGA has already signed a NextView contract with DigitalGlobe.  President Bush's April 25th 2003 national security order directs the government to use commercially available satellite imagery to the greatest extent possible.  DigitalGlobe's NextView contract will help them launch a satellite capable of picking out objects as small as a half a meter - their current satellite has a 0.61 meter resolution.  The two other high resolution vendors today are Space Imaging and OrbImage.  Yesterday DigitalGlobe released the first details of their new "WorldView" satellite that will provide 50cm Pan (B&W) and 2M Multispectral (Color) imaging and be able to collect 200,000 square miles of 50cm images a day.  By way of comparison a 5M CIB CD covers about 150,000 square miles.

If you're in the Air Force and you're interested in getting an external drive (firewire or usb) loaded with NGA data in directories structured for FalconView (unified directory structure) then visit the MPSSF's website for the details available here.  The 36th Intel Squadron (part of the 480th IW) can load your drive with data for the area you're interested in and return the drives to you.  Of course this is an "Air Force" thing, so if you're in another Service you'll still have to order the CD's from NGA and load the CD's manually.

A recent tip will help those folks using FalconView's BirdDog Near Real Time (NRT) Intel Feed.  To declutter the map BirdDog can be set to "expire" reports after a certain period of time.  Unfortunately this filtering isn't working correctly unless you go to the "Review" tab on the Advanced Feed Options and click on the review slider bar.  Sounds pretty cryptic, but it does get BirdDog to start throwing away old reports.  If you don't do this your screen can be overwhelmed by old reports.

I've posted a new beta version of Excel2FV Mark II on  So far 22 downloads and only one person giving feedback (thanks Tony!).  If it works or doesn't work please let me know...

Mission Planning Tip: FalconView's GoTo

Today's tip covers FalconView's humble GoTo box.  You can bring the GoTo box up several ways.  First using the Map Menu:

Next using the "GoTo" button on the Main Toolbar:

The last (and best) way to bring up the GoTo box is to press CTRL-G.  Once you've got the GoTo box up you can enter your DAFIF fix or Local Point Name in the "Fix/Point" field.

In the example above I've typed "kjfk". When I press the tab key the information about New York's JFK airport is filled in:

If I'd just typed "kjfk" and pressed Enter FalconView would have recentered over the airport in Queens

The GoTo box above is from FalconView 3.3.  You'll note that the Scale defaults to "Closest".  In FalconView 3.2  the scale defaults to the one you're using - so if you were looking at a TPC you'd recenter on JFK on a TPC.  If you didn't have a TPC you'd get a message that map data wasn't available.  In FalconView 3.3 you recenter on a TPC if available or the closest available scale if it wasn't.  You also have the option of manually setting the chart you'll "GoTo" using the dropdown boxes for Category and Scale.  Category refers to the main chart types, i.e. Raster (TIROS, CADRG, CIB and GeoTiff), DTED, Digital Nautical Chart, Vector Map, Vector Smart Map etc.

The Scale refers to the chart types within a Category, for example CIB 5 Meter, CADRG 1:50 K (TLM), CADRG TPC etc.

You can also rotate the Map, although I'm not sure anyone has done this from the GoTo box...

If you have coordinates in a datum other than WGS 84 then you can switch the GoTo datum.  Select your coordinate datum from FalconView's list.  FYI, FalconView's conversion routines use NGA's older MADTRAN library, not the newer one in GeoTrans.

What if you don't know the name for the (aviation centric) "Fix/Point" of a city?  Use the "Description" field and enter the name of the city you're looking for.  Below you'll see I've typed in "Jakarta":

FalconView searches the description field of the Navaids and Airports for "Jakarta".  In this case it finds a Navigation Aid:

It won't put you over the center of the city, but it will move you to the area you're trying to display. 

What if you have a set of coordinates in a different format, i.e. you're running in decimal degrees (DD MM.MMM) and your favorite intel bubba runs up with coordinates for an SA-6 in decimal seconds (DD MM SS.SS)?  You can enter your coordinates in any format and FalconView will automatically convert them to the format you're using:

Above the coordinates are in decimal seconds and below you'll see what happens when you press the tab key:

What about getting a set of MGRS coordinates from your favorite ground bubbette?  Put them in the location box and hit the tab key:

Even if you don't want to recenter you can use the GoTo to convert coordinates to the format you need.  To close the GoTo box without recentering just press the Cancel button.. 

If you don't remember anything else from today, try not to forget...