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Greetings Mission Planners,

The Mission Planners Users Conference is sold out!  Registration has been cut off by the MPSSF.  If you didn't get around to signing up you can still "register" and be put on a waiting list.  If you've registered and won't be able to attend please go to the MPUC section of the Mission Planning System Support Facilities (MPSSF) website and cancel.  The earlier you cancel the earlier someone will get notification they can attend.  

If you're interested in how local governments use Geospatial information then check out this story from the AP. 

Mission Planning Tip: Handheld GPS AWE, Part 2 (Part1, Part 3)

While the focus of most AWE's is loading information into a navigation system, the ability of the Handheld GPS AWE to download information is just as important.  For many years FalconView users who used the  Moving Map could take advantage of its trailfiles to help review  missions, but if you didn't fly with a Laptop you were out of luck.  The Handheld GPS AWE is the equalizer that makes it possible for anyone to record and review their mission.  Garmin and PLGR II GPS's record a series of breadcrumbs (tracklog points in "Garminese") that mark location and time.  The number of track points  recorded ranges from 750 (GPS II) up to 10,000 (eTrex Legend, Geko 301).  You can setup the Garmin to record track points automatically, or at a preset time interval.  After completing a mission you hookup the GPS to your computer and download the info to the PC.  This works for soldiers walking across a field or a T-38 flying low level.  After you've downloaded the data using the Handhed GPS AWE the "Trackpoints" tab will list Lat/Long and Date/Time for each point. 

Now click on the button to  

You'll be prompted for a filename:

After saving the file go to FalconView and select File - Open, or hold down the "Shift" key and right mouse click on the map and select "Open...".  If you're still using PFPS 3.2 select "GPS Trail" from the list of user file types .  If you've stepped up to PFPS 3.3 select "Moving Map Trail" (with today's direct connection to FalconView from avionics the term "GPS Feed" isn't always accurate)

 

Once you open the file you'll see the route that you traveled as recorded by your GPS.  The image below shows the trail on VMap Level 0.

As with any other Moving Map Trail you'll see tooltip text that shows the date and time you were at a certain point.  You can zoom in as much as you want and you'll find there is plenty of detail.  The image below shows the trail file on a 1:24K DRG downloaded over the internet from the University of Idaho.

This is the track on top of a USGS Digital Ortho Quad:

With a set of Moving Map files you'll be able to use FalconView's Playback Control to review one mission, or as many missions as you have Trail Files for.  It doesn't matter if the trail files were recorded directly by FalconView, or created by the Handheld GPS AWE from GPS Trackpoints.

 

If you have a GPS in your survival vest you want to be sure the track log is turned off.  A GPS with your tracklog recorded can lead the enemy to other survivors, equipment you stashed and friendly locals.  On the other hand if you're doing survival training you want to be sure your track log is turned on to help you (and your instructors) figure out where the heck you were wandering.  The Handheld GPS AWE is also extremely useful for loading data into your survival GPS.  It ensures that all GPS's have the same data loaded - and lets you load hundreds of "garbage" waypoints to hide the ones from the SPINS.. 

Continued at: Handheld GPS AWE, Part 3

Paul