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Greetings Mission Planners,

The long awaited transition has taken place -  NIMA has become the National Geospatial-Intelligence (don't forget the hyphen) Agency or "NGA".  Full details are available at http://www.nga.mil/ast/fm/acq/NameChangePressRelease.pdf.  NGA's webpages are being updated and (as you can see from the previous link) http://www.nga.mil is up and operational.  Like DIA, (and unlike NSA or CIA) NGA continues to be a .mil organization.  The acronym "NGA" has been used by other National organizations for some time and the name change has caused some unexpected issues, as explained at http://www.muskratnews.com/nga.html.

The newest version of IMOM (Improved Many on Many) has been released and you can download your copy on the classified networks.  New in version 6.6 is the ability for IMOM to export a threat analysis as a FalconView drawing file.  This allows the "beeps and squeeks" person to perform in depth analysis of a route (likely displaying information from IMOM on the FalconView map) and export the final results as a .drw file that can be displayed by those who aren't IMOM savvy.  IMOM is also able to export results as a C2PC .mgc file, ArcView Shapefile or Oilstock overlay.

If you're in the Army you need to contact PEO Aviation to request your copy of PFPS 3.3.  Send an email to: mailto:amps@peoavn.redstone.army.mil

Mission Planning Tip: VMap0 Part 1

Last week I left off with the links to download the VMap Level0 CD images from.  This week I'll start there:

North America Data Set: http://geoengine.nima.mil/ftpdir/archive/vpf_data/v0noa.tar.gz

South America/Africa Data Set: http://geoengine.nima.mil/ftpdir/archive/vpf_data/v0soa.tar.gz

Europe Data Set: http://geoengine.nima.mil/ftpdir/archive/vpf_data/v0eur.tar.gz

Asia/Oceania Dataset: http://geoengine.nima.mil/ftpdir/archive/vpf_data/v0sas.tar.gz

If you've got VMap0 CD's then don't worry about downloading.  In my example I've downloaded the North America CD to a temporary directory.  Right click on the file and select "Extract to folder".

WinZip will ask if it should uncompress the tar file to a temporary directory.  Click "Yes".

It'll take a while to unzip the 4,366 files and 456 folders in the North America VMap0 CD.  When WinZip is done you will have created an NGA VMap0 CD on your hard drive.  This is where your VMap0 data is starting, but not where it will end up.  You'll need to decide what directory to store your VMap data in.  I recommend creating a "VMap0" folder to keep the data together.

Go to FalconView and start the Map Data Manager.  Ctrl-M is a nice shortcut to start it quickly.  Go to the Paths tab and click "Add".  Browse to the folder the VMap0 data was extracted to.  You'll see the words "Map Data Found" when you select a path with map data.  I extracted my data to the "v0noa" folder but yours is likely in the "v0noa.tar" folder.

NOTE:  FalconView should see VMap data on a CD w/o any special action, i.e. you don't have to add a path

When you see the message "Map Data Found" click "Add".  If you've created a new path to store your VMap0 data in then add it as well.  FalconView will warn you twice that a new path has no map data.  Don't be alarmed.  Click "OK" and FalconView will index your new VMap data.  Click "Change..." at the bottom of the Map Data Manager Paths tab to switch the target path to your planned VMap0 path.  Select the VMap0 scale on the Single or Multiple Map Data Manager tab to see your North America VMap Level 0 data:

Select these tiles and copy the data to its final destination.  Each tile represents hundreds of files that comprise the VMap database. This is very different from the other FalconView map types where one tile equals one file.  Copying the data should take about 5 minutes from the hard drive but can take much longer from a CD.  After copying the data you can delete the downloaded .gz file, and the temporary WinZip generated folder.  You can remove the temporary path in the Map Data Manager.

Now to begin using the data.  First go to the Vector Smart Map Options.  "Vector Smart Map" is the full name for VMap.  You need to go to the Map Options, not the Overlay options.  VMap can be used as a map and an overlay, but we'll start using VMap as a map type.

Set the Vector Smart Map Options as you see below with only the "Vmap0 Reference" data source turned on.  The Reference map includes outlines of countries, states etc and is comparable to the standard FalconView Vector Map.  VMap includes 9 different Feature groups, but only Boundary features are included in the Reference map.

Now that you've set up VMap you can turn it on:

At the  worldwide scale you should see the following:

The map looks very similar to the FalconView vector map but  you don't see rivers or state borders (at this scale).  You also see a lot more borders in the former Soviet Union.

This is what the "classic" FalconView vector map looks like at Eglin AFB:

This is what the VMap reference map looks like:

Unlike the old Vector Map, with VMap you can scale in past 1:1M:

The picture below shows the VMap0 Reference Map over Hunter AAF and Savannah Georgia with the old Vector Overlay turned on.  You can see far greater detail with the VMap Reference data. 

The VMap Reference data provided with the North America dataset includes a general worldwide dataset but you need to load the VMap0 data for the other regions to scale inside 1:50M.  Worldwide VMap0 takes approximately 2GB of storage space.

You may notice a lag when you scale in from 1:50M to 1:20M because FalconView has to load new VMap files with a higher level of detail.  Once the new data loads things should go rapidly.

Next time I'll talk about using the "real" VMap0 data.

Paul