Pablo's Mission Planning Website
Greetings Mission Planners,
The yearly "Big Bang" distribution of the CADRG NAVPLAN (JOG-GNC) charts has come and gone. Hopefully you found the two tips (The Big Bang - 2004 and The Big Bang - Part II) from last year helpful. Same stuff, different year...
Interested in getting funding from NGA? If you were a student at George Washington University here in DC you could have already been funded to help publicize the agency by giving away iPod's and X-Boxes. More details here.
According to LtGen James Clapper, the director of NGA, "our biggest customer is the military". More details are found in this DefenseLink article. Even better, Clapper states:
Is General Clapper planning to move? RUMINT is mixed at this point.
Good news from OrbImage as they gear up for the NGA NextView commercial imagery contract. At the other extreme, Space Imaging continues to look for a buyer. On the plus side, it looks like Space Imaging has exclusive rights to sell Indian Space Resource Organization (ISRO) Imagery, which includes imagery from the brand new CARTOSAT-1, launched last Thursday. CARTOSAT has similar capabilities to the already orbiting SPOT 5 satellite, with options of a wide 5 Meter or a narrower 2.5 Meter imagery swath.
NGA's proposal to remove DAFIF (as well as some other products) from the Internet is attracting attention, even in the New York Times:
The Marines are developing a new micro UAV called WASP that's controlled using FalconView. What will they think of next? Meanwhile NGA has been busy showing off their MIGS (Mobile Integrated Geospatial-Intelligence System) to the Marines. According to the NGA POC:
Very big news as ESC has awarded the contract for the JMPS Systems Engineering and Integration Contractor (SEIC) to SAIC (AF contract release here). As near as I can figure out, the SEIC contractor will supervise the MPEC contractors who'll actually develop the software. The SEIC contract runs for 12 years and totals $184,748,113. That's a lotta meatballs...
A new version of Excel2FV has been posted at www.mission-planning.com. I fixed a problem with the Map Path Scrubber found by Dana Levarn in Germany (it stopped working in recent versions). Fixed another problem with copying all point groups in the Point Group Manager found by Willie Kramer at the MPSSF. I've also added the capability to convert multiple mgc (C2PC overlay) files into FalconView drawing files. If you're converting a lot of files this makes things go much faster.
You'll need to update your bookmark for the MPSSF. They've moved to https://mpssf.mission-planning.org/mpssf/index.asp as part of the Mission Planning Portal.
And finally, PFPS 3.3.1 is entering the home stretch of testing and the final report is already in draft. Hopefully testing will conclude on schedule before Memorial Day. Security accreditation will follow and if all goes according to plan you should receive your shiny new CD's sometime in July.
Mission Planning Tip: CADRG City Graphics CD's
By now you may have received NGA's new City Graphics CDs in the mail. These nine CD's fully replace the sixteen older City Graphics discs.
The new CD's are divided by DoD Area of Responsibility (i.e. NORTHCOM, CENTCOM etc). They include all the older charts as well as City Graphics that were previously unavailable.
The discs contain a handful of charts that had only been available on the (much older) "Ground Combat" CD's. The Ground Combat discs were an early form of CADRG distribution for the Army that included City Graphics, TLM's, JOG's and ONC's on a single disc. When the discs were produced (late 1990's) the theory was the CADRG would be used directly from the CD, i.e. if you were going to fight a war at a location you'd stick the appropriate CD into your system and go. With the arrival of cheap, rugged hard drives this scheme was abandoned. Now we get our TLM's on Country CD's and TLM Update Discs, our NAVPLAN charts on the Big Bang and CSD sets and finally our City Graphics on the new AOR discs. If you have any older Ground Combat Discs (NGA names start with "TS" followed by six numbers) send them off for LIMDIS destruction.
These regional discs only include genuine "City Graphics". A City Graphic is a normal chart at scales ranging from 1:35K to 1:10K. NGA also produces "Image City Maps" (ICM), imagery based charts covering an area at high resolution. An Image City Map combines LIMDIS high resolution imagery (on the order of 1 Meter) with "burned on" vector overlays depicting major roads and reference points. Some areas are covered by City Graphics, some are covered by Image City Maps and some are covered by both. NGA developed the Image City Map as an alternative to the classic City Graphic because they were easier and cheaper to produce and are much easier to update (just "pull out" the old image and replace it with a new one). NGA's next effort will be to create regional ICM CD's to complement the regional City Graphic sets.
Now for some bad news. No version of FalconView prior to FalconView 4.0 can perform an automatic Chart Currency Update for the City Graphics scales. When you insert a Raster Product Format (RPF - CADRG and CIB) CD you can use FalconView's Chart Currency (Tools - Administration - Chart Currency) to replace outdated frames in your map paths with newer edition files from the CD. Unfortunately that doesn't work for Night LFC's (until 3.3.1), City Graphics (until 4.0) or Miscellaneous Map CADRG. If you want to be sure your City Graphic charts are current your only option is to delete all older City Graphics then reload them from the new CD's. Unfortunately this also deletes your ICM's so you'll need to reload them too. The good news is that there's only nine CD's of City Graphics, and (as you'll see below) some don't contain any chart data.
Those of you old enough to remember paper charts remember the legend information along the borders that surrounded the map data. Unfortunately this data wasn't preserved for individual NAVPLAN or TLM charts, but the legends are available for the City Graphics. These legends are doubly important for City Graphics and ICM's because they contain the cross reference for the chart's numbered items.
Because all the City Graphic CD's are LIMDIS I've been forced to create a dummy disc that uses the same directory structure as the NGA CD's to show how this works. My AOR is FACOM, pronounced FAKE-COM. The FACOM AOR is covered by two City Graphic CD's. The first CD (A) only contains CADRG City Graphic frame files but the second CD (B) contains City Graphics and Legend files.
The Legends folder is broken down by Country, and each Country is further broken down by City:
Some of the cities have subdirectories for each of the multiple sheets it takes to cover the city. Each chart has a series of JPEG files containing the Legends that have been digitized:
The legend names follow a set pattern, four characters for a shortened version of the city name, two characters for the sheet number and two characters for the legend type (CTYA01BN.JPG for example) or one character for the legend type and one for the legend number (CTYA01S1.JPG).
The Accuracy File (AC) gives the accuracy information contained along the border of the chart:
The Boundaries File (BN) shows the boundaries in the vicinity of the chart. In most cases it doesn't have much information.
Caution files (C1) describe cautions associated with the chart. You can have multiple caution files (C1, C2 etc) for a single chart:
Next is the City Location (CL) file. It shows the position of the City within the country. This example has been sanitized:
The Glossary (GL) file translates common terms that are used on the chart into their English equivalents:
The Grid (GR) file contains the MGRS Grid information:
The Legend (LS) file is where the rubber meets the road. It tells you what the symbols on the map mean:
The Guide to Numbered Features (P1) translates the numbered items on the map into the titles that wouldn't fit properly on the map. If someone wants to take an "action" near "feature100" you'd sure like to know if that's the Children's Hospital or the truck depot. There can be multiple JPG files (P1, P2 etc) since some paper charts have a lot of numbered features.
The Index to Streets (S1) provides a cross reference to find a feature if you know its name. For example in New York you might look up "Empire State Building" and find it's at 5667. You can also have multiple Street files (S1, S2 etc) for a single City Graphic.
When you copy City Graphics with FalconView's Map Data Manager you don't copy the Legends. The only way to copy the Legends is to do it manually. How do you pull up the City Graphics Legend from FalconView? You can't. Instead zoom into the City Graphic, right click and Get Map Info. You'll see a box like:
(Series and Designation have been sanitized). Once you know the chart name (lets pretend it's CITYA) you'll have to find the folder containing the legend files and open with a JPEG viewer. If that sounds a bit unworkable, well that's because it is. The best you could do in the "real world" is to print the legends for the charts you use most often and store them in a binder near the Mission Planning PC's. GTRI has provided a cost estimate (less than 50K - roughly a quarter meatball) to integrate all the Legend Files into the Get Map Info box, but so far no one has offered up the cash. The good news is that the data is there so all that's needed is a little money.