In peace and in war, precision matters for military forces. That’s why forces from Israel to the United States are making military GIS technology a priority.
According to GIS software provider Esri, most national security decisions involve geography. Esri says, whether assessing potential terrorist targets, planning a battlefield strike, or deciding where to locate a new building with minimal environmental impact, geography always comes into the military equation. The Spanish Armed Forces and U.S. Navy used GIS. And as outlined in this American Sentinel blog post, The Epicenter of Military GIS Operations, the Army uses GIS for everything from top secret operations to building bridges.
“Before making a decision, military commanders gather a lot of information to analyze. First, they ask the same six questions journalists ask when gathering the news: who, what, where, when, why, and how,” wrote Eric Patten, the director of defense and intelligence global solutions at Esri. “The critical question that ties the others together is where. Knowing the answer to where often helps the commander determine the who, what, when, why, and how. When you understand where and take advantage of that knowledge, you will make better decisions. You will, in many cases, get a sharper, 360-degree view of what’s happening within your area of operations, when and why it’s happening, and who is involved.”
One such program is the new $8.2 billion Augmented Reality program that is creating a real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input to enrich the soldier’s perception of the real world. These training models are often perceived to be in the visual domain (video or graphics etc) and include sound and GPS data.
According to a Research and Markets report, this new technology market has the potential to completely change the face of military combat and can effectively eliminate the home ground advantage. From a business perspective to technology developers, the Military Augmented Reality technology market will grow at a rate of 25 percent over the next four years and will account for revenues worth $8.2 Billion USD by the end of 2016.
Currently, companies ranging from Sony to ITT Exelis are involved in Augmented Reality, but with so much revenue at stake, there’s bound to be several companies get involved. According to this 2011 Wired.com article, the Army is already seeking solicitations Augmented Reality programs for medics.
All this equals potential opportunity for an online GIS technology graduate with a military background.