Technical Strategy

Customer Needs

Future deployment of military forces will increasingly involve multinational forces that will need to have a common reference and understanding of the operational environment. This requires access and provision of current, accurate, and trusted geospatial information. Although many nations have developed sophisticated geospatial and intelligence information systems for their own use, coalition operations are at a disadvantage unless these systems are able to interoperate with one another.

Member nations have expressed a need to be able to access and assess geospatial data and products that are relevant to coalition operations. This access must be through a set of common services and exchange mechanisms in order to mitigate potential degradation or loss of information.

In response to this need, DGIWG’s efforts are focused on ensuring standard-based solutions are available for those member nations who are engaged in multi-national operations. These solutions would enable nations to:

  • Generate and/or acquire the geospatial data and services required by defence users according to internationally endorsed standards that allow data exchange to be accomplished between national production agencies.
  • Enable the provision of geospatial data and services on-line from national agency libraries/databases to national and international users, making use of the operational networks which will be deployed, taking into account national release conditions and security regulations.
  • Enhance interoperability between operational users of geospatial data and services by the development of standards that can be applied directly by user communities.

A key objective of DGIWG is to ensure to the largest degree practical that these standards also satisfy NATO geospatial requirements and in turn are adopted by NATO. Issues relating to the wider membership of DGIWG are also considered, with standards being developed within the widest possible international geospatial community to ensure maximum interoperability is achieved and to make effective use of resources.

In addition, DGIWG develops standards in alignment with commercial and public domain standards as far as possible in order to lower the cost of military geospatial systems, and to increase the ability for military organisations to be able to make use of civilian data, especially for those scenarios where civilian data may be the dominant source of data.

Standards Development

Geospatial information interoperability requirements guide DGIWG standardisation activities. These requirements are gathered and analysed to determine the current levels and future desired levels of geospatial interoperability amongst members. The migration path to these new levels are summarised and captured in DGIWG’s program of work. The standards developed are intended to collectively work in sync with one another, thus providing a framework for geospatial information.

In order to facilitate the broadest range of interoperable solutions, DGIWG will adopt or profile ISO abstract standards to the largest degree practical. International standards originating from other geospatial communities will be considered as well, such as those originating from OGC, when no practical ISO standards exist. In select cases, the DGIWG will coordinate and collaborate on new standardisation proposal, or revisions to existing standards.

The DGIWG works with various entities to test its standards in order to assess design and performance. These include NATO demonstrations, exercises, validation and accreditation programs (e.g. CWIX, SAVE, and FMN). In the future, announcements regarding the testing of DGIWG standards will be posted to this site.

Operational Scenarios

Operational scenarios are useful means of capturing and describing operational requirements for geospatial intelligence in the language of the end user, thereby providing a bridge to conduct gap analysis of geospatial interoperability, and identification of areas where standards need to be developed or existing ones augmented. Scenarios are a useful way for to gain an increased understanding of standards issues by re-casting technically complex standards descriptions into a military operational context. They can be used as a basis for member nations to compare and contrast own approaches of providing geospatial support to operations. Scenarios provide a means of testing, validation and demonstration of new geospatial capabilities that are enabled as a direct result of DGIWG standardisation activities. These tests and demonstrations reach back out to end users through the operational scenarios they readily understand.

Eight operational scenarios, each requiring various types of geospatial support, serve as a guide for DGIWG client interaction and project management:

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