Thursday, July 1, 2004
previous entry | main | next entry | TrackBack (0)
Where's AAA when you need them?
Michael Kilian reports in the Chicago Tribune that there are a few bugs in our Afghanistan maps:
To be fair, Jim Garamone reports for American Forces Press Service that the current mapping problems has not had much of an effect:
Not at all suprising, I am a forester and regurally catch errors on USGS topographic maps here in the US. It is much easier to ground truth maps in Idaho or Vermont than Afghanistan under the Soviets or the Taliban. Place names are particurally difficult as official names may not be the same as the names used locally, and locals living on different sides of a mountain, for example, may use different names - which one do you put on the map?posted by: Jason on 07.01.04 at 11:20 AM [permalink]
This is a huge problem. I work with GIS technology, and keeping this stuff updated is a Sysyphian endeavor. Getting things right is all about having the right processes in place, as well as enough funding and staff.
Even so, you would think that we'd be able to do this at the NGIA.posted by: praktike on 07.01.04 at 11:20 AM [permalink]
With all respect to Mr. Burpee, his statement as to the lack of consequences of his agency's map errors leaves room for a seed of doubt.
I'm not sure how many of the infantry soldiers led astray by map errors would be able to direct complaints effectively to NGIA from their posts in Afghanistan. Afghans who might be adversely affected by bombs dropped in the wrong place certainly would not.posted by: Zathras on 07.01.04 at 11:20 AM [permalink]
Two comments, as a military officer who has worked closely with NGA (it's not NGIA) and its predecessor agencies. First, in Afghanistan, a great number of places are named locally, so you get the same name used all over Afghanistan--and a lot of those names translate as fairly common terms like "village" or "forest" (just as you hear of fairly isolated indigenous tribes calling themselves by names that translate as "the people", as though there are no other people in the world). Second, the military very rarely drops bombs based on map data--even the maps NGA produces don't have enough detail to do precision targeting, so there must be corroborating information (someone on the ground, detailed descriptions of buildings in the area, street addresses, and things like that) before the rules of engagement allow for weapons release.posted by: Jem on 07.01.04 at 11:20 AM [permalink]
Post a Comment: