Here at GPS Insight, we are continually working with new and existing customers to help meet their requirements. That includes the US Army (of which I was a member years ago — I was an Artillery officer for some time, so these requirements came easy to me to define and implement with the help of our team here).

We were asked to provide GPS Tracking devices for training purposes, since the Army has a hard time getting (and paying for) the expensive military grade GPS Tracking devices in a training environment.

That means our troops don’t train the same as when they get into battle, and otherwise they need to learn how to use GPS tracking “on the job” which defeats the purpose of training!

So we have been working with the Army on a training program to provide low-cost, high functionality GPS tracking to troops BEFORE they get to the urban battlefield.

GPS Insight leverages several high tech mapping capabilities including Google Earth and cell-phone mapping which make it similar to what our troops use in the desert, and we have enhanced our offering for the Army.

We now allow customers to use GPS Insight as a repository of map “overlays” which could be anything from a subdivision plan to a high-resolution aerial photo to, in the Army’s case, a training map with grid-lines as are typical in the military (a grid line is a 1 x 1 kilometer numbered square and an “eight digit” grid equates to a position on the map within 10 meters).

We put a “reference map” capability together for the Army which allows them to enter 6, 8, 10 digit grid coordinates and exactly pinpoint the location using Google Earth. Additionally, we have given them a repository of map overlays to bring into Google Earth as well.

Here are some screenshots:

Enter an 8 digit grid to the side of a lake where there may be some training being conducted:

This yields the following:

Then pulling the military map from the overlay repository:

We see the location on top of an Army map:

Then finally changing the opacity of the overlay to see both “reality” and the map really brings the two together intuitively:

We look forward to helping the Army with training our soldiers — the GPS tracking technology they use in battle helps to locate our troops, identify hostile areas, tag potential IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices), and better their understanding of the battlefield.

GPS Insight and I are proud to be helping with this training mission and wish our troops the best.

Rob Donat