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DARPA's Map-Based Wiki Keeps Platoons Alive

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the a-wiki-of-one dept.

The Military 86

blackbearnh writes "One of the biggest problem that a platoon on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan faces is that when a new unit cycles in, all the street-sense and experience of the old unit is lost. Knowing where insurgents like to plant IEDs, or even which families have a lot of domestic disputes, can spell the difference between living and dying. In response to this, DARPA created TIGR, the Tactical Ground Reporting System. Developed as much on the ground in active warzones as in a lab, TIGR lets platoons access the latest satellite and drone imagery in an easy-to-use map based interface, as well as recording their experiences in the field and accessing the reports of other troops. In this O'Reilly Radar interview, two of the people responsible for the development of TIGR talk about the intel issues that troops face in hostile territory, the challenges of deploying new technology meant for combat areas, the specific tricks that they had to employ to make TIGR work over less-than-robust military networking, and how TIGR is impacting platoons in their day to day operations"

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Sounds great if they protect the source from enemy (1, Troll)

cboslin (1532787) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685477)

This sounds great, a very useful tool.

Of course this assume the enemy hackers are not as good as your hackers to protect the content and maps. Or it might be used against them.

Re:Sounds great if they protect the source from en (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27685793)

The only "hacking" practiced in Afghanistan is when the Taliban punish a woman for showing off a sliver of her skin.

Hint: They use machetes.

Re:Sounds great if they protect the source from en (-1, Flamebait)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27686265)

The only "hacking" practiced in Afghanistan is when the Taliban punish a woman for showing off a sliver of her skin.

Those bastards... they ought to stuff her full of birth control, stick her in a minimum wage job and force her to have sex with her boss. That's how decent folk treat their women...

Re:Sounds great if they protect the source from en (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27686695)

I see what you tried to do there...

Would you like to know why you failed?

The option you so cleverly described is still favorable to being butchered with a machete.

I expect you to slit your wrists as an act of contrition.

Re:Sounds great if they protect the source from en (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27687995)

I see what you tried to do there... Would you like to know why you failed? The option you so cleverly described is still favorable to being butchered with a machete. I expect you to slit your wrists as an act of contrition.

So, your justice system doesn't execute people who violate the laws of the land?

Is your problem is that they execute whores, rather than giving them a talk show where they can be a role model?

Is it that their community takes responsibility for justice in a personal way while you pay someone to bloody their hands on your behalf like a coward and pretend it makes you better than other people?

Oh, and they use rocks, not machetes. Everyone has to throw them with their own two hands, so they will learn that justice is serious and ugly business and not to be taken lightly or treated as some sort of money making game.

I expect you to keep acting like an idiot until the fateful day that you're the one buried up to your neck in the dirt, and never experience a moment of contrition.

Re:Sounds great if they protect the source from en (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27688741)

so a woman who shows a sliver of skin is a whore?

i sincerely hope that you die in a fire

Re:Sounds great if they protect the source from en (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27690685)

so a woman who shows a sliver of skin is a whore?

i sincerely hope that you die in a fire


If all the other women in the village think the woman is a whore and put their money where their mouth is by actually throwing rocks at her, who am I to tell them they're wrong? I don't live there, I just read propaganda written by parasites...

Do you not believe in peoples right to govern themselves?

Re:Sounds great if they protect the source from en (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#27696243)

so a woman who shows a sliver of skin is a whore?

i sincerely hope that you die in a fire

If all the other women in the village think the woman is a whore and put their money where their mouth is by actually throwing rocks at her, who am I to tell them they're wrong? I don't live there, I just read propaganda written by parasites...

Do you not believe in peoples right to govern themselves?

Moral relativism, just as repungnant today as it was when it was first born. Certain things are simply wrong, regardless of cultural context. Murdering people for showing the wrong bit of skin or daring to walk around in public without a male family member is wrong, period. The fact that you can't see this means you're either lying to troll or you're a psychopath and should probably be put down like a rabid animal before you have a chance to hurt anyone again.

Re:Sounds great if they protect the source from en (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27686971)

No one forces a woman to take BC, get a job, or fuck a boss. (At least not in the good ol' U S of A, which I assume you are alluding to. Don't equate your mom's experiences to those of all American women.) If they did, it would probably be illegal. In Afghanistan the government DOES force terrible things on its female citizens.

Re:Sounds great if they protect the source from en (0, Flamebait)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685859)

Sounds like a great and useful tool for oppressed people to fight back against occupying armies, be they domestic or foreign. Wonder how practical it would be to make em and just give em away to people for free...

Re:Sounds great if they protect the source from en (4, Insightful)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685879)

Of course this assume the enemy hackers are not as good as your hackers

You are assuming the network over which it is served in the field is not completely localized. Or that somehow it never occurred to them that the Taliban might have hackers.

You are arm-chair IT managing.

Re:Sounds great if they protect the source from en (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27687167)

Or they could just setup troop rotations so only 1/4 of them leave/join at a time, thus preserving the "tribal" knowledge on the ground.

But I guess that would not justify a large budgetary expenditure, so they won't do it.

Re:Sounds great if they protect the source from en (1)

TomRK1089 (1270906) | more than 5 years ago | (#27687229)

No, what that does is ruin the cohesion between platoon members. You don't want to constantly change who servicemembers are serving with, making it harder to maintain morale when their buddy gets rotated out. That's my two cents at least.

Re:Sounds great if they protect the source from en (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#27687201)

Long before worrying about that I'd be worrying about whether many guys will actually get to use this stuff. The things you read about in Popular Science and hear about on tech news sites don't reach every guy on the ground. Every time I ask my friends on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan about stuff like this they just laugh themselves silly.

Wikimapia? (1)

Rurik (113882) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685521)

So they just ported Wikimapia [wikimapia.org] ?

Or... dare say, they're using Wikimapia itself?! [wikimapia.org]

Re:Wikimapia? (2, Interesting)

drakaan (688386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27686697)

Doubtful...the original TIGR system was a basic data communications package for intel[ligence]-related stuff that predates most every website in existence today (I first worked with it back in '96, and I know it had been in use for a few years prior to that, and probably under development for a decade). Knowing how the Army, in particular, tends to deploy technology means that they probably created some kind of overlay (probably in Java) to display historical situation reports based on grid coordinates. Nice that grunts outside of traditional intelligence roles are getting to see that kind of data.

Slashdot interface is broken... (0, Offtopic)

Extremus (1043274) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685533)

Is this only happening with me? And I swear I am not using IE!

Re:Slashdot interface is broken... (0, Offtopic)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685545)

If you are using the beta interface, don't.

Neat (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27685547)

It's Google Maps for jarheads.

Re:Neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27689449)

Or to be more specific, the My Maps [google.com] applet on top of that which allows for comments and additional marking. Or it could be likened to placemarks [google.com] in GoogleEarth, which can be toggled on/off as layers and has all sorts of neat features.

Other than this map wiki thing being specific to the military, is there really anything all that new or groundbreaking?

Excellent tool (5, Insightful)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685581)

This is great for a couple of reasons. First it gives troops on the ground better intel on what to watch for and where, doing a job of keeping them alive. But it also looks like it can help troops get a better understanding of the area. What are your poor areas prone to violence. Long gone are the days when you can shoot first and ask questions later. This sort of intel is a valuable step to understanding the people over there and maybe even working with them rather than working against them. I'm sure the vast majority of Iraqi's just want an end to the violence, and are willing to work with whomever will help them get the status quo back.

Re:Excellent tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27692883)

It doesnt give troops intel, the troops must make the intel. unlike other tools, it allows units to look at areas they are not fimilar with, but it still comes down to the user inputting complete data. crap in, crap out

Re:Excellent tool (1)

searp (1248692) | more than 5 years ago | (#27699103)

Good point. The "intel" word is a little scary to many people, but what we're really talking about here is what is called "situation awareness" - the troops know enough to spot danger, know friends, etc. The soldiers use the tool to know the people and the terrain; this can indeed lower the violence, make aid programs more targeted and effective etc.

Um... Acronym? (1)

KatAngel (1454415) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685615)

TIGR = Tactical Ground Reporting System?

So... where did the I come from, and where did the S go? Surely it wouldn't have been hard to actually put something in for the I - Tactical Interactive Ground Reporting would have worked well, I think.

Re:Um... Acronym? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685683)

Sorry, lack of funding. There was only enough money for one TIGR, but next year we might be able to afford a few more TIGRS.

Re:Um... Acronym? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27687691)

The wonderful thing about TIGRS is that TIGRS are wonderful things. And this is the only one.

Re:Um... Acronym? (2, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685725)

Even more disturbing, this acryonym could be confused with TIGER [wikipedia.org] , resulting in some guy in Fallujah getting a map of Cleveland and some guy in Cleveland thinking there's a IED around the next turn.

Re:Um... Acronym? (2, Interesting)

Snowy_Duck (963442) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685839)

We already have a huge network over here called Tigris. It's a locally contracted civilian internet connection that the soldiers can subscribe to for their own private use. They probably didn't want to have a system that contains highly sensitive information called something so similar (if they even considered it). In fact, they probably should have changed it to something completely different.

Re:Um... Acronym? (1)

KatAngel (1454415) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685867)

If that was the case, why not just go with TGR? What confuses me is the randomly appearing "I" that seems to serve no purpose, save to make it sound like "Tiger."

Re:Um... Acronym? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27687367)

had it been created now, it would have been iTgr. (feel free to correct the verb tenses)

Re:Um... Acronym? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27692051)

> had it been created now, it would have been iTgr.

Had it been created in 82-83, it would have been "Eye of the Tiger"

Re:Um... Acronym? (1)

Narcogen (666692) | more than 5 years ago | (#27699625)

Should I come over and open a competing service and call it Euphrates?

Re:Um... Acronym? (1)

der wachter (821950) | more than 5 years ago | (#27686565)

Its a silent "I," like the "P" in swimming.

Re:Um... Acronym? (1)

Narcogen (666692) | more than 5 years ago | (#27699431)

It has to be TIGR and not TGRS. Because the wonderful thing about TIGR is that it's the only one.

A poem (4, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685617)

The wonderful thing about TIGR, is TIGR's a wonderful thing.
It doesn't have any trouble using Milit'ry networking.
It's good for intel in the field, and fun fun fun fun fun!
So boot up that there TIGR, while I go get my gun.

Re:A poem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27685667)

Dr. Zoidberg says:

Your poem is bad and you should feel bad!

I prefer (2, Interesting)

bornyesterday (888994) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685861)

TIGR! TIGR! burning bright
In the desert city night,
With intel at hand and eye
Our foe will surely fear to try!

Re:A poem (1)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 5 years ago | (#27686461)

It's the eye of the TIGR, it's the cream of the fight
Risin' up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he's watchin' us all in the eye of the TIGR

(Hmm, didn't have to change a thing.)

Re:A poem (1)

MrTester (860336) | more than 5 years ago | (#27688201)

Oh! Thank you so freakin' much!
Now I am going to have that song stuck in my head all damn day!

Im tempted to counter attack with the Wiggles "Fruit Salad" song, but it seems th new administration is serious about cracking down on those who use torture.

Re:A poem (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27689011)

...
Sgt. : Look, look. All right, smarty-pants. You two, you two, come at me then with raspberries. Come on, both of you, whole basket each.
Palin: No guns.
Sgt. : No.
Palin: No 16-ton weights.
Sgt. : No.
Idle : No pointed sticks.
Sgt. : Shut up.
Palin: No rocks up in the ceiling.
Sgt. : No.
Palin: And you won't kill us.
Sgt. : I won't.
Palin: Promise.
Sgt. : I promise I won't kill you. Now. Are you going to attack me?
Palin & Idle: Oh, all right.
Sgt. : Right, now don't rush me this time. Stalk me. Do it properly. Stalk me. I'll turn me back. Stalk up behind me, close behind me, then in with the redcurrants! Right? O.K. start moving. Now the first thing to do when you're being stalked by an ugly mob with redcurrants is to -- release the TIGR!
(He does so. Growls. Screams.)
Sgt. : The great advantage of the TIGR in unarmed combat is that he eats not only the fruit-laden foe but also the redcurrants. TIGRs however do not relish the peach. The peach assailant should be attacked with a RAZR. Right, now, the rest of you, where are you? I know you're hiding somewhere with your damsons and prunes. Well I'm ready for you. I've wired meself up to 200 tons of gelignite, and if any one of you so much as makes a move we'll all go up together! Right, right. I warned you. That's it...

Re:A poem (1)

the cobaltsixty (210695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27691287)

This gives a more intense meaning to the 'Edit Wars'

What Iraq war? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27685695)

There's no Iraq war. Obongo promised to retreat. Obongo is the secular messiah and is incapable of lying or making mistakes. I.E., there is no more Iraq war.

On a serious note, it is interesting to note that the level of shrieking about the Iraq war has gone waaaay down since February. I guess the 4th branch of government, the liberal media, doesn't plan to hold Obungler's feet to the fire on this issue. Sorry Obamabots. Hope and change = fairy dust and rainbows.

Useful and Needed (5, Informative)

Snowy_Duck (963442) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685715)

As a soldier currently in Baghdad and having gone through about 10 RIPs (Relief in Place) in my 13 months here this would be a great benefit. The usual RIP lasts about a week involving the leaving unit showing the new unit's leadership the main areas for a couple days. After those couple of days the new unit takes over and only a select few from the old unit accompanies them. Completely all knowledge from the old unit is lost except that which is important enough to be on the company/battalion level. My platoon alone has taken over roughly 15 AOs (Areas of Operations), just to turn them over a couple weeks later to another unit. To have a tool that shows all the historical data on a platoon (or even squad) level would greatly benefit the incoming units and the local populace. The current system just isn't good enough. It's the equivalent of getting a quick walk through of a house and then trying to determine what parts are in need of fixing.

Re:Useful and Needed (4, Insightful)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685767)

Sounds like the army encounters (on a more dangerous scale) one of the very same problems that the corporate world does. Loss of institutional knowledge.

Makes sense that they should try out systems similar to those that are being trialled in other areas to combat this problem.

Re:Useful and Needed (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685885)

I do wonder how long until this gets picked up by local law enforcement...

This is a bit worrisome, depending on the eventual content of the wiki. Using the corporate example, imagine two different systems:

A) Reporting likes all their assignments to be ran by Sally first.

Vs...

B) Sally is a total conniving bitch. Do not trust her any farther than a child could throw her fat ass. Make sure she is on the hook for any assignments that go through Reporting, or she'll burn you - hard core.

While both of these are true, one does a little more psychological damage than the other one does.

In a military situation, this is a bit more acceptable. The wiki notations are not, after all, people. They're potential casualties. In the civil world, though, the opposite is true.

It worries me.

Re:Useful and Needed (1)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 5 years ago | (#27686235)

It worries me that we give fallible people the ability to arrest, detain and fire weapons upon other people.

It worries me less that we give fallible people the ability to communicate.

Not to be curt, but "people suck" seems to be a catch all argument for anything government these days.

Re:Useful and Needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27686977)

It worries me that your tin foil is so tight that you don't recognize this as an adaptation of what the police have been using all along.

Re:Useful and Needed (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27687007)

I do wonder how long until this gets picked up by local law enforcement...

About -50 years. Maybe more. Law enforcement calls it the "blotter", and most anything of substance makes it there. The officers in the field don't have direct electronic access to did (or didn't -- now that they have radio-connected laptops in their cars, maybe they do), but the desk sergeant sure does.

The main problem that this tool is intended to solve, though, is one that law enforcement rarely has. Police departments tend to have a core staff with very low turnover that provides long-term institutional memory, and cops talk. A lot. Really, this wiki's purpose is to provide soldiers who are taking on a law enforcement-type role the same sort of institutional memory that police organizations already have.

Re:Useful and Needed (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 5 years ago | (#27687203)

Thanks for the search term, but I don't think this is quite the same thing.

Here's one Google found with your term:

http://www.randolphnj.org/police/blotter/ [randolphnj.org]

Incident Date: 4-19-09
Incident #: 2009-015167
Charged: Daniel D. Caputo, 48 of Randolph NJ

        Mr. Caputo turned himself in to Officer Jason Gould at police headquarters to answer a Randolph warrant. The bail of $340.00 was posted and Mr. Caputo was released.

This is really just a form of 'crib notes' on the public record.

I do intend to keep looking, however...

Next "Ask Slashdot" (4, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27686771)

I'm a military commander and I often find that my troops are invading the wrong houses, bombing schools, et cetera. I've heard that in technical support organizations they use "knowledge base" software to keep track of the solutions to common problems. I have just two questions. 1) Which knowledge base packages meet military security requirements? 2) Will I be able to prevent soldiers from entering "put a bullet in it" as the solution to every problem?

Re:Next "Ask Slashdot" (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27696225)

I'm a military commander and I often find that my troops are invading the wrong houses, bombing schools, et cetera.

Put a bullet in it.

Re:Useful and Needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27688275)

Makes sense that they should try out systems similar to those that are being trialled in other areas to combat this problem.

Though it would make more sense if they just kept the same unit in place. They are not a private business where employees may leave, or contractors may be replaced. They have control over all of the "employees" and can choose where to deploy them.

Re:Useful and Needed (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695335)

There is an actual limit to a soldier's usefulness in a high stress environment. Everybody is built differently so they use historical to make time limits for deployments. That being said, you could always volunteer to stay longer.

It's also a good idea to keep fresh eyes and ideas coming into the area. Not to mention new equipment (and the training to use it!).

Re:Useful and Needed (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#27689161)

Exactly. And tying this information to a map is probably the best UI for military operations. In the corporate world, you may have to do a little head-scratching to put together the correct search term. But on the ground, the key parameter is usually your location. And that can be obtained automatically. You shouldn't have to ask it, it should be able to track your current position and alert you to anything of potential interest in the area. And if the troops are carrying cameras or other recording equipment, any noteworthy 'events' could trigger automatic uploads to the wiki.

Think of Google Street View with a set of crosshairs superimposed.

Re:Useful and Needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695405)

You forgot about the best part of this system:

Enter Search String: [ poon ]

[I'm feeling lucky]

*click*

Re:Useful and Needed (1)

searp (1248692) | more than 5 years ago | (#27698965)

TIGR was designed to help with that problem. It is partially in place in the US to help with training prior to deployment; the rollout has been really rapid and somewhat uneven. We hope to provide it to all the troops long before deployment. The 1CD got caught in a bad fight in Sadr City right after rotating in, I think it was 2004. They have been strong proponents. Deployment has been uneven, that is getting fixed.

Re:Useful and Needed (1)

drerwk (695572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27702279)

Duck. You want to work on technology that might help when you get back to the States? I'm in the Boston area. andrew dot kaluzniacki at baesystems dot com

Don't panic (4, Insightful)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685753)

I totally need something like this for my GPS-enabled cell phone for a real world Hichhiker's Guide. :)

Re:Don't panic (1)

WmLGann (1143005) | more than 5 years ago | (#27686237)

I was sort of assuming, when they mentioned in-the-field access to the system, they were going to develop some kind of iPhone app, like the stuff mentioned the other day.

Re:Don't panic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27689289)

There could actually be potential for development here using FBI Crime statistics in the US, combined with a maps utility of choice (google comes to mind) to create a color overlay to the maps indicating a criminal risk level to areas.

You'd then be able to use such information for travel plans, hotel bookings etc to determine if that address you're wanting to stay at, is rife with car break-ins, etc.

I'd buy that for a dollar.

Re:Don't panic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27691275)

Ala TomTom's MapShare [tomtom.com] or Google's Wiki [google.com] layer?

Re:Don't panic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695973)

next best thing?
http://www.roadsideamerica.com/ [roadsideamerica.com]

Fuck the troops (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27685787)

The more that get killed by so-called insurgents, the better. It's a suitable price to pay for invading Iraq.

one action, two problems solved (-1, Flamebait)

kaaposc (1515329) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685795)

get the f*ck out of there and there will be 1) no dying and 2) no need for such tools. keep enthropy of the Universe low.

Re:one action, two problems solved (1)

kaaposc (1515329) | more than 5 years ago | (#27686305)

didn't know anti-war position equals flamebait...

Re:one action, two problems solved (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#27686703)

didn't know anti-war position equals flamebait...

It does when your two statements are factually false. Do you really think Sunni vs Shia violence will magically stop when all foreign military is out of Iraq? Fat chance. Likely, it will escalate.
As far as 'no need for such tools'...it is an information sharing and continuity system. Useful in all sorts of (military) ways. For instance, a peacekeeping force in Africa somewhere. Or UN peacekeepers in Timor or Georgia.

Re:one action, two problems solved (1)

kaaposc (1515329) | more than 5 years ago | (#27686807)

just don't tell me about "all good things" war brings to people..

Re:one action, two problems solved (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27688881)

just don't tell me about "all good things" war brings to people..

You're right - we should have just let Hitler have all of Europe and Tojo all of Asia.

What are you - french?

Re:one action, two problems solved (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27692795)

You're right - we should have just let Hitler have all of Europe and Tojo all of Asia.

Tojo and Hitler started the wars. The Allies just finished them.

might be a reason... (1)

drakaan (688386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27686875)

I'm guessing it was more a commentary on illogic than on your feelings about war...

"...get the f*ck out of there and there will be 1) no dying and 2) no need for such tools. keep enthropy of the Universe low..."

Troops not being "there" years ago did not mean that there was no dying. I can think of numerous uses for such tools (disaster relief, sales, census-taking, etc). Lastly, entropy always increases.

I'm just sayin'...

This is not good! (0)

jack_n_jill (642554) | more than 5 years ago | (#27686791)

This is just another weapon whose effect will be to prolong the war. It is no different than more troops or more bombs. It certainly will not have the desired effect. The insurgents will observe the new strategy and adjust their tactics to counter it. The idea that there is some new weapon will allow us to "win" the war is an illusion. This happens on a regular basis, we should recognize the pattern by now. There is no "silver bullet" that will allow us to win. We have done enough, it is time to leave!

Re:This is not good! (3, Insightful)

drakaan (688386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27687023)

I wish that there was a "-1: Straw-man" moderation...

No one has said (that I have seen) that this is a silver bullet to allow us to win. Beyond that, unless your definition of what it means to win (in Iraq) is vastly different from mine, winning would mean the end of military operations there, which I expect (based on the pair of comments you made about weapons) you would approve of.

That aside, This is a tool, not a strategy. This tool provides historical information to people (soldiers) who would make *worse* decisions (life-or-death decisions affecting Iraqi civilians as well as soldiers) without it.

Whether it's time to leave or not, how is this system a bad thing for the situation in Iraq?

Re:This is not good! (2, Insightful)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27687217)

Indeed, it'll most likely aid immesurably for the residents of the next country we all go and liberate.

Joking aside, While I never agreed with going to war, I do agree that we should clean up what we've done, and this does go some way to ensure that can happen consistently and easilly.

Re:This is not good! (2, Interesting)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27687357)

All joking aside, TIGR Net is not something that will work well if we were to deploy, let's just say, to Angola tomorrow. TIGR is very fast and responsive in remote Iraqi FOBs because of its dispersed servers. Each machine is only pulling from the closest server, which updates itself during downtimes. There are other tools that do similar things to TIGR, but are slower in these remote locations because they pull from servers farther away and through constricted networks.

Re:This is not good! (1)

searp (1248692) | more than 5 years ago | (#27699035)

The current version of TIGR would work fine anywhere there was a static deployment. Having said that, TIGR is only as useful as the data it has captured, so what happens is the utility grows with time. New place, limited data = limited utility... although the imagery has been a consistent hit.

Re:This is not good! (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 5 years ago | (#27689547)

I do agree that we should clean up what we've done

Good. Since the UK screwed everything up to begin with, it's clear that any "cleaning up" should be done by them. (Of course you can cast responsibility for the Middle East even further back in time. The lesson being that while meddling with people is unethical, ultimately they are responsible for their own lives. Trying to clean someone up after you've raped them is creepy)

Re:This is not good! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27690637)

Joking aside, While I never agreed with going to war, I do agree that we should clean up what we've done,

Me, too. So let's find a way to fix all this carbon :P

More seriously, how many major military conflicts in the world today has the USA not exacerbated somehow?

Re:This is not good! (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 5 years ago | (#27690451)

There is no "silver bullet" that will allow us to win.

Uh...ever heard of Fat Man and Little Boy? I know it's a very different war (which is why nukes are not the "silver bullet" for this war) but that's not to say that there can't be one. And besides, I didn't see anyone claiming that this tool would win the war, just help to reduce casualties and increase the effectiveness (by increasing the environmental awareness) of the troops on the ground.

What's a Wiki? (1)

PMuse (320639) | more than 5 years ago | (#27687163)

Yes, it's apparently a wiki [wikipedia.org] ("a collection of Web pages designed to enable anyone with access to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language").

No, it's apparently not a Wiki [wikipedia.org] ("a type of collaborative software that runs a Wiki system"). From TFA:

TIGR is somewhat like Google Maps and Wiki, but the backend of TIGR was very, very carefully designed so that it would work over military networks in these tactical environments where, as you can imagine, the network is very fragile and the bandwidth is sparse.

Is it just me, or does Wikipedia have a pretty circular definition of what is not a wiki?

Marine Currently Deployed In Afghanistan (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27688219)

Wow, yet another fast tracked technology that just adds to our footprint. We have so many different types of systems: tons of mapping software, command and control software, sharepoint, COPOF(command post of the future), IRC, share drives... The list goes on and on.

The fact is while i haven't seen this particular piece of software yet i already see it now. It is going to come in its own green 'field expedient' case. It will be one more thing to take up the little bandwidth we have on our network.

Obviously someone thought there was a need for such an application but i have to disagree. We keep everything documented (currently in Afghanistan), pictures, Intel Reports, grid locations for IED blasts etc. A wiki really isn't going to organize this information any better than anything we are using now.

Major setbacks to Military Communications Systems & Applications:

They do not integrate with previous systems. The Military (Marine Corps specifically) does not let go of old systems. Obviously you combine the two of these and you have a problem. I really wish there was some sort of interoperability clause in all government software contracts. Since we have a hard time utilizing open source we should get a robust API at the very least! I dunno, i could go on for days about this. I just think this TIGR system is going to be unnecessary.

Semper Fi

Stop right there! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27689233)

I don't WANT you using open source. I want your job to be so difficult that the government gives up and BRINGS YOU HOME.

I do not want the government using MY open source projects to kill innocent people.

The more IT problems you have, the better.

Re:Stop right there! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27689371)

Thanks to our comm guys we don't have problems. But thanks for that vote of confidence.

Fortuna Favet Fortibus!

ps: no one's innocent.

Jargon disconnect (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27688625)

two of the people responsible for the development of TIGR talk about the intel issues that troops face in hostile territory
Have they tried using AMD instead?

Obvious promotion (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#27689239)

Put a TIGR in your tank!

I've actually used this tool... (2, Informative)

justwill (132777) | more than 5 years ago | (#27690961)

I'm an Army LT currently deployed. I've seen this in action and have a good idea what it's capable of. The best analogy is that it's basically a customized version of Google Maps with the following:
    - access to newer imagery
    - customized route & search tools
    - user submitted reporting
    - automatically imports historical reports

There are no special pelican cases and 5 year old rubberized hardware. It won't tie in to your BFT in your vehicle (at least not for years and years to come). You simply fire up your SIPR computer (the classified computer on a closed network - for those who don't know) and go to a specific web address and log in.

It's not a tool for the guy on the ground. SGT Snuffy isn't going to stop his fire team on patrol and consult TIGR. However, his LT may use it to plan routes and get a sense for historical activity before writing the operations order.

Without going into great depth discussing the limitations and capabilities of a tool being used to plan and conduct current operations, there are a few points that have been brought up in discussion I'd like to address:

1) The comment about "customized for military networks," simply means that they've made it a distributed system - you login to the TIGR server closest to you which reduces latency. The SIPR network uses encrypted satellite and various line-of-sight hardware to communicate - and bandwidth is at a premium.

2) The "Wiki" comparisons are... weak. The majority of TIGR's utility comes because it automatically imports from the master database of event reports. Users can create their own reports but these are typically too inconsistent to be useful. The reports that work their way through the standard reporting system are slower, but create a much more consistent and useful data set.

3) It's still got a ways to go. The UI is clunky, the search tools are really cool, but making operation graphics leaves something to be desired. The imagery is no better or worse than the imagery set available on the version of Google Earth we've got running over here. In fact - I prefer to use Google Earth plus a homebrew data import process (excel plus some macros to generate the kml files) rather than TIGR. But this tool is a HUGE step in the right direction. I'm sure down the road - all soldiers and marines will have ipod like devices mounted on their forearm with real-time location updates and historical activity represented as well as locations of other friendly units. TIGR is a baby step in the right direction.

And yes - none of us can figure out where the hell the "I" comes from. My guess is that "TGR" was being pronounced as "Tigger" which brings to mind children's books, not bad-ass soldiers. So they came up with a way to fix that at the expense of a nonsensical acronym.

Re:I've actually used this tool... (1)

searp (1248692) | more than 5 years ago | (#27699007)

It will get out to the vehicles as fast as possible. I will say many of the users are enlisted, and I worked with some patrol soldiers who used it. Going to the vehicles is a big change - more collaboration tools needed, network non-existent, etc. Working on it, though.
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