Infantry: July 12, 2004


American infantry now have available to them a computerized mapping system that shows troops hidden (from enemy view) routes through any urban or rural area. After five years of effort, a team from the University of Southern California developed the software to do this kind of analysis. The HeraclesMaps system (which can run on a laptop) can answer critical questions like, "Show us a route from point A to B where we cannot be observed (or shot at) by someone at point C." The HeraclesMaps system can take aerial photos and existing map data and create a 3-D map. The main purpose of the project was not to produce more effective military maps, but to develop ways to apply artificial intelligence techniques to extract more useful information out of the increasing amount of mapping data available. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) quickly saw how useful HeraclesMaps could be in working out plans for commando raids. But regular combat troops would find HeraclesMaps useful for finding safe movement routes, or what approach routes unseen enemy troops might use. 


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