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Subject: Faster, Cheaper And Good Enough
SYSOP    10/25/2021 5:54:08 AM
 
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Toryu88       10/27/2021 12:36:39 PM
I did my thesis back in 1980 on use of Satellite Radar imagery. I went into the oil industry doing research into use of orbital imagery for oil exploration. Sadly at the time, the 1980's its capability was way oversold. Every oil company had a group doing remote sensing and they were not cheap. At the time the old Landsat imagery was a mere $200 a tape. We shared them from company to company and then Reagan privatized the satellites and the cost per tape went to $2000 over night, and they became copyrighted so no more sharing. The resolution back then was a poor 100 meters then SPOT came along in Europe and the resolution of that satellite was 30 meters. Even still you can distinguish objects smaller than the stated resolution if contrast differences are large enough. I did a lot of expert witnessing in remote sensing primarily over environmental sites. Engineering companies do a lot of spec shoots over cities and sell the photography to whoever wants or needs it. When putting together a 50 year history of a site those spec shoots were a gold mine. In Ft Worth I found imagery flown over a disputed site that actually caught tanker trunks dumping waste oil into the pits in question. So the property owner who was suing neighoring industrial businesses was caught red handed allowing illegal dumping into the pits they were claiming were contaminated by other nearby businesses. Whoops! One of the big problems the pentagon faces is having enough qualified interpreters. They have a river of data, electronic and photographic imagery coming in and don't have the people to digitize the resulting maps for input into smart weapons (remember one of our cruise missiles flying into the Chinese consulate in the balkans because the map was made before the building was erected?) or to do basic day to day interpretation. When I interviewed for the CIA the system was explained to me. Two different intelligent arms do concurrent interperetation. I recall one was in the Defense Department the other in the Intelligence world. Analysts are assigned specialty areas, like Russian refining industry, or aircaft manufacturing etc. A brief is written up of activity by BOTH arms and forwarded on up the food chain. This is supposed to provide two independent interpretations of what is going on. Makes you wonder what the briefs said about WMDs in Iraq. I interviewed with a company on the Beltway set up by ex CIA types and the interviewer had imagery sitting on his desk of Bagdhad. This was just before Desert Shield/Desert Storm. I knew the city by way of the convergence of the two rivers. It seemed the Pentagon was so short handed it was farming out target aquisition to private contracting firms. They were staffing up to do more of this because most of their analysts were working on digitizing updated terrain maps to upload into cruise missiles and the like. Makes you wonder if they are keeping updated maps of cities in China, else any cruise strikes by us might just take out a lot of new high rises or apartment buildings rather than the intended targets. Just having the imagery isn't enough. I recall looking at imagery of Baghdad air port on line and people marveling at how good the "cratering" munitions worked that had been designed for use against the Soviets and Warsaw Pact. I took one look and knew that they were not "holes" but rather piles of dirt that Saddam had placed on the runway to prevent any surprise use by the Coalition invaders. The could be bulldozed off quickly but still denied US forces use of the strips initially. It takes a trained interpreter to know what they are actually looking at. And apparently they are in short supply.
 
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