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Whenever I talk with my Gradma Lillian or any of my Aunts about what I do, this question is invariably asked…

"So if I go outside and stand in my yard, can you see me??"

Well…no, wait, what are you so worried about Grandma?  I used to explain that the satellite imagery I work with is a snapshot taken some time in the recent past and is just a picture.  Lately, I just answer, "Yes."  This is because every movie or TV show I see that has any semblance of a map in it leads to audience to believe that anything is possible, most recently Die Hard 18.  Why fight it?

So, good guy or bad guy, if you are starring in an action film and have some digital intelligence gathering to do, then this is what you are going to get…

  • An interface that is dark and semi-transparent
  • Only keyboards may be used (the faster the clacking, the more effective); one never sees a mouse
  • The protagonist (antagonist?) always delegates actions to a small team of techno drones, whom he/she stands behind ("Get me a schematic of that water tower! Zoom. Enhance."
  • Any and all arbitrary ad-hoc data requests conveniently incorporate seamlessly into the map –invariably in 3D
  • Anything can be tracked via a blinking dot
  • Every window or data element comes and goes with scaled transitions
  • There always seems to be a streaming paragraph of impossibly small text -crucial intelligence
  • Every office of government, right down to the local level, has an array of massive flat-panel monitors with expensive, immersive proprietary map interfaces
  • The satellite imagery is always live
  • Even the lowest-resolution digital images can be zoomed and “enhanced” for perfect clarity, conceivably down to the atomic level

    John McClane surveys the situation in a manner that is soooo analogue. Meanwhile, is counterpart is busy with fantastically interactive maps in his mobile command center.


    John Nelson / IDV Solutions / john.nelson@idvsolutions.com


    One response

    1. Christopher

      Don\’t forget:
      * Every camera, in every building, anywhere in the world, can instantly be controlled by the command center – panned, zoomed, tilted at will;
      * The bad guys never seem to do bad stuff anywhere that its cloudy;
      * (for those 24 fans out there) Any image or schematic, no matter how complex or details, can be transferred to a pda/cell phone in 3 seconds;

      February 8, 2008 at 10:29 am

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