How NIMA sends intelligence to the field

Military operation planners are now demanding video fly-throughs in minutes instead of weeks. So the National Imagery and Mapping Agency has begun posting so-called Neopacks of intelligence data on secure Web sites for the armed forces.

Jan Schneier, director of NIMA's Asian operations, said the Neopacks have hyperlinks to videos, city or country maps in various scales, and any other digital intelligence the agency can tailor on 24-hour notice. He spoke yesterday during NIMA Industry Day at the Defense Intelligence Analysis Center at Bolling Air Force Base, Washington.

The word Neopack came from 'noncombatant evacuation operation package.' Schneier demonstrated a hypothetical Neopack for Marine Corps helicopter crews sent to rescue U.S. embassy personnel from an imaginary crisis in Yemen. The links showed highway routes, street maps, building names, height elevations, and pictures, and other information about the personnel to be rescued.

Although NIMA is trying to get out of the paper map business, Schneier said, it still makes escape and evasion maps for military pilots. The maps, printed on waterproof DuPont Tyvek film, can serve as blankets, shelters or rain collection devices. 'As a bonus,' he said, 'the maps tell what is edible in a particular region.'

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