back to article 'Google Earth for the Iraq insurgency' gets $115m

Pentagon boffinry chiefs have decided to spend more than a hundred million dollars on a new military database/map system which will let troops in the field collect, share and organise intelligence more effectively. The system in question is named TIGR, for Tactical Ground Reporting, and it has been described as "Google Maps …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Good stuff

    Has the oportunity to use simmilar tech while at *brzzzztt* and helping to *krrrrshhhht*, was good tech, really usable and made the deployment of small groups much more efficient, although our kit has integration to*zaaaaat* no carrier

    Fun aside, there is already next generation stuff on the ... err "market" and in eval. Only problem we had is you really need several background technicans for every squad and the debriefings get much longer than they already are. So you get to drag along even more staff and logistics get even less fun than they are now.

    Good for engagements like US/Iraq or Israel/Lebanon, but (currently) unusable against countries which can properly defend themselves.

  2. SmallYellowFuzzyDuck, how pweety!

    Title goes here

    So are they going to drive the Street View car through there at some point as well?

  3. gjw
    Jobs Horns

    It doesn't take two boffins...

    to forecast that this thing will be hacked before you can say "holy landmark".

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Staggering amount of money

    $100,000, 000 is a stupid amount of money for this.

    They would be better off paying someone who has a lot of experience in doing this sort of thing (say Google) dunno - how much? a couple of million? A bit more maybe? ...and getting them to put something together for them.

    I'm sure Google could do this standing on the heads, and it would almost certainly be a whole load more reliable, and probably smaller and cheaper to run than their proposed $100 million system.

    It's amazing how much your average government department can waste money.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Insurgents his legs

    So they're attaching location based data to non location based attacks?


    Or is this another one of those print & spend things, i.e. it doesn't have to make sense it just has to cost a lot and be done by US companies.

  6. Graham Marsden


    ... are the Iraqis going to see black painted tanks with big camera poles driving down their streets next?

  7. Andy 75

    On the other hand

    If Google did it, they'd also retain all searches on their own machines. That way they could advertise the correct ammo and body armour to soldiers who need re-supply.

    Just click the banner ad, put in your credit card details and guaranteed shipping the same day! Or combine your order with your fellow squaddies to try and bring down P&P. Money back if you get blown up on the day of order *if* the report makes it back to the googleplex. And you let them use the pictures for marketting.

    Also, while insurgents may have legs, the terrain doesn't. Some areas are just a lot better for ambushes than others.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Always use your minimap


    "m" for map, "n" to toggle zoom.

    Really though, this is basic stuff. A little bit of statistical analysis could go a long way.

    Grenade icon because it goes well with CS/DoD/TF2/etc

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SIPRNet Google Earth

    SIPRNet, the US Military Secret network does have a Google Earth Enterprise setup on it. But that is operated by JSOC (The Joint Special Operations Command), so it's not for general US army use.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    It's always interesting to hear people hold forth on topics with which they have no familiarity. It's too bad the author is one of these.

    Where do you think the imagery comes from? Satellite photography and ground-based imagery is not going to cut it. That, plus you need to do the imagery persistently (not just "one pass and you're done"), and at high resolution. That means planes/drones and specialized equipment. Then downlinking the data. Then covering hundreds of square miles. Let's not ignore the tracking and recognition aspect, either.

    Just to a first approximation, ignoring the battlespace aspect of this problem, you've got something that Google would be hard-pressed to deal with. 100 mil. is a bargain price for developing and deploying this kind of tech. Remember, it was 14m just for the development -- deployment is another beast altogether.

    Of course, TIGR is not the only thing out there -- similar concepts are already in play, and this is just a refinement of existing work.

    And the rest of the commenters... seriously. Some things are hard. This is one of them. Hard things often cost money. Deal with it.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    $100,000,000.00 isn't that much...

    or I should say it depends on who's on the board of directors or share holders in the company.

  12. Nemesii

    TIGR =Tactical Ground Reporting

    Am I the only one seeing a fault with this acronym?

  13. Jean-Luc
    Thumb Up


    Guys, why dontcha look up some Pentagon procurement costs? F-22s are $339m/unit. Pentagon was spending $1B/wk in Iraq, wuzn't it?

    If it works, if the troops like it and if it helps them, this is not the stupidest way to spend $. It sounds like a lot to programmers, but our dev cycles are not >10 yrs. At least, not usually. But $100m software budgets are not unheard of.

    True, it may have little relevance to a war against "countries which can properly defend themselves", but we ain't involved in those kind of wars right now, are we? We need to get things out there that work, work now, and for these wars. Not the great US-China war of 2032 that some insist on planning for.

    And winning these wars probably involves way different kit than what the big bucks are being spent on.

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