Understanding Urban Terrain - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Understanding urban terrain
1 / 12

  • Uploaded on
  • Presentation posted in: General

Understanding Urban Terrain. Six Fundamental Differences. Decentralized Control Communications are frequently restricted and intermittent Requires centralized planning and focus Presence of a civilian population Is always a factor Uneven ambient light Glaring lights and harsh shadows

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.

Download Presentation

Understanding Urban Terrain

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Presentation Transcript

Understanding urban terrain

UnderstandingUrban Terrain

Six fundamental differences

Six Fundamental Differences

Decentralized Control

Communications are frequently restricted and intermittent

Requires centralized planning and focus

Presence of a civilian population

Is always a factor

Uneven ambient light

Glaring lights and harsh shadows

Many surfaces are highly reflective

Night vision nearly impossible

  • Defensive Advantage

    • Defender enjoys cover and concealment

    • Avenues of approach are highly predictable

  • Three-Dimensional

    • Buildings are hollow and multi-story

    • Some buildings have intrinsic value

    • Vertical avenues of approach and escape

  • Short-range engagements

    • Typical engagement is less than seven yards

    • Targets are fleeting and line of sight is restricted

Understanding urban terrain public land survey system

Understanding Urban TerrainPublic Land Survey System

  • Originated by Thomas Jefferson in 1785

    • Includes private land that has been sold

    • >1.5 billion acres have been surveyed

  • Used to divide public lands into rectangles

    • Townships—6 square miles

    • Sections—1 square mile(640 acres)

    • Subdivisions—anything less than a section

      • Half section, quarter section, quarter-quarter section, etc.

1 Mile(640 Acres)

Understanding urban terrain city streets

Understanding Urban TerrainCity Streets

Range line

  • Conventions

  • Street numbers

    • Odd—north and west

    • Even—south and east

  • Base line

    • Central or Center

    • Main

    • Midway

  • Range line

    • Meridian

    • Principal


Base line





~1/8th Mile

Sociological influences

Sociological Influences

  • Age

    • The 100 year old house is an anomaly. The "lifespan" for houses is ~73 years

    • 43+% have been built since 1970 and about 70% of the 110 million houses in the USA will be around at least another twenty years

  • Family

    • Size and idea offamily has impactedsize and construction

  • Societal shifts

    • Agriculture to industryto information

    • Crime, congestion, safety(reversed floor plans)

Technological influences

Technological Influences

  • Construction materials

    • Plywood, trusses, metal reinforcements, drywall, pre-hung doors, plastic pipes, zero clearance fireplaces, central air conditioning, manufactured housing

  • Accessories

    • Fiber optics, HD TV, intercoms, dishwashers, trash compactors, wireless internet, multiple phones, whole house audio, etc.

    • Multiple bathrooms and home office now common

    • Anti-intrusion systems

  • Floor plans changedto accommodate newtechnologies and life styles

Economical influences

Economical Influences

  • House is single most expensive lifetime investment

    • House representsperson's "worth"

  • Great Depression

    • Smaller houses,row houses andtract housing

  • Post World War II Boom

    • Converted row houses, large scale tracts, mass-produced housing

      • Similar, even identical floor plans

  • Today

    • Cottage industries, telecommuting, electronic access

    • Home offices now becoming a norm

Political influences

Political Influences

  • Building Codes

    • First appeared in 1922

    • Governs types of construction

  • Planning and Zoning Ordinances

    • Four major zones

      • Residential, industrial,commercial and agricultural

      • Divided still further into types of each

    • Results in clusters oftypes of buildings

    • Adjacent attributes oftenapply to target

Environmental influences

Environmental Influences

  • Every house is a "mini-environment" (climate)

    • Conditioned air, water storage and drainage, protection from elements, etc.

  • Fire

    • Protection is paramount

    • Primary impetus for building codes

  • Water

    • Protection from precipitation

    • Protection from ground water

    • Water kept inside for drinkingwashing, eating, cooking, etc.

  • Wind

    • Affects building codes and design

  • Gravity

    • The ubiquitous force to which all buildings eventually succumb

    • Strongly influences construction and provides reliable clues for floor plans— especially weight over distance (span)

Number system

Single Story


Front side is “1 Side”

“Rear Five”

“Front Five”

Number System



























Left to RightBottom to Top

Immediate Deployments

Understanding urban terrain


  • Cardinal Directions (most well known)

    • Awkward in city, compasses affected by magnetic fields and steel objects

  • Shift from a known point (common)

    • Uses prominent terrain features as steering marks

    • Requires prior knowledge or detailed directions

  • Grid System (MGRS, Thomas Guide and others)

    • Effective over distance but requires map and ineffective for micro-terrain

  • Numbering System (Common tactical “work around”)

    • Highly effective for micro-terrain, inappropriate for longer distances

Que s tions


  • Login