Introducing:PFPS Google Earth ToolUpdated for Version 1.0 Capt Mark Jacobsen 10th Airlift Squadron 19 January 2008 In Partnership with the USAFA Institute for Information Technology Applications (IITA) and Warfighter’s Edge (WEdge)
Introduction • What the Software Is • New Features • Examples & Capabilities • Possible Uses • Pros & Cons • Google Earth in the Air Force • Future Capabilities • Conclusion
What Is It? • A utility that converts PFPS/FalconView data into a Google Earth .KML file for 3D visualization • Version 0.5 released in August 2007 • Version 1.0 released 22 January 2008 • Rewritten from scratch • Better integration with FalconView • Many new features!
New Features in v1.0 Direct conversion of .RTE files – no more .CRD conversion Two new kinds of airspace: elliptical and rectangular New Threat object: supports probability ellipses, detection rings & engagement rings FalconView Drawing File importer FalconView Threat File importer FalconView Local Point File importer New support for airspace floors Customizable icons for graphical styles Libraries for FalconView, Google Earth, and NGA icons Ability to nest objects in folders SIPRNET compatibility/hosting
Another PFPS route was imported to show the IR 326 corridor. It uses an extruded, shaded path set to 5000’ MSL to give the appearance of solid walls around the low level corridor. A PFPS route was imported to show IR326. It is shown at a constant 500’ AGL. This is a Google Earth screenshot, showing the capabilities of PFPS Google Earth Tool. It shows several types of objects that the user can create. Polygonal airspace volumes were defined by PFPS route files. These represent Restricted Area R6714 and the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Cylindrical airspace volumes were defined with a 3NM radius and 1500’ AGL to encompass local airfields.
PFPS Google Earth Tool allows users to create wedge-shaped airspace regions defined by radials and DME from a known waypoint. Six of these regions were used to build an airfield pie. Note: to avoid compromising classified information, this picture does not accurately reflect the airspace around Baghdad. It contains deliberate misinformation and imaginary airspace regions. Here is another screenshot, showing other ways the PFPS Google Earth Tool can be used to represent airspace. A PFPS route was used to define a polygonal region of airspace, representing an imaginary firing range.
One of the most exciting new features in v1.0 is the FalconView Drawing File importer. With a few clicks, a user can visualize a FalconView drawing file in 3D. This makes it easy for users—from individual pilots to CAOC Intelligence Officers—to view the same data set in both applications.
Version 1.0 now allows users to define both floors and ceilings for airspace. Due to a limitation in Google Earth, previous versions only supported SFC to ceilings. Version 1.0 also adds elliptical and rectangular airspace, allowing users to create virtually any airspace shape they wish.
The ZSU-23 on the left edge of the screen was loaded using the Threat Importer. For any given threat, users can specify probability ellipses (shown here in blue), detection rings (not shown), and engagement rings (shown in red). This screenshot demonstrates both. The icons on the right half of the screen are local points. Note that the importer actually uses the same FalconView icons in Google Earth. Version 1.0 has two new import functions. It now imports FalconView Threat (.thr) files and FalconView Local Point (.lpt) files.
Users can edit graphical properties for every object to determine how that object will appear in Google Earth. Version 1.0 supports customizable icons. Its use of Icon Libraries means that FalconView icons—such as those used for threats and local points—can be ported straight into Google Earth. This is what PFPS Google Earth Tool looks like. The user can create or import a variety of different objects using the buttons on the toolbar. These objects appear in the tree view on the left of the screen. Double-clicking any object opens a property form, such as the Airspace Properties form above. The user can customize each object as desired.
Possible Uses? • Best determined by individual units or crews • Some possibilities: • Low-level fly-throughs • Visualization of ACOs or other congested airspace • Representation of local airfields, restricted areas, wildlife areas, etc. • Study of unfamiliar airfields, drop zones or targets • Threat/SAFIRE/IED plotting and animation
Pros & Cons • Pros • Easier to use than TaskView • Another tool to enhance SA in unfamiliar territory • Depicts routes in relation to 3D airspace • Cons: • Not a sanctioned Air Force product • Google Earth is still an emerging technology • Lacks the precision of tools like FalconView • May be subject to bugs—always check against professional tools like PFPS
GE in the Air Force • NGA has a SIPRNET version running • NGA map data running on GE client software • No standard NIPRNET solution yet • Installing the free version of GE on a government computer is a license violation • Free version okay for personal/home use • AF authorized version costs $400/yr per copy • AF Combat Support office discussing possible acquisition of GE Enterprise Edition for NIPRNET
GE in the Air Force • DoD is taking GE seriously • Close look by: • 951 ESG (Mission Planning software) • AFCSO (FalconView acquisition) • USAF Academy Institute for Information Technology Applications • NGA providing tower data in .KML format • Many commercial aviation companies providing .KML data for DAFIF, charts, airspace, etc. Extract from NGA Tower Database
GE in the Air Force PFPS Google Earth Tool is being tried out around the Department of Defense 4,300+ visits to product website E-mails from: Air Force Active Duty & Reserve fighter & heavy units Navy fighter squadron Coast Guard and Civil Air Patrol SAR units Missile Defense testing contractors C-17 Weapons Instructor Course National Geospatial Intelligence Agency
Future Capabilities • I’m not done yet • Future versions will hopefully include: • Post-flight GPS tracks • E-CHUM and DAFIF support • Threat terrain masking • ACO importer (early prototype is functional) • IITA / Warfighter’s Edge Partnership • Possible accreditation as part of WEdge • Possible future development under IITA (link)
Future Capabilities • Version 1.0 was redesigned from the ground up to integrate with other software tools • PFPSGoogle Earth conversion code is kept separate from front-end user application • Conversion classes stored in .DLL accessible to all .NET languages (VB.NET, C#, C++ .NET) • Other applications can access this class library to convert PFPS data to .KML • If you are interested in acquiring or using the conversion library for your own project, please contact me
In Conclusion • PFPS Google Earth Tool—a new resource to help crews visualize flights in 3D • Download for free • NIPRNET:www.googleearthpilot.com • SIPRNET: gis.geoint.nga.smil.mil/GoogleEarth/googleearthpilot • JWICS: gis.geoint.nga.ic.gov/GoogleEarth/googleearthpilot • If you would like more information or would like to be included in future updates, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org