German exercise helps put NATO on the map
led to northern Germany for NATO's military map makers – as they convened in
Sennelager for a major cartographic exercise organised by the ARRC.
troops from 16 different nations came together for the week-long exercise, to share
their technical expertise in creating bespoke mapping.
The training was designed to develop the planning and analytical skills of the geospatial personnel, and help them learn to
create digital and paper maps that are useful to military commanders.
British Royal Engineer officer Lieutenant
Colonel Simon Finch (pictured above right) explained: "It's fascinating really – what we are doing is
presenting a lot of information that is extremely complex. And by
simplifying what is complicated, it can allow commanders to make decisions in a
The troops were supported by a range of
experts to assist with their map making, including specialists from the Met
Office and the cultural protection organisation 'Blue Shield International'.
Dr Emma Cunliffe from the Blue Shield explained
how cultural heritage is yet another consideration. She said: "One of the key
lessons is where to find cultural data – and why it matters just as much as
what the weight of a tank is and whether it is going to sink into a bog.
"The importance of understanding cultural
touch points is that they are likely to be highly significant in community
tension, understanding the areas where your battlespace will be highly
congested with cultural buildings and avoiding them if that's an option. So, it becomes about risk management
and informed decision making."
À LA CARTE
The exercise was held in Sennelager's
Normandy Barracks, known to generations of British Army soldiers based in
Germany – and until this year home to 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade. The
return of NATO troops to the camp demonstrates its continuing use as an
important training area.
Lieutenant Colonel Finch added: "It's fantastic being based here in central Europe as it gives us the opportunity to draw more people in. This exercise is truly pan-NATO.
"And I believe we're very fortunate that the British Army is retaining this (base) as a training facility. It's absolutely perfect for what we require and we'll be coming back!"
Sergeant Evan Durkin from the US Army (centre
above) concluded: "It's been a wonderful experience to come out
here and share in all the geospatial analysis that these different nations have
put together, and create some really amazing maps.
"Map making is just one of the many things
that go on behind the scenes. It doesn't normally end up on the movie screens,
but we've all worked very hard and we're very pleased with the outcome."
Story by Allied Rapid Reaction Corps Public Affairs Office