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Chapter 3

Topographic Support

Computer technology has changed the Army's mapping, data-collection, and battlefield-planning processes. As computer power and accessibility have grown during the 1970s and 1980s, new methods of map making and terrain analysis have been developed. Military commanders have long realized the interdependence of the earth's land features and their success on the battlefield. Those military leaders who stand out in history visualized the terrain and its effects on the battle's outcome. Today's topographic engineer (along with his GI&S tools) is able to represent the terrain and its effects more accurately and faster to help the commander visualize the terrain. The commander's knowledge of the terrain will allow him to obtain a superior advantage in shaping the battle space; it is a key portion of information dominance leading to successful operations.


3-63. The engineer officer at theater, corps, division, and brigade is the terrain-visualization expert. He is responsible for assisting the commander in visualizing the terrain and its impact on friendly and enemy operations. The process includes identifying and understanding those terrain aspects that the commander can exploit to gain advantage over the enemy as well as those that the enemy will most likely exploit. Terrain visualization is a subjective evaluation of the terrain's physical attributes as well as the physical capabilities of the vehicles, equipment, and people that must cross or occupy the terrain. This situational awareness (friendly and enemy elements, terrain, and weather) allows the commander to visualize the battle space.

3-64. The engineer terrain-analysis technician (215D) is the terrain-analysis and GI&S expert within the Army's force structure. His primary function is to help the commander and his staff in understanding the battle space by assimilating and integrating large volumes of geographic information and transforming it into visualization, information, and knowledge.

3-65. The topographic analyst (81T) supervises and/or performs cartographic and terrain-analysis duties. He collects and processes military geographic information from sensed imagery, digital data, intelligence data, existing topographic products, and other collateral data sources; edits cartographic and terrain-analysis products; and advises command and staff officers on topographic operations and special map-product planning.

3-66. The topographic surveyor (82D) conducts precise geodetic surveys to provide control data for a wide range of uses, including precise navigation and artillery fires. The topographic surveyor also supervises topographic or geodetic computations.

3-67. The lithographer (81L) is the large-volume printing expert. He operates and performs operator maintenance on offset duplicators and presses, copy cameras, platemakers, and various types of bindery and film-processing equipment. He also supervises and performs all printing and binding, camera operations, layout, and platemaking activities.

3-68. The topographic-engineering supervisor (81Z) supervises topographic surveying, cartography, and lithographic activities and assists in topographic planning and control activities. The topographic-engineering supervisor determines requirements and provides technical supervision of topographic mapping and other military geographic intelligence programs, including geodetic and topographic surveying. He assists in command supervision and coordination of map reproduction and topographic nonstandard-product distribution. He provides staff supervision and principal noncommissioned officer (NCO) direction to units engaged in performing topographic-engineering missions.


3-69. Topographic operations include terrain analysis, geodetic survey, production and reproduction, database management, and exploitation. While each function provides information about the battle space's physical characteristics, the focus of topographic operations is on terrain analysis and the presentation of its results to the commander. Rapid analyses of terrain factors and environmental effects are essential for deploying advanced weapon systems effectively, visualizing the battle space, targeting, planning air and ground missions, and countering enemy weapons and intelligence-collection capabilities. Terrain database management is evolving as another critical GI&S mission. Database management incorporates the collection, production, and dissemination of GI.

3-70. Terrain analysis is the study of the terrain's properties and how they change over time, with use, and under varying weather conditions. Terrain analysis starts with the collection, verification, processing, revision and, in some cases, actual construction of source data. It requires the analysis of climatology (current and forecasted weather conditions), soil conditions, and enemy or friendly vehicle performance metrics. In short, it turns raw data into usable information. Terrain analysis is a technical process and requires the expertise of terrain-analysis technicians (215D) and topographic analysts (81T).

3-71. Terrain evaluation is a subset of terrain analysis that is most amendable to automation due to its focus on raster imagery and gridded elevation data. Terrain evaluation is available to any user of the ABCS at battalion and above. It does not include such in-depth studies as cross-country mobility, which requires the analysis of climatology/current weather conditions, soil conditions, and enemy or friendly vehicle performance metrics. However, terrain evaluation does include the tangible aspects of slope, relief, distance, accessibility, visibility, and cover—the picture a commander could hope to see from a strategically located hill overlooking the battlefield (before digitization).


3-72. METT-TC factors must be considered in topographic operations to provide the commander with the correct topographic products and analysis. Since these factors vary in any given situation, the term METT-TC dependent is a common way of denoting that the proper approach to a problem depends on these factors and their interrelationship in that specific situation. The application of METT-TC occurs within each BOS across the entire operational spectrum. The GI&S support detailed in this manual is focused on EAC, the corps, and division through brigade.


3-73. In the modern battlefield, the magnitude of available information (including geographic information) challenges leaders at all levels. Ultimately, they must assimilate thousands of bits of information to visualize the battlefield, assess the situation, and direct military action to achieve victory. Topographic analysts are an essential link for the commander to visualize the battlefield. Topographic analysts provide the commander's staff with timely GI&S for planning, coordinating, and establishing control measures consistent with the commander's intent. The Army does not fight alone; it integrates its efforts within the theater commander's unified operations along with other services, other national agencies, and allied and coalition forces. This necessitates a common operational picture whose foundation is based on geographic information. The management and exploitation of the terrain database is a topographic-engineer function.


3-74. Intelligence uses the IPB process to analyze the weather, terrain, and threat in a specific geographic area for all types of operations. The IPB integrates threat doctrine with weather and terrain as they relate to the mission within a specific battlefield environment. This is done to determine and evaluate threat capabilities, vulnerabilities, and probable COAs. This analytical process builds an extensive database for each potential area in which a unit may be required to operate. The IPB determines the impact of the threat, weather, and terrain on operations. The terrain-analysis portion of the IPB process is critical for determining how the enemy will project its forces within the AO and, ultimately, the AOI.

3-75. The IPB supports staff estimates and decision making. Applying the IPB process helps the commander selectively apply and maximize his combat power at critical points in time and space on the battlefield by—

  • Determining the threat's likely COA.
  • Describing the environment (and its effects) that friendly units are operating within.
The IPB is a continuous process consisting of the following four steps:
  • Define the battlefield environment. The G2/S2 identifies the battlefield characteristics that will influence friendly and threat operations. He also establishes the AOI's limits and identifies gaps in current intelligence holdings. To focus the remainder of the IPB process, he identifies the battlefield characteristics that require in-depth evaluation of their effects on friendly and threat operations (such as terrain, weather, logistical infrastructure, and demographics). These characteristics are analyzed in more detail within the command's AO and battle space.
  • Describe the battlefield's effects. The G2/S2 identifies the limitations and opportunities the environment offers for potential operations of friendly and threat forces. This evaluation focuses on the general capabilities of each force until COAs are developed later in the IPB process. This step always includes an examination of terrain and weather, but it may also include discussions of the characteristics of geography and infrastructure and their effects on friendly and threat operations. Products developed in this step might include—
    • A population-status overlay.
    • Overlays that depict the military aspects and effects of terrain.
    • A weather-analysis matrix.
    • Integrated products such as modified combined-obstacle overlays (MCOOs).
  • Evaluate the threat. The G2/S2 and his staff analyze the command's intelligence holdings to determine how the threat normally organizes for combat and how it conducts operations under similar circumstances.
  • Determine the threat's COA. The G2/S2 integrates the results of the previous steps into a meaningful conclusion. He determines the threat's likely objectives and available COAs given what it normally prefers to do and the effects of the specific environment in which it is currently operating.

Maneuver, mobility, and survivability

3-76. GI&S support to maneuver, mobility, and survivability are closely related. Engineers use the EBA as their mission planning and decision-making process. In the IPB phase, the engineer begins with the intelligence assessment of the enemy's objectives, capabilities, and probable COAs. He then analyzes the terrain using the five military aspects of terrain provided by the terrain-analysis unit—observation and fields of fire, cover and concealment, obstacles, key terrain, and avenues of approach (OCOKA). His OCOKA analysis is based not only on characteristics of the ground, but also on the enemy and the commander's intent. The engineer assessment produces advice on battle positions and engagement-area siting as well as initial information necessary to develop the obstacle plan and shape the battle space.

3-77. The EBA assesses the following engineer functions:

  • Mobility.
  • Countermobility.
  • Survivability.
  • Sustainment engineering.
  • Topographic engineering.

3-78. During mission planning, terrain analysts support the EBA and the commander to visualize the battle space by thoroughly portraying the military advantages and disadvantages. The GI&S provide the detailed information necessary to understand the battle space with respect to maneuver, mobility and survivability.

Fire Support

3-79. Fire-support (FS) assets in support of maneuver forces include field-artillery (FA) systems, mortars, tactical air units, naval gunfire, Army aviation units, and offensive electronic warfare. Essential topographic support provided to FS assets includes SCPs or TDAs.

3-80. FA survey planning and coordination begin at the corps's artillery survey planning and coordination element (SPCE) with an interface between the topographic engineers and the SPCE at division artillery (DIVARTY) and FA brigades. Army aviation assets are provided topographic support in the form of flight-line-masking, shaded-relief, and vertical-obstruction TDAs. These TDAs support mission planning and rehearsal.


3-81. Air-defense artillery (ADA) assets protect maneuver forces from enemy air attack. Support provided to ADA assets includes SCPs and TDAs such as—

  • Flight-line masking.
  • Air avenues of approach.
  • Elevation tint.
  • Flight-line target locator.
  • Obstructed-signal loss.
  • Surface-wind direction.
  • Visibility.
ADA survey planning and coordination begins at the corps's artillery SPCE, with an interface between the topographic engineers.


3-82. Logistics is the provision of personnel, logistics, and other support required for maintaining and prolonging operations or combat until mission accomplishment. The art of logistics is integrating strategic, operational, and tactical support while simultaneously moving units, personnel, equipment, and supplies in timely execution of the commander's intent and his concept of operations.

3-83. Logistics elements are provided with essential topographic information such as—

  • LOC TDAs.
  • Possible resupply points.
  • Assembly-area TDAs.
  • Cover-and-concealment TDAs.
  • Facilities (seaports, airfields, warehouses, fuel-storage, utilities, medical, financial institutions, and postal systems).


3-84. Strategic support (as required by national authority) includes GI&S support from NIMA and other national assets. The type and level of support is determined by the mission. It may include standard or nonstandard products provided through the DLA and information provided by NIMA, the TEC, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), host nations, and many other sources. This support is discussed in Chapter 2.


3-85. Army theater topographic units provide commanders at designated echelons with timely, accurate knowledge of the battle space through terrain visualization. These units support the Army's force-projection mission by rapidly producing special topographic products and maintaining and manipulating topographic databases. Theater topographic units perform terrain analyses, geodetic surveys, and special map reproduction. They also manage the theater-level topographic database.

3-86. The EAC support includes a battalion HHC, a topographic-engineer company providing GS to the theater, and a P&C team located with the Army component command or the JTF. The battalions maintain a strong support relationship with all topographic assets located within their theater and are responsible for assisting in the resupply of their assigned topographic units while deployed.

3-87. The battalion commander is the theater's topographic officer. He recommends the task organization and employment of all topographic assets in the theater. He maintains visibility of all topographic personnel, equipment, logistics, and operations within his theater. He uses his P&C teams to assist with coordinating requirements and recommending priorities for GI&S. The EAC topographic battalion ensures that the full spectrum of functional support is provided within the theater. This support includes—

  • Database management.
  • Terrain analysis.
  • Digital cartography.
  • Low-volume product reproduction.
  • Topographic survey.
  • Reproduction.
  • Special-products storage, distribution, and dissemination.

Database Management

3-88. Maintaining a topographic database is a critical function of all topographic operations (refer to Appendix D). Database development and management is a high-priority mission for all topographic units within the theater. GI databases include old data, new data, accurate data, qualified data, and multiformatted hard-copy and digital data. The analyst and the commander must understand the limitations, accuracy, and intended uses of the GI database. Database management includes the acquisition, manipulation, formatting, storage, and distribution of all hard-copy and digital data and products.

Terrain Analysis

3-89. The terrain platoon supports the decision-making process at the theater level by providing the commander with essential decision aids and GI&S. Terrain-analysis platoons at the theater level are primarily focused on providing terrain analysis across the entire theater operational spectrum. This support is initially one level above corps. This enables the planners to identify key areas to enhance and focus the terrain platoon's in-depth analysis and collection efforts. Terrain analysis is the primary mission of topographic operations during the planning phase. The analysis uses a series of feature layers collected at the appropriate resolution and detail to describe the battle space. The analysts modify and update the database using data available from all sources (national and locally collected). This allows the analyst to supply a current picture of the battle space. Appendix B provides a representative list of topographic products that support an analysis of the military aspects of terrain.

Digital Cartography

3-90. Digital cartography is the process of displaying terrain features and elevation data using standard symbology understood by military forces. It uses computer hardware and software to automate the process.

Low-Volume Product Reproduction

3-91. Low-volume product reproduction is the hard-copy production of maps and GI products using the terrain platoon's organic printing capabilities. The volume is usually less than 200 copies per product. These products are normally distributed over the counter to the requestor.

Topographic Survey

3-92. Topographic survey is the process of determining the relative positions of points on, above, or beneath the earth's surface by using traditional or satellite-based measurement systems. Theater topographic-survey platoons may be tasked with a number of different missions to support terrain platoons, FA, Army aviation, ADA, intelligence, chemical, armor, combat service support (CSS), signal, US Air Force (USAF), or NIMA. Topographic-survey support is discussed in depth in FM 5-532.


3-93. Reproduction is the process of creating hard-copy maps and GI products from original drawings, reproduction materials (repro mats), or images. The theater production platoon uses its organic graphic support, photomapping, and printing capabilities to produce high volumes of hard-copy mapping products. A topographic unit's reproduction equipment includes, but is not limited to—

  • Single-color lithographic presses.
  • A DTSS.
  • Xerographic-type (black-and-white) copiers and laser or bubble-jet color copiers.
  • Color plotters.
  • Digital-film processors.

3-94. Lithographic presses are used for high volume (over 5,000 copies) monochrome and multicolor printing of standard-size map products (22 1/2 x 29 1/2 inches). The time required for printing increases with each additional color. Time constraints may make multicolor products impractical. NIMA is responsible for printing and the DLA is responsible for distributing bulk map products. Army quartermaster units are responsible for distribution at the operational and tactical levels as a routine supply activity. Theater-level topographic units are responsible for providing digital and hard-copy nonstandard products to theater customers. Dissemination of nonstandard products to theater customers will be accomplished in the most expeditious manner (electronically, through normal supply channels, intelligence channels, or customer pick up). Production assets provide—

  • Map substitutes (including image- and vector-based maps).
  • Expedient revisions or updates to topographic data.
  • Studies of terrain-analysis overlays and graphics.
  • Special-purpose products (see Appendix B).
  • Geodetic survey and precise positions.
  • Digital data (transform, develop, or duplicate).
  • Map overprints.

Special-Products Storage, Distribution, and Dissemination

3-95. The theater production element may produce large-volume special products for command-wide distribution. These products will be distributed through the supply system with a national stock number (NSN). Low-volume (less than 200) and medium-volume (200 to 1,000) products will be distributed by the most expeditious means (not to exclude the Army's supply system).

CORPS Topographic Support

3-96. The senior corps engineer is responsible for all engineer matters, including topographic engineering. The senior topographic commander assigned to the corps is the corps topographic officer. He is responsible for—

  • Coordinating corps GI&S requirements for terrain analysis, database management, production, and survey.
  • Tasking and prioritizing the corps topographic company's work effort in DS of the corps.
  • Facilitating the corps topographic company's DS to the G3/G2.
  • Managing, collecting, maintaining, and distributing the corps's digital topographic database.
  • Coordinating with the corps G3/G2 for collecting terrain information, as required.
  • Preparing the topographic annex or appendix to corps plans and orders.
  • Assisting the G2 in defining requirements for topographic products to support the corps.
  • Providing production (printing) and survey assistance for the rapid replication of topographic products.

3-97. Topographic support at the corps level consists of a company-sized element in a DS role. This element's capabilities include the same full spectrum of topographic support as the battalion with the exception of the DTSS-B and its production capabilities. The company is task-organized by the corps engineer and receives missions through the assistant corps engineer (ACE). The corps topographic-company commander serves as the corps topographic officer, assisted by the corps GI&S officer assigned to the corps engineer staff section. A company's terrain-analysis platoon provides DS and GS to the corps by performing terrain analyses and furnishing rapid-response and special-purpose GI&S to the corps staff. This facilitates current and future operations, plans, and corps-level maintenance of the CTOE. The corps's printing assets are centrally located to optimize production support. Corps surveyors normally operate throughout the corps's AO.

3-98. The company may task-organize in support of a division or TF for a limited time or in support of a particular tactical operation. Requirements that exceed the capability of corps topographic assets are referred to the EAC topographic battalion. If the distance from the battalion or the tactical situation dictates, the corps may receive an attached portion of an EAC topographic company.

3-99. The corps topographic company ensures that the full spectrum of functional support is provided within the corps's area. This support includes—

  • Database management. Maintaining the corps's database includes development and management for all topographic units within the corps. The database functions of the corps topographers mirror those of the theater. The capability to produce GI&S data at the corps level is much more robust than at the division level. As with theater topographic operations, corps topographic units provide GI&S to the corps's force-protection and force-projection missions by rapidly developing, maintaining, and manipulating GI databases and by producing special topographic products. Refer to Appendix D for a detailed description of database management.
  • Terrain analysis. The terrain platoon at the corps level supports the decision-making process. It provides TDAs for the corps commander and staff to use in mission analysis, COA development, and the preparation of annexes or appendixes to orders. This tasking usually comes through the ACE staff. Terrain-analysis platoons at the operational level are primarily focused on planning and supporting multidivisional or TF operations. This support is a refinement of the theater or EAC analysis and collection efforts. Incorporating the EAC analysis with the corps analysis enables the planners to identify initial requirements for GI data and products needed through the corps for the operation. Appendix B provides a representative list of terrain products that support an analysis of the military aspects of terrain, which is not all-inclusive.
  • Decision aids. Decision aids are a basic part of the corps IPB and EBA analyses. They are rapidly created for quick integration with other intelligence products. This facilitates the corps intelligence and engineer operations planning for analyzing the AO. The terrain analyst analyzes the battlefield terrain and the effects of weather and the environment to predict terrain impacts on military operations. An intelligence order-of-battle analyst correlates the work accomplished by the terrain analyst with aspects of terrain and enemy combat-systems capabilities to analyze the military aspects of terrain (OCOKA). Together, these two analysts provide the tactical commander with more valuable information than either could provide separately. Analysts at the corps level may also augment a division terrain team with products, data, equipment, and soldiers.

3-100. The following corps functions and capabilities are the same as those in the theater:

  • Digital cartography.
  • Low-volume product reproduction.
  • Topographic survey.
  • Reproduction.
  • Special-product distribution and dissemination.


3-101. The senior division engineer is responsible to the division commander for all engineer matters, including topographic engineering. He is responsible for tasking and prioritizing the division terrain detachment's topographic work effort in DS of the division. The division engineer and the assistant brigade engineer are the focal point for assessing the terrain's impact on current and future operations based on the terrain detachment's GI&S products. The senior topographic commander assigned to the division is the division topographic officer (terrain detachment commander). The division topographic officer is responsible for—

  • Coordinating and managing division GI&S requirements for terrain-analysis database management and production.
  • Managing, collecting, maintaining, and distributing the detachment's digital topographic database.
  • Coordinating with the division G3/G2 for collecting terrain information (as required).
  • Preparing the topographic annex or appendix to division plans and orders and coordinating with the G2 in defining requirements and requesting topographic products to support the division.
  • Recommending to the division engineer task organization to support maneuver brigades and the division tactical operations cell or other division elements (as required).

3-102. Topographic terrain detachments are structured to support heavy or light infantry forces. The detachments' main functions are performing terrain analyses, developing GI products, managing topographic databases, and disseminating GI products.

3-103. In the heavy digital division, the detachment commander will task-organize the detachment into elements that support division and brigade CPs and their commanders. The data-management and terrain-analysis element at the DMAIN and the topographic terrain elements at brigade provide support in the areas of—

  • Database enhancement.
  • Database management and maintenance.
  • Database integration.
  • Topographic production.
  • Terrain analysis.
  • GI&S products.

3-104. The data-management element, the terrain-analysis element, and brigade terrain elements are equipped with the DTSS. This system incorporates advanced GIS computing, data management, printing and plotting, and scanning technologies into a single system that is tactically mobile. It provides a means of producing a variety of GI products with terrain-analysis algorithms. The DTSS can produce multiple low-volume (less than 200 copies), full-color, hard-copy products of the battlefield's terrain as well as electronic displays.

3-105. The division terrain-analysis detachment provides the following support:

  • Database management.
  • Topographic database development (predeployment).
  • Terrain analysis.
  • Topographic survey.
  • Topographic production.

Database Management

3-106. Topographic units must be prepared to create databases rapidly to support current and contingency operations. With strides made in ABCS interoperability and connectivity, topographic units can digitally acquire and share standard GI data for these operations. However, the primary responsibility for collecting and processing the CTOE database rests with the theater and corps topographic companies.

3-107. Topographic units will prepare for tactical-operations support by acquiring GI and loading it into the primary and secondary servers containing the master databases well before the supported unit deploys to its AO or contingency area. Close coordination and working interfaces should be established with the intelligence staff to ensure access and acquisition of imagery data through national imagery and other intelligence data sources early in the crisis.

3-108. The terrain-analysis detachment commander and the brigade terrain squad NCO must establish a close working relationship with the division engineer and the assistant brigade engineer to develop and practice TTP related to the production and dissemination of GI&S. This interoperability with tactical engineer elements will ensure that terrain products and analytical data are rapidly disseminated to the supported end users.

3-109. Database development and maintenance is an ongoing process. This important function of the engineer terrain-analysis detachment is detailed to the data-management element. The data-management element of the division's terrain detachment acquires terrain data, digital maps, and other topographic information from all sources, both above and below division. The initial division topographic database may be acquired and built using data from the corps topographic company and other national or Army agency data sources during predeployment operations. However, once deployed, it is the responsibility of the terrain detachment's data-management element to manage the secondary map file server and to maintain the division's digital terrain data and products. This includes the digital maps used by the division's ABCS. Through the management and dissemination of this information, the database-management element enables the ABCS operators to evaluate the terrain using the embedded mapping tool kit.

3-110. The division's terrain-analysis detachment continuously acquires as much terrain data as possible over the division's prospective AO and all contingency missions to support operations within the AO. NIMA is responsible for producing digital databases, foundation data (FD), and mission-specific data sets (MSDSs). The division's terrain detachment uses these databases to support the needs of the staff and maneuver commanders. In any area of the world where coverage is not available and the commander's OPLAN considers the area operationally significant, the topographic terrain detachment must gather digital and hard-copy data relevant to that location for storage in the terrain database.

3-111. The terrain-analysis element will identify terrain-data requirements and develop the terrain database using the operational requirements cited by the division and subordinate commander as prioritized by the division engineer. The terrain-analysis database also contains other information as deemed appropriate by the terrain-detachment commander. NIMA and the TEC provide information appropriate for this database.

3-112. Geographic information is exchanged between division, corps, and theater topographic units. This data may then be transferred to the various DTSS workstations at the DMAIN, the division tactical-analysis cell (DTAC), and brigade CPs via signal assets. The detachment commander has the overall responsibility for establishing the TTP and standing operating procedures (SOPs) that address the means by which the database is populated. For example, as new terrain data is obtained and topographic products are created, the data should be checked, validated, and cataloged using uniform naming conventions to facilitate the use of the database. This provides the division's ABCS users with easy access to the GI database residing on the DTSS and Maneuver Control System (MCS) servers.

3-113. The division engineer or the assistant division engineer (ADE), in coordination with the G2/G3, oversees the data-management element located at the DMAIN's mobility cell during garrison operations and following deployment. The noncommissioned officer in charge (NCOIC) of the data-management element manages the terrain-data file server. He oversees and directs the topographic analysts in the population, update, and archival of terrain databases. He assists in TTP and SOP development and enforces policy related to filing, formatting, storing, retrieving, and archiving the digital terrain data acquired for all topographic elements of the command. He coordinates with the division engineer to set production and dissemination priorities for topographical folders or products based on division staff and maneuver brigade requirements. The topographic NCO at the brigade's tactical operations center (TOC) follows the established TTP and SOP for managing and updating his GI database. He coordinates with the database-management NCOIC and the brigade engineer.

Topographic Database Development (Predeployment)

3-114. The majority of topographic-database development begins during an operation's predeployment phase. During this phase, the topographic engineer's primary mission is gaining maximum knowledge of the potential AO and AOI. If additional information is needed, corps and theater support may be required to satisfy database deficiencies. This database provides the basic reference for the production of special-purpose GI to support the tactical commander's planning requirements. See Appendix B for database composition.

3-115. Following deployment, enrichment data will be collected using all available information. The objective is to collect and produce topographic products rapidly to support the continuing IPB and EBA processes. The division engineer works closely with the G2 and G3 during this phase to ensure that sensors and reconnaissance assets are provided to enrich terrain data and information relative to mobility and countermobility operations.

3-116. Enriched data is that which is generated to update NIMA, theater, EAC, corps, and division topographic databases. Enriched data is driven from the top down or bottom up. Top-down GI feeds are primarily changes received from multiple sources that will change or modify GI. Bottom-up GI feeds are primarily those that contribute to the modification of GI and are provided via tactical organizations (such as engineer reconnaissance elements, air and ground scouts, division cavalry, brigade reconnaissance troops, and aerial sensors) using systems such as—

  • Ground reconnaissance.
  • The unmanned airborne vehicle (UAV).
  • The Long-Range Acquisition System (LRAS).
  • Other engineer sources (such as corps engineer survey teams).
  • Imagery intelligence (IMINT) or human intelligence (HUMINT) sources.
  • The Comanche.
  • The Longbow Apache.

3-117. Enrichment data retrieved from tactical units is normally provided via verbal or digital reports or imagery to the supported maneuver unit's TOC. At the brigade-level TOC, the brigade engineer or topographic analyst receives this information. Decisions regarding data validity lie with the ADE; quality assurance lies with the G2. Once decisions are made about data validity or quality, the database manager will then update the master database (as required by the TTP or the SOP) and pass the updated data to the next highest level for inclusion to its master database.

3-118. The division terrain team at the DMAIN's mobility cell consolidates the enrichment data forwarded by the division's tactical elements. The consolidation process consists of organizing the data to present a CTOE at each command level served. For example, a brigade report to the division that shows individual minefields will be consolidated. Once consolidated with terrain data, the information presented on a combined-obstacle overlay presents a complete picture related to mobility restrictions within the division's AO or individual brigade sectors.

3-119. When operating with nondigitized units, the division's terrain team works closely with the division engineer and the assistant brigade engineer to develop unique TTP and operational SOPs that define the methods by which information updates are disseminated. This coordination must occur to ensure data integrity with all supported elements of the division.

3-120. The Database Management System (DBMS) is an automated tool provided to the analyst. It is a complex set of software programs embedded within the DTSS to assist the analyst in controlling the organization, storage, and retrieval of data suborganized by file and recorded in a database. It also provides database security, thereby ensuring integrity. The DBMS automatically correlates data from various sources, enabling the analyst to manipulate the data to create and disseminate new or updated topographical products. The DBMS also facilitates the exchange or addition of new categories of data, such as digital maps or overlays, without major disruptions to ongoing work.

Terrain Analysis

3-121. Division terrain-analysis support provides the commander and staff elements at the division and below with essential information used in mission analysis and COA development as well as in the preparation of annexes or appendixes to orders (see Appendix E).

3-122. The following paragraphs discuss the terrain analysis supporting the DMAIN, the TAC, and the maneuver brigades (when employed). The DMAIN's terrain-analysis element supports the division's topographic needs but focuses on meeting the analytical requirements of the division commander and his staff—mainly the G2 and the G3.

3-123. The terrain-detachment element supporting the division TAC provides technical advice and assistance to the assistant division commander-maneuver (ADC-M) and other staff officers from the TAC's engineer mobility cell. This cell establishes a working interface with the mobility cell to facilitate terrain and battle-space visualization. Using the DTSS and the All-Source Analysis System (ASAS), this cell develops and disseminates specialized topographic products through the MCS for use by DTAC representatives and the maneuver brigades. This frees the engineer mobility element to concentrate on the C 2 of engineer operations, the receipt and logging of tactical reports, and the execution of administrative actions related to the maintenance of situational awareness and the CTOE.

3-124. Terrain cells supporting the brigade provide topographic analysis for brigade commanders. The brigade engineer in the brigade's TOC rolls up all of the brigade's topographic requirements. Using this guidance, the topographic analyst reviews the GI database resident on the DTSS to facilitate development and production of mission folders and other specific topographic products to complement topographic analysis for the specific missions performed in support of deep, close, and rear operations.

3-125. Under the division commander's guidance, information received from the division staff and maneuver brigades, echelons above division (EAD), and the command-estimate process, the ADE identifies friendly- and enemy-terrain data acquired from the MCS and ASAS databases. The terrain-analysis process begins by reviewing all information resident in the topographic database to determine information requirements and data voids in support of specific requirements or tactical operations. The topographic analyst uses the DTSS to acquire this information via client-server relationships over the DMAIN's local-area network (LAN).

3-126. During the analytical process, the terrain analyst will begin compiling topographic information and terrain products to be included in mission folders to support tactical operations identified by the ADE and the assistant brigade engineer. The terrain element officer in charge (OIC)/NCOIC at the DMAIN and brigade TOCs will, as the situation dictates, provide the commanders with a verbal description of the terrain supported by graphical representations. The graphical picture (digital overlay) illustrates specific terrain considerations and the recommendations provided by the division or brigade engineer. In the event of digital failures or where units supporting tactical operations are not digitally equipped, it is recommended that the division engineer uses and disseminates paper products to offset the flow of topographic data.

3-127. The topographic analyst has a robust digital cartographic capability within the DTSS software suite. This capability is used to display GI products as required. During field operations, time constraints may limit the full use of the cartographic finishing process. Cartographic appearance may not be as critical as the accurate hasty product. Where time permits (garrison operations), digital cartography will be applied according to the local SOP.

Topographic survey

3-128. The requirements for topographic surveys in the division are limited based on the current and future technologies of organic positioning equipment. The division's topographic-survey requirements are collected by the division engineer (DIVEN) staff and forwarded to the corps's engineer staff where the survey assets reside. Topographic-survey requirements can be across the BOS from FA, ADA, aviation, intelligence, communications, or construction control points. The majority of topographic-survey requirements at the division are for initial-positioning validation or establishment.

Topographic Production

3-129. Topographic production includes a graphic portrayal of information (usually in cartographic and imagery formats) and hasty graphics reproduction. The corps's topographic-production assets will augment the division's terrain detachment to support hard-copy production requirements that exceed the division's low-volume production capability. As part of the production process, the division's terrain detachment at the DMAIN consolidates production requirements and develops special terrain products for distribution to requestors using the DTSS. The DTSS enables the topographic analyst to receive, format or reformat, store, retrieve, create, update, manipulate, and distribute digital topographic data to the TAC, maneuver brigades, and other users of the information within the division.

3-130. As requests for information are received, the division or brigade engineer staff prioritizes the production effort. For example, a change in mission has caused a unit to maneuver through an area where movement is restricted. A new requirement has been created whereby the topographic analysts must now conduct a hasty topographic analysis and develop associated overlays to support this maneuver rather than continue work on a previously designated project. As a result, the division engineer realigns work priorities and reprioritizes projects. The terrain-detachment commander subsequently assigns the various topographic analysts' work priority in coordination with the appropriate engineer staff officer (the division engineer), the ADE, the plans officer, the battalion S2, and so forth.

3-131. As part of the production process, topographic analysts at all command levels prepare and develop mission folders that contain specific topographic information and terrain products relative to the command level or unit supported. These products are used to gain a better appreciation of the terrain and its use by filling information voids or defining operational impacts. As the tactical situation develops, the topographic analysts work closely with the division engineer or the brigade engineer to provide the CTOE that identifies all terrain features impacting maneuver at both the division and maneuver brigade levels. Analysts can share this folder during the production process to ensure that the information provided is complete in all respects and that the data contained in the folder has been validated before dissemination.

3-132. Web-based technologies provide a way to rapidly catalog and disseminate GI databases. For example, developing and maintaining a terrain home page that may be accessed via the division's LAN is one method that may be used for providing GI. This home page could consist of a series of folders that include relevant information related to topographic analysis and associated overlays. It could also reference information pertaining to the location of available terrain products.

3-133. The division's terrain detachment uses the master GI database to develop specific terrain products, topographic information, and decision aids, which are distributed through the primary and secondary file servers established throughout the division. The embedded mapping tool kit of the DTSS and the ABCS contains a set of software that enables terrain evaluation using a set of standardized criteria that focuses on topographic analysis and the production of terrain products. The mapping tool kit facilitates the topographic analysts' and ABCS operator's ability to evaluate the AO, develop a limited set of TDAs, and provide an accurate digital display of terrain data.

3-134. The concept of TDAs provides the means for mission-focused topographic support at the tactical level. These TDAs are used to organize terrain information and products into data sets to answer terrain-related questions, considerations, or impacts for a specific AO. With the assignment of terrain-detachment elements at the DMAIN, the DTAC, and the maneuver brigades, commanders are empowered in their ability to request and expect timely and responsive topographic support. Battle drills developed and practiced by the topographic analyst at the DMAIN, DTAC, and maneuver brigade's terrain-detachment elements facilitate the timely development of mission folders needed to support tactical operations.

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