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Combat Terrain Information Systems (CTIS)

In order to execute mission requirements, CTIS is developing and fielding a suite of hardware configurations consisting of the: DTSS-Light (DTSS-L), DTSS-Deployable (DTSS-D), High Volume Map Production (HVMP) equipment, and DTSS-Survey (DTSS-S). These systems are non-major ACAT III programs. In addition to these systems, HQDA directed the acquisition of the DTSS-Base (DTSS-B). CTIS systems are deployed from Brigade through EAC and the L, D, and B have been type classified - standard. By taking advantage of two powerful commercial software packages, ESRI's ArcInfo and ERDAS Imagine, the DTSS configurations can generate Tactical Decision Aids (TDAs) from input terrain data and output as map overlays for use on other systems that use the Command and Control Personal Computer (C2PC), Army Battle Command Systems (ABCS), and Commercial Joint Mapping Toolkit (C/JMTK) viewers.


Army terrain teams must produce a wide range of topographic products and analyses to support mission planning and military operations. Designed to facilitate this support, the DTSS is built around the latest commercial technology in digital plotters, scanners and computer workstations and commercial software packages. By integrating a commercial geographic information system, image processing software and database management software with tactical decision aids, government developed software and a custom interface, the CTIS program has developed a range of systems to provide the required terrain analysis support to the battlefield commander.

Fielded CTIS systems include the DTSS-Light (DTSS-L), a tactically mobile system mounted in an environmentally protected, standard Army shelter and carried on a HMMWV, the DTSS-Deployable (DTSS-D), a portable system comprising the same mission equipment as the DTSS-L, but mounted in portable transit cases for employment in tents, buildings or other environments as needed to support the mission, and the DTSS-Base (DTSS-B), a system employed in garrison with more robust data production capabilities and the ability to handle materials of higher security classification. The DTSS-High Volume Map Production (DTSS-HVMP), just entering production, consists of high-quality digital printers and support equipment mounted in a 20-foot shelter and carried by a standard Army truck. Using digital images from other DTSS variants or external sources, the DTSS-HVMP can quickly produce hundreds of copies of customized maps and related hard-copy products for use on the battlefield. The DTSS-Survey (DTSS-S) is going to be developed to specifically address requirements for geodetic survey support across the battlefield such as geodetic control, airfield surveys, and data collection support to other DTSS configurations. Development and production of this system are not yet scheduled.

The CTIS program uses a continuous product improvement approach, constantly enhancing the software to address new requirements or respond to user requests and completely replacing the hardware on a 5-year cycle.

Tactical Products

The DTSS provides software to generate a variety of mobility, visibility, and special purpose Tactical Decision Aids (TDAs). Mobility TDAs include off-road and on-road speed products, combined obstacle overlays (COOs), shaded time distance, and maneuver networks and predictions using Battlespace Terrain Reasoning and Awareness (BTRA)-provided applications. Visibility functions can be used to generate masked/visible areas for site (point), route (line), and region (area) analyses. The DTSS can also create special purpose products based on the area of operation, mission requirements, and available data. These include such things as helicopter landing zones (HLZs), bivouac sites, and lines of communication. Tools are also provided to perform more complex analyses that combine and/or buffer multiple products, as well as determine the proximity of features with regard to other features.


In order to execute mission requirements, CTIS is developing and fielding six distinct configurations that are capable of providing direct topographic support to the Army commanders and staff deployed at key maneuver echelons from Theater down to Brigade. These configurations are the: DTSS-Light (DTSS-L), DTSS-Deployable (DTSS-D), DTSS-Base (DTSS-B), DTSS-High Volume Map Production (DTSS-HVMP) equipment, and DTSS-Survey (DTSS-S). All of the DTSS configurations are necessary to serve as a complete replacement for the Topographic Support System (TSS). The DTSS is the topographic engineering component that is being developed and fielded to provide critical, timely, and accurate digital and hardcopy geospatial information to support mission planning and execution. The DTSS missions include the generation and collection of geospatial data, development and management of a geospatial database, geospatial information processing, geospatial information and services, special map reproduction, and geodetic survey support.


The DTSS provides critical, timely, and accurate digital and hardcopy geospatial information to support mission planning and execution. The DTSS missons include generating and collecting geospatial information, developing and managing a geospatial database, and providing of a suite of geospatial information and capabilities that support the warfighter with terrain analysis products, special map reproduction, and geodetic survey support. Specific system objectives include:

    (1) Provide timely and accurate knowledge of the battlespace to commanders and staff at all echelons through direct and indirect digital topographic support (2) Provide topographic/terrain analysis support through a comprehensive, integrated topographic system, possessing common, state-of-the-art commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS), government-off-the-shelf (GOTS), and custom solutions. (3) Provide enhanced terrain analysis and visualization capabilities to support mission planning and execution; employ intelligent algorithms that function with non-standard, sparse data sets and produce a confidence level for the results. (4) Use currently available National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) standard digital topographic data sets. (5) Provide the topographic analyst with enhanced, rule-based, semi-automated capabilities to extract and/or produce data to NGA specifications. (6) Improve on existing capabilities to exploit non-standard data for terrain classification and integrate these capabilities into tactical decision aids (TDAs). (7) Receive, manipulate, and exploit, either manually or digitally, geospatial information and imagery (NTM and commercial), and related information. (8) Provide the capability to allow web-based access to information holdings at NGA and other agencies, introducing information management capabilities. (9) Provide the Army Battle Command System (ABCS) secondary Map Server for Army Force XXI, receiving, storing, managing, and disseminating data within the ABCS architecture; provide direct-access memory dedicated to the on-line storage of the digital geospatial information for the prescribed area of operations. (10) Provide commanders with TDAs that have consistent results across ABCS architectures. (11) Provide automated geodetic survey control via modernized automated equipment and processes, specifically enhancing the input of geodetic control into terrain analysis processes. (12) Provide a high-volume, color, large-format digital reproduction capability.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:42:44 ZULU