Mapping software aims to make live-fire training safer

ARLINGTON, Va. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) TechSolutions program has shepherded the development of a new software tool to be used during live-fire exercises that will map out training areas in great detail.

The so-called geospatial-awareness tool is designed to plug into the U.S. Marine Corps’ KILSWITCH -- the Kinetic Integrated Lightweight Software Individual Tactical Combat Handheld -- that is used on tablets or smartphones. The KILSWITCH application gives Marines real-time situational awareness via graphic displays similar to Google Maps, but the user does not have to be connected to a server.

KILSWITCH’s existing mapping capability will be enhanced by the TechSolutions-sponsored software plug-in tool, called KILSWITCH SDZ; the tool will be used to map the surface danger zone (SDZ) of any live-fire exercise. The SDZ is the designated ground, sea or air space where munitions like bullets or mortar rounds might ricochet, bounce, skip, or splash either before or after hitting their intended targets.

Marines can use the KILSWITCH SDZ plug-in to create and save SDZ maps and share them with other linked-in participants, with the end result of building a real-time database of warfighter movement and weaponry placement.

officials say that they hope to see the tool distributed widely throughout the Navy and Marine Corps in 2018.

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