Department of the Navy has a particular need for compact representations of information because of the constraints imposed by the relatively limited bandwidth available for ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communications.
Information content conveyed to the warfighter at any level of command is the end product of a system that is integral to the security of the nation. The information system, consisting of the infrastructure, information content, sensors, and security systems to safeguard the information, forms an essential asset in the repertoire of defensive systems, on a par with platforms and weapons.
The continuing development of inexpensive, powerful processing capabilities ensures that the coming decades will be marked by ongoing advances in information technology. Increasing access to advanced information processing and information management capabilities will lead to a proliferation of activities that generate, maintain, manage, and exploit information, and it is certain that the military will be one of the many important players in the new world of information-centered activities.
The DOD and the Department of the Navy need to be in a position to exploit a wide variety of available information sources. Certain of the military's information needs are unique and highly specialized, and will require focused investment to develop the requisite technology. This is particularly true in the area of mapping, charting, and geodesy. Here, continued R&D and infrastructure upgrades will be required to produce geospatial data for the warfighter in a timely fashion. Other needs, which may be less unique and less specialized, will be met by appropriately exploiting sources of information that will be available in the public domain.
New sensor systems and the increasing use of indigenous sensors are emerging from the dramatic growth of the commercial communications infrastructure, and the data they generate represent a new class of public-domain information. These systems can be classified into two categories: commercial systems that will be developed in order to sell information for profit, and sensors used in conjunction with information systems for the benefit of the user. The first category includes commercial satellite imagery, databases and mailing lists available for purchase, and commercially operated data mining sources. The second category includes automobile sensors communicating with a ''smart" highway; smart homes providing communication links between appliances and manufacturers for maintenance and monitoring; remote camera systems operated by organizations for the benefit of the public, such as town-square imaging systems accessible over the World Wide Web; and water measurement sensors that transmit reservoir fill levels to public water works. Together, these two categories constitute an enormous body of information that, typically, will reside within the public domain, and from which it may be possible to extract, for example, data