With both state and non-state actors extensively using drones, as was seen recently in the Indian Ocean Region and Red Sea, Director General of Military Intelligence (MI) Lt. Gen RS Raman on Wednesday pitched for virtual reality (VR) models to visualise challenges for better decision making.

On the concluding day of the 14th edition of Indo Pacific Geo Intelligence Forum, Raman said this in his speech that focussed on the criticality of maps and geospatial information for defence and internal security. VR models, made through the use of computer modelling and simulation applications, allows a person to engage with an artificial three-dimensional visual of a reality.

“The state and non-state actors both use drones. There’s a need of virtual reality (VR) models and not just digital elevation models for better decision-making. With the geospatial realm, the possibilities are limitless to visualise the future and anticipate the changes that arise,” stressed the Director General of Military Intelligence.

He also told the gathering that geospatial is an ecosystem, and not a technology, which is evolving in perpetuity. “Tethering maps with geospatial information energises maps,” he stated.

At the Forum, he spoke about the correlation and convergence of parameters and indices in civilian as well as military applications. “In the internal security scenario, details on demographic and social development indices have a direct correlation with civilian applications,” Raman said to elaborate on his point.

Drawing a leaf from what Steve Jobs, the Co-founder of Apple Inc, said in another context, “get so close to the customer that you realise what he wants,” the DGMI stressed, “With the geospatial realm, the possibilities are limitless to visualise the future and anticipate the changes that arise.”

Former Union Minister and ex-Indian Army Chief General VK Singh concurred with the assessment of DGMI as he stated at the two-day event that there is a need to utilise all the utilities and geospatial intelligence applications, from artificial intelligence (AI) to data.

Among other speakers, Vishal Anand, COO, Mappls India, explained the benefits of digital replica in defence. He was of the view that “Digital Twin can improve situational awareness, help in mission planning and analysis, and enable better training and simulation.”

In the absence of AI, it’s difficult to think of creating any dataset today, he commented.

Digital twin is the virtual representation of the physical environment, combining the GIS data, airborne imagery, 3D models, and other geospatial information to create an accurate simulation of real-world infrastructure.

“Indian government’s commitment to invest $8-10 billion in geospatial development over the next five years (excluding defence) underscores its importance. To achieve this, collaboration is crucial for capacity and technology development,” stated Sanjay Kumar, CEO, Geospatial World.