Counter-piracy operations (@ Crown Copyright MOD 2009)

ESRI wins counter-piracy contract for EU naval force

Esri UK has won a contract with the EU naval force to enhance their counter-piracy operational intelligence capabilities.


Geospatial capabilities specialist ESRI has been awarded the Counter-Piracy Phase 1 contract by the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) Operation Headquarters in which it will deliver a common geospatial information sharing platform.

This platform will be powered by Esri’s ArcGIS open standards-based, commercial off the shelf (COTS) geographic information system (GIS) software.

ESRI says the platform will quickly enable EUNAVFOR’s range of data and intelligence sources to be joined-up into a single location-based recognised environmental picture.  

Currently many of these data sources are in different formats and have to be accessed on separate systems.

For example, the new platform will allow EUNAVFOR for the first time to view data on commercial “white shipping” and naval “task force” vessels together in one environmental picture.  

The new platform will enable EUNAVFOR to make faster and more informed decisions, and deploy assets more efficiently, through improved situational understanding.  

When intelligence sources are combined visually, patterns and relationships can be seen, which may not be immediately apparent from analysing each source in isolation.

The platform will act as hub from which information can be shared and updated between a central server at EUNAVFOR’s base at Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood, UK, and deployed users.  

Initially they will be afloat but it is envisaged that access could be extended to land based locations or on aircraft.   

In each case they will be able to access the same data, via a lightweight, secure browser designed to be used easily by non-GIS specialists.   

“The addition of a Recognised Maritime Picture to EU Naval Force’s Mission Network has provided a considerable increase in our ability to monitor shipping in the Indian Ocean as well as co-ordinate Counter Piracy Operations,” said a EUNAVFOR representative.  

In the Operational Head Quarters we have a far greater awareness of the situation in the Indian Ocean, thanks to the large image of the area projected onto the wall of our Joint Operations Centre which is frequently updated to reflect the latest shipping in the area.”

Esri’s ArcGIS can be configured to meet specific challenges and provide situational understanding across different levels of command, from the strategic to the tactical.  

Being open standards-based, all data formats can be accommodated, including formats such as Google’s KML and KMZ files.

ArcGIS is proven in use within UK MoD and is widely deployed within NATO’s naval fleets, including the US Navy and Royal Australian Navy.  

In the UK naval and marine domain it is used by customers including the Fleet Information Management Unit, UK Hydrographic Office, Maritime Warfare Centre and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.   

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