Situational awareness is a prerequisite for good decision-making in any CSDP mission or operation. In order to provide operation commanders with optimal capabilities in this domain, EDA Member States in 2014 launched GISMO, the ‘Geospatial Information to Support decision Making in Operations’ project. Since then and working in partnership with the EU Satellite Centre (EU SatCen), GISMO has produced a first operational output in the form of ‘GeohuB’, a software application which allows for the safe and reliable sharing of geospatial information (GI) within a mission’s operational headquarter. After a successful field trial last February, GeohuB was successfully deployed to the Italian Operation Headquarters, Rome, in support of EU Naval Force Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED).
In practical terms, this means that mission/operation participants with access to the classified mission network of EUNAVFOR MED’s operational headquarters in Rome can now upload, share and manage geospatial data related to the operation. GeohuB is accessible through a normal web browser (Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, etc.) with a user-friendly interface which makes it intuitive for non-specialists. “If we imagine the full amount of geospatial information available to a CSDP operation as a vast image library, the GeohuB App can be compared to Instagram: an easy and user-friendly way to accessing specific, selected information clips. As with Instagram, GeohuB allows user-generated content to be uploaded and shared at anytime”, Alessandro Cignoni, Project Officer at the EDA’s Information Superiority Unit, explained.
GeohuB will be further improved in the coming months with the aim of bringing the App to ‘full operating capability’ by the first quarter 2019. Close cooperation between the EDA, the EU SatCen and the EU Military Staff (EUMS), as well as with the operational users in the EUNAVFOR MED headquarters in Rome will be crucial to make it a success.
In the meantime, the application’s reputation is already growing: GeohuB is now also used in the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM Georgia) while the Portuguese Armed Forces introduced it on a national level. Furthermore, the EUMS initiated a specific project to explore the potential usage of the GeohuB within the European External Action Service (EEAS).
Commanders of CSDP missions and operations constantly need fast, reliable and updated geospatial information covering land, sea, airspace and cyber. Geospatial information is earth-related factual data referenced by geographic position and arranged in a coherent structure. Such data include topographic, aeronautical, hydrographic or planning information but also mapping, geo-referenced imagery, geophysical products, etc. available in either analogue or digital format. Most pieces of information have a location, and knowing and understanding these locations can be decisive in a mission commanders’ decision-making. Ever improving geospatial information has thus the potential to revolutionise the decision-making process within military missions and operations.