How the navy benefits from 3D mapping

How can the navy benefit from 3D mapping? BrightEarth recently took part in a naval testing event. Discover what it showed.

The French navy recently used LuxCarta’s BrightEarth solution during its innovative i-Naval war-gaming event. Learn about the multiple ways 3D mapping can benefit modern navies.

Key takeaways:

  • The French navy is investing in technological innovation
  • Its annual i-Naval event showcases the potential of advanced solutions to support real-world missions
  • Learn how BrightEarth was used in the 2023 i-Naval event
  • Find out how BrightEarth’s 3D mapping solutions benefit the navy

Today’s navies operate in fiendishly complex theaters. From drones to sea mines to highly precise long-distance missiles, approaching enemy positions and overcoming their defenses is more challenging than ever before. Individual marines, ship captains and fleet commanders must interpret an endless flow of data and adjust their plans accordingly. Transporting hardware, landing on the seashore, conducting missions and understanding the lay of the land is also highly challenging. What is more, modern settlements are changing rapidly, with new buildings and defensive structures being installed fast.

To adapt to these highly complicated realities, the French Navy is working in collaboration with industrial and academic partners to identify how modern technology can help maintain its superiority. One example of this is the annual i-Naval events, a series of wargaming and training activities that use the most advanced modern technologies to help prepare for contemporary naval warfare.

As part of its most recent i-Naval event, the French Navy used LuxCarta’s BrightEarth to support the 3D mapping of a target city. This collaboration demonstrated how BrightEarth’s 3D mapping technology could meet the navy’s mapping and training needs.

What is i-Naval?

i-Naval is an annual event organized in collaboration with the French Navy, the University of Toulon, the French military and TVT Innovation (a regional innovation agency in France). It brings together naval experts and technology companies to explore and demonstrate how modern technology can benefit naval operations.

One of the principal goals of the event is to explore how different technologies could benefit naval planning, and help commanders to prepare for real-world conflict.

BrightEarth was invited to participate in the latest i-Naval event

BrightEarth is able to create 3D maps of any terrain on the planet, based on the most up-to-date satellite images. The solution uses artificial intelligence to analyze a satellite image, then extract building footprints, vegetation, infrastructure and land use data, to create 3D maps. 

Next, it automatically textures the environment with realistic features. Utilizing AI, it selects rooftops, building colors, facades, and other features in cities. A wide variety of mosaics are employed in rural environments to construct land use and land cover, which includes coastlines and topography. Users can swiftly generate a 3D rendering that bears a striking resemblance to an actual location in the real world.

BrightEarth is highly versatile, and the 3D maps it creates integrate easily with common virtual training and simulation environments. This makes it ideally suited for training events such as i-Naval, where multiple technological platforms must work together.

Related: 10 GIS military use cases and applications

How BrightEarth was used in the i-Naval event

In the 2023 i-Naval event, the ‘war game’ involved the French navy planning the liberation of a port city in a fictional war. 

BrightEarth collaborated with the Navy, the other technology partners, and the University of Toulon to identify a real-world coastal settlement to use in the training programme and to set the parameters. We then used BrightEarth to automatically generate a 3D map of the environment and to texture it.The environment that we created then fed into a VR simulation programme provided by one of the other partners. The marines and crews taking part in the event were able to use this environment in their war games.

Using BrightEarth at the i-Naval event demonstrated how the technology can help the navy:

Ideal training environment

The marines in the i-Naval event trained using a realistic 3D map of a real settlement. This simulation was incredibly lifelike. They utilized the 3D map to pinpoint optimal itineraries. This included identifying landing spots for their boats. It also involved figuring out how to traverse the enemy terrain. The map enabled them to hypothesize about the most effective routes. They did this before embarking on the actual ‘mission’. It also allowed them to test hypotheses about the best routes before they embarked on the ‘mission’ itself.

Realistic training for the frigate crew

By giving the users of the i-Naval events a real-world settlement to train on, it meant their mission felt much more realistic. For the crews of warships, targeting rockets at individual buildings in the environment felt much more engaging than ‘attacking’ a generic simulation town or city.

Avoid ‘fake’ training scenarios

Military training simulations are sometimes criticized for being oversimplified or unrealistic. They also tend to represent what the designer believes a useful training environment should be like, rather than what the real world is actually like. 

In reality, most modern towns and cities contain unpredictable elements and idiosyncratic designs. Therefore, using BrightEarth to create training environments based on real places provides a much more authentic environment for marines and crew to do their training in.

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Collaborating to help the French Navy maintain its superiority

BrightEarth collaborates with tech partners on the i-Naval program, aiding the French Navy’s superiority at sea and land. Improved preparation, training, and testing boost the navy’s confidence and safety in combat scenarios.

Realistic simulation environments are crucial for military, emergency services, and disaster response organizations. BrightEarth uses current 3D maps and satellite images to create lifelike training environments.


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