There are numerous technological challenges in the Tactical Reconnaissance (Tac Recce) arena as the digital imagery
era dawns. Foremost among them are the problems of imagery transmission bandwidth and the storage of the collected
In this paper I seek to address these problems in an interrelated manner. I do not propose any new technological
innovation, but rather a fundamental change in the philosophy of the collection, transmission, and storage of tactical imagery.
The core of the approach requires that the area being imaged has already been imaged before (old imagery). This is
reasonable given satellite, long range, UAV, and tactical imagery collection systems presently planned for, anticipated data
collection rates, and how hot spots are repeatedly imaged. In addition, the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office
(DARO) expects to be imaging tens of thousands of square kilometers each day within the next decade.
When new tasking to collect imaging is received, imagery collected before by some imagery collection system must be
taken with the aircraft (A/C) or person sent out to collect new imagery. As the new imagery is collected, the old and new
imagery of the same area would be automatically registered. The old imagery can be pre-scaled, pre-warped, pre-rotated,
etc., in order to maximize the efficiency of this process. The registered images can be spatially and spectrally thresholded in
order to isolate significant deltas. Automatic target cueing (ATC)/automatic target recognition (ATR) could be used on both
images for comparison to further isolate new objects of interest. Segmentation techniques could then be used to extract
objects or regions of interest from the new image and only these objects or regions would be transmitted to the ground, a
relay aircraft, or a satellite.
Once at the ground station or long-term storage site, the new information could be inserted into the original image, thus
minimizing the amount of storage space required as areas are repeatedly imaged.
This paper assumes satellite communications is a preferred means of imagery transmission due to its real-time imagery
transmission and dissemination advantages.