ArcNews Online

Spring 2003
Search ArcNews

E-mail to a Friend
Standard Geospatial Tools for DoD Command, Control Systems

ArcGIS Chosen for Commercial Joint Mapping Toolkit Contract

NIMA logoOn June 25, 2002, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) awarded a development and life cycle support contract for the Commercial Joint Mapping Toolkit (C/JMTK) to Northrop Grumman Information Technology, TASC. TASC is leading the $73 million contract along with a team that includes Esri, Analytical Graphics, Inc., and Leica Geosystems/ERDAS. This effort is the culmination of years of TASC and Esri teaming to address complex and challenging Department of Defense (DoD) needs using commercial technology. The predominant commercial component of C/JMTK is Esri's ArcGIS software. This award represents the adoption of the ArcGIS platform as the standard geospatial exploitation tool for DoD command and control (C2) systems using the common operating environment (COE).

Federal GIS logoIn 1994 the U.S. Department of Defense consolidated several mapping, charting, geodesy, and imagery (MCG&I) software components for C2 systems into what is known as the Joint Mapping Toolkit (JMTK). JMTK provides MCG&I functionality for mission applications that run on the COE used in all DoD command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems at the national, joint, and service levels. In the 1999 Defense Authorization Bill, Congress directed that future versions of JMTK be based on commercial technology.

C/JMTK will replace all JMTK functionality primarily with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components and a small number of additional capabilities to be developed under the contract. The contract will be executed in two phases. Phase I will consist of three primary activities: (1) add enhancements to address DoD specific requirements, (2) provide engineering to achieve compliance with the DoD common operating environment, and (3) perform functional tests and achieve COE certification. After certification, C/JMTK will be delivered to mission application developers for integration into COE mission applications and eventual full-scale fielding.

The toolkit becomes available with full licensing, which will be awarded after successful completion of Phase I. It will be available to mission application developers beginning with COE Version 5.0 (April 2004). In Phase II, these mission application developers will have unlimited use of C/JMTK to embed commercial geospatial analysis and visualization into C4ISR applications for COE.

This acquisition will replace all JMTK functions with COTS components and provide additional capabilities. C/JMTK will be based on a single scalable open architecture, with open development environments, incorporating industry standards. As part of standard commercial practices, significant research and development costs are borne mainly by vendors, offering regular software upgrades, extended functionality, and standard regular training.

John Young, Esri manager of military and intelligence systems, says, "Esri is dedicated to supporting NIMA and the DoD through the C/JMTK program to ensure better visualization, data sharing, analysis, interoperability between mission systems, and advanced Web-based dissemination of mission information. We look forward to both the engineering and fielding phases of the contract to ensure that U.S. service personnel--the real end users--have the best commercial GIS tools available."

Benefits of C/JMTK

C/JMTK is a software development kit based on ArcGIS. When delivered, C/JMTK will have more functionality than the legacy JMTK. Other major benefits include, but are not limited to, mission application developer training and support, industry standard programming environments (C++ and Visual Basic for Applications [VBA]), availability of Web services, and advanced geospatial analysis tools.

C/JMTK is not a single product but an integrated GIS architecture. Developers will be able to choose the appropriate parts of the ArcGIS architecture that best fit their requirements. For thick clients, the toolkit is based on ArcObjects (primarily those found in ArcView) extended by ArcGIS Spatial Analyst and ArcGIS 3D Analyst. The toolkit also includes the developer components from MOLE 2 (the new ArcGIS Military Analyst extension). Thin clients can be built from MapObjects--Java Edition, for which military data readers, Vector Product Format (VPF) and Raster Product Format (RPF), will be added. For servers, ArcSDE and ArcIMS are available. Together, these software components will provide a seamless package that will provide unprecedented tools and capabilities for the storage, analysis, sharing, and viewing of map and map-related data.

C/JMTK will become the standard for geospatial analysis and visualization within the DoD COE community. Direct benefits to the mission application developers include the most advanced geographic information technology, new features and capabilities, and rapid support for new platforms (evolving operating systems) as well as timely software upgrades. Tested and thoroughly documented, C/JMTK will set a new standard for geospatial analysis and visualization of DoD C4ISR.

"For some years there has been a demand that more powerful and sophisticated mission applications be made available to the command and control community," says John Day, Esri's program manager for C/JMTK. "It has seen the rapid development of geospatial software for civil and DoD peacetime applications such as base management and environmental monitoring. C/JMTK will see the same powerful tools being made available to the C4ISR community, not only for typical military missions but also potentially for homeland security."

In addition to the toolkit, the contract may be extended to offer a second licensing option that provides for full geospatial processing and visualization applications (rather than embedded toolkits that do not include a graphical user interface) for those users within and external to the COE who require interoperability with the COE standard. Under this option, NIMA would provide the contract vehicle for user acquisition of the applications with the DoD program providing the funding. A third licensing option is for the foreign military sales (FMS) community. This option could provide either embedded toolkits for allied COE-like mission applications (as in the first licensing option) or full-up applications (as in the second licensing option) to authorized FMS users. "With the interest in being interoperable with U.S. military systems, the potential of C/JMTK is for ArcGIS to become the world standard in geospatial tools for command and control systems," concludes Day.

The C/JMTK program will capitalize on the technical benefits and economies of scale of the commercial software industry. At the same time, it will provide the standardization, distribution mechanisms, and life cycle oversight of NIMA with the community, domain, and operational knowledge of the mission applications. The C/JMTK program will integrate the best of government and industry into a common, long-term solution that will advance operational mission application development into the next generation of interoperable systems for the DoD.

The National Imagery and Mapping Agency was established in October 1996, consolidating imagery and mapping personnel and assets from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Defense Mapping Agency (DMA), and the National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC). NIMA is a Department of Defense combat support agency and a national intelligence community agency providing imagery, imagery intelligence, and geospatial information in support of national security objectives. Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, NIMA operates major facilities in northern Virginia; Washington, D.C.; and St. Louis, Missouri.

For more information, contact John Day, C/JMTK program manager for Esri (tel.: 703-506-9515, ext. 8054; e-mail:, or visit

Contact Us | Privacy | Legal | Site Map