I'm going back to main land for a week.
Was invited to attend a class about SICCE (Sistema de Informação Comando e Controlo do Exército) - a command and control system protocol for managing militarized forces in the field.
You can imagine it like a sort of StarCraft where the player (in this case a general or equivalent) will have direct control over the ground forces and decide where they should go and which missions to assign them.
This system began being developed in early 1996, long before any such things like google earth, StarCraft/Warcraft were popularized.
It will allow you to draw a map with exact geographical details in 3D (mountains, rivers, remarkable buildings, etc) and add our ground forces using standard NATO references or our custom created ones (medical emergency teams, rescue teams, etc). The whole idea is having an organization that allows everyone to know exactly what everyone else is doing.
This is something that would be very welcome in the Azores since we do have good reasons to put all this into real practise - the volcano every now and then gets active and in case of calamity we really need to be as organized as possible since it gives very little time to react with efficiency.
Althought I consider the concept to be brilliant in terms of simplicity - the overall implemented system is very outdated in my opinion and the UI has grown so much in terms of complexity that people need to travel to mainland to understand how to take advantage of it. (my case for example)
If we are going to have such a system as default - why not making it user friendly like the Americans do? I see so often the jokes about the US army that likes to put pictures explaining how to do the simplest actions when it comes to use something - but in true honesty I feel confident enought to pick on their equipment and looking at the pictures learn in 5 minutes how to use it by myself, rather than having to go throught a month worth of lessons to learn how to operate a complex portuguese equipment.
My comparation to StarCraft and GoogleEarth were not casual - we do need an automated system that could be understood and controlled by anyone and if you look closely on these two programs one might quickly notice how the key idea is that drives them popular is User Interface simplicity.
Will be off during next week to learn how to use SICCE but will be looking forward for the next version...
-- Nuno Brito