Put your money where your mouth is, Jonathan Springer did (7 Photos)

"The idea for a smartphone application to assist soldiers in combat came to Captain Jonathan J. Springer in a dream last July. The idea was to use the iPhone to help soldiers sync firing on Taliban locations The 31-year-old, from Fort Wayne, Indiana, has worked with programmers ever since to make the idea a reality. Also, he put $26,000 of his own money into the project. Tactical Nav, which is expected to be available through Apple’s App Store next month, assists soldiers in mapping, plotting and photographing waypoints on a battleground and conveying coordinates to supporting units. Captain Springer used a variety of armoured vehicles, remote observation posts and harsh combat conditions to test the accuracy of his invention, which can also be used to direct artillery fire on enemy positions or call in helicopter support.
The soldier, who serves as a battalion fire support officer in eastern Afghanistan, said most soldiers use smartphones and the app has been designed specifically for them. “Since day one, I always believed that smartphones could be utilised by the US military for combat purposes,” he said. “Basically, the issue was the fact that these smartphones were being untapped by the army and I was motivated and determined to change that, even if it cost me my own money out of pocket to do so." (Side note, Mr. Springer actually is from a small town called Columbia City which is about 15 minutes from where I grew up. He makes a functional product and all I have to show is a web site.)
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  • Naz1962

    Hmm … Well after reading this article, I have some questions regarding the feasability of this project.
    I'm not a soldier and have never been to the current theater of operations, so I don't know, but I would imagine that a cell signal on the battlefield would be slim, at best, and certainly not something to be relied upon. Secondly, if the app is available for download from the iTunes store, what's stopping the enemy from doing the same thing and using their own iPhones against our own soldiers? Also, if we're using this against the Taliban, and since this is posted publicly, you can believe they know it now too – wouldn't they just target cell towers to eliminate our ability to use this technology?

    • V4Vendetta14

      That was my thought exactly. But I found this site http://www.gps.gov/support/faq/#difference. It says that "United States does not intend to ever implement Selective Availability again and is committed to preventing hostile use of GPS through regional denial of service, minimizing the impact to peaceful users." There is a lot of leeway in that statement.

      It is possible to spoof a GPS constellation. Since we control the airspace, I would assume a drone loitering over the enemy position could broadcast "stronger" GPS signals that would effectively trick their commercial GPS receivers. The military receivers are encrypted and resistant to jamming.

      Oh, and the GPS you are talking about is a-gps (cell-site/wifi assisted). That is so your handset doesn't have to use a lot of power detecting satellite GPS signals. You don't necessarily need it if you have enough battery life.

    • Jowi

      there is also the point that we are reffering to operation location where they have a hard time feeding there family but dam near EVERYbody has at least a couple of cell phones. This includes places that don't have power to actually charge a cell. Markets have been created in the larger cities where all they do is exchange a dead phone battery for a fully charged one, for a few of course.

  • Steve Jobs.

    Need to blow the shit out of the taliban? There's an ap for that.

    • matt

      dont you just love america

  • Jana

    Awww, what a sweet little puppy face he has! I like his fur too; curly in a haaphzard, wild way. Puppies in general look fuzzy though. Glad to hear he’s doing well.

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