The BuckEye Program

Friday October 21, 2011

What is it?

BuckEye, developed by the Army Geospatial Center (AGC), is an airborne, high-resolution geospatial data collection system that combines high-resolution (10cm) color imagery and (1m) 3D terrain data collected with a light detection and ranging sensor.

The data is a force multiplier for maneuver commanders, enabling them to master their operational environment. It also enhances the geospatial accuracy of data derived from Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) sources, whether Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), full-motion video (FMV), Human Intelligence (HUMINT), etc. BuckEye has been deployed in both manned and unmanned fixed wing aircraft as well as rotary wing aircraft.

What has the Army done?

BuckEye systems have been supporting U.S. Central Command for seven years. All of the operationally relevant sections of Iraq (e.g., all population centers and transportation corridors - for a total of 12 percent of the landmass) were collected, and nearly 20 percent of Afghanistan have been collected-and has been "surging" the deployment of BuckEye resources to meet the backlog in commanders' collection requirements.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

The BuckEye program has been investing in a next-generation pod capability that will offer an order of magnitude increase in collection rates at the same resolution and accuracy. The first prototype will be delivered in mid-2012 and may be deployed for operational tests in Afghanistan. In an era of declining budgets, this capability offers the possibility of achieving high-resolution 3-D terrain data coverage for a wide variety of security operations around the globe.

Why is this important to the Army?

Soldiers only have access to national satellite imagery in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) and often do not have the clearance necessary to retrieve it. Commercial satellite imagery is widely available, but the best available resolution is 0.6 meters. And, in neither case, is 3-D terrain data provided. BuckEye combines 0.1 meter resolution unclassified imagery with 1m high-resolution 3-D terrain data that is "commander-taskable" and can be shared with coalition and host nation forces.

Resources:

BuckEye Factsheet

U.S. Army Geospatial Center website

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