Sociocultural-Geospatial Anthropological Portal (SC-GAP): enhancing sociocultural understanding through crowdsourced service member narratives
Koo, Jason D.
Toshner, Daniel J.
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Despite the Department of Defense’s (DOD) investment in programs designed to advance sociocultural knowledge, the DOD lacks a shared repository through which all entities can aggregate, visualize, and share sociocultural data across the enterprise. A gap analysis of DOD’s desired and actual ability to achieve a sociocultural understanding reveals three shortcomings: data, repository, and collaboration. Therefore, we created a proof of concept that bridges the sociocultural gap by harnessing the overlooked potential of deployed service members and their cross-cultural experiences. Service member observations form an untapped resource of sociocultural data; this existing wellspring of sociocultural information needs to be collected and indexed using a common framework. Residing in a geodatabase and interfaced via a crowdsourced Geographic Information System (GIS), this framework aggregates the collected data of service member narratives for the greater Joint Force, thereby creating a dynamic and collaborative living repository. Combining an anthropologically sound and operationally relevant framework with the capabilities of GIS results in a solution that will allow DOD personnel to populate, visualize, and share near-real-time cultural data relevant to military operations across all services. This DOD enterprise solution can enhance the nation’s armed forces’ strategic performance through the application of culturally adept military power.
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