Sociocultural--Geospatial Anthropological Portal (SC-GAP): Enhanced Sociocultural Understanding Through Crowdsourced Service Member Narratives
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Despite the Department of Defense’s (DoD) many investments directed toward developing and fielding programs designed to advance sociocultural knowledge, the DoD nonetheless lacks a shared repository in which all entities can aggregate, visualize, and share sociocultural data across the enterprise. A gap analysis of DoD’s desired and actual states of achieving and implementing a sociocultural understanding reveals three main shortcomings: a data gap, a repository gap, and a collaboration gap. As a consequence, we created a proof of concept, enterprise solution for DoD that bridges the overall sociocultural gap by harnessing the overlooked and untapped potential of today’s deployed DoD service members, who over the course of their daily duties, are exposed to various populations’ cultures. Service member observations and interpretations of service members’ interactions form an untapped set of operationally relevant sociocultural data. The existing wellspring of sociocultural information needs only be collected and indexed using a framework derived from the Five Operational Culture Dimensions model. Residing on a geodatabase and interfaced via a custom multi-client supported web-based Geographic Information System (GIS), this framework integrates the collected data comprised of service member narratives with the greater Joint Force thereby creating a dynamic and collaborative sociocultural living repository. Combining an anthropologically sound framework that is operationally relevant with the capabilities of GIS results in a solution that will allow DoD personnel to uniformly populate, visualize, and share near real-time cultural data relevant to military operations across all services and agencies. This DoD enterprise solution has the potential to enhance the Nation’s armed forces’ strategic performance through the application of culturally adept military power
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.promfg.2015.07.533
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