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After-Action Reporting with ArcGIS

After-action reporting generates valuable training opportunities and insights to improve future operations. Learn how ArcGIS Mission can help managers understand what has happened to identify trends and predict next steps while the mission is unfolding.

After-action analysis and reporting can highlight the effectiveness of a given sequence of activities in an operation. This analysis is a great tool to improve future performance and offer real world training. Fortunately, ArcGIS Enterprise stores operational data, interactions, maps and procedures in a web-enabled system so that managers in a command centre can unlock new intelligence from their current or completed missions and make use of the lessons learned. Let’s explore a few ways this could be done by first looking at ArcGIS Mission.

Mission Manager

Mission Manager is a component of the ArcGIS Mission solution and is used to oversee field activities in real time, providing tactical situational awareness to those in charge. Traditionally, after-action analysis takes place once a mission is complete. Incidentally, with the flexibility in Mission Manager to select dates and times, managers can get a sense of what has happened or what is currently happening, and begin to identify the trends and predict next steps while the mission is still unfolding. Simply set the date and time to monitor past events to draw relationships to the current situation. With this type of insight, managers can steer a mission in real time to achieve or avoid certain outcomes. This capability ensures the next tactical move is based on data and informs the decision-making process.

Screenshot of ArcGIS Mission showing Mission Time

Mission Dashboard

Another way to optimize after-action reporting is to provide real-time situational awareness of activities and insights to stakeholders of the operation. This is easily done with the Mission Dashboard and does not require granting stakeholders full access to the Mission Manager role. Viewers can select the data that is meaningful to their team or operation from the Enterprise database, ensuring a single source of truth is being disseminated across the teams. Similar to the capability of Mission Manager, a Mission Dashboard has filters for users to drill into the events of a specific date and time. Utilizing a Dashboard promotes efficient information sharing for a better after-action analysis process.

Screenshot of an ArcGIS Mission Dashboard, with a map at the centre and data on the left and the right.

Web Maps

ArcGIS Enterprise web maps, which coincidently, are the backbone of the Mission Manager interface and the Mission Dashboard can be leveraged even further in after-action analysis. Specifically, they can be used to create time-aware web applications that can be shared with other end users so they can conduct their own after-action reports. This capability offers situational awareness with data from an Enterprise system, while providing the flexibility to show data in an impactful way for end users. They can walk through the operational timeline at their own pace and deep dive into data patterns and run analysis to support their own initiatives.

Screenshot of an ArcGIS Mission map

ArcGIS StoryMaps

ArcGIS StoryMaps is another way to communicate operational details in a compelling way. This interactive tool allows viewers to explore data on their own terms. Like the name implies, StoryMaps are designed to tell stories within the context of location and is a natural fit to illustrate what has happened, where it happened and when. StoryMaps can incorporate elements like text, maps and apps to highlight certain details or messaging. Other ArcGIS tools like dashboards and web maps can also be integrated in a story, making it more engaging for the viewer. StoryMaps are a great way to show your mission data and after-action analysis in a sequential and captivating way.

Screenshot of an ArcGIS Mission StoryMap

After-action reporting generates valuable training opportunities and insights to improve future operations. Want to see more on how to perform after-action reporting with ArcGIS Mission? Watch this short video to see these tools in action and try it out on your next mission!

This post was translated to French and can be viewed here.


About the Author

Bryan Ladds joined Esri Canada in 2017 after graduating with a degree in GIS from Algonquin College. He completed the Esri Canada Associate Program with the Technical Support team before joining the Defence and Security team as a Technical Solutions Specialist. In his current role, he helps numerous intelligence-driven organizations embrace the power of geospatial thinking.

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