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Synthetic Megacity Representation in Army Modeling and Simulation (M&S) Environments


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Information Systems

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals, their country of origin, and what tasks each would accomplish in the statement of work in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation.

OBJECTIVE: Develop an innovative synthetic megacity representation to support future immersive Army enterprise M&S environments (test, training, acquisition, intelligence, experimentation, analysis). This representation must support multi-level, dense urban terrain, massive civilian populations, and their social, political, and economic interactions amidst Army operations.

DESCRIPTION: In 2014, the Army introduced the Army Operating Concept (AOC) that addressed the challenges to win in a complex world. Expeditionary Army operations will no doubt be essential to preventing conflicts and shaping security environments that have interdependent linkages to cultural, economic, military and political issues. These unique challenges are even more compounded and intertwined in dense urban terrain environments headlined by megacities. With population over 10 million, megacities are regionally and globally connected epicenters that can face multi-faceted challenges of population boom, infrastructure over extension, and economic inequalities, natural disasters, and increased security risks while offering threat actors/networks freedom of maneuver.

As the Army moves forward to better understand megacities, it will develop doctrine and training in these environments. The Army’s simulation-based capabilities must reflect the complexities of such environments. To date, many Live-Virtual-Constructive (LVC) events include rather limited and abstracted representation of urban terrain (mostly geotypical building features and limited populations), but it does not adequately address the size, scope, scale, and interactivity of megacities.

Megacity representation within synthetic environments must consider their unique characteristics such as urban, multi-level terrain (high rises, ground, subterranean) and population density, global interconnectivity networks (internet), flow and competition of resources (energy, food, power, waste), and hostile threat actors conducted operations blended within a large civilian populace. All of these impact Army engagements within megacities as well as simulated operational environments, such as those provided by OneSAF, which must model accurate interactions, behaviors, and physical representation of large, complex urban terrain footprints.

The synthetic megacity representation should research and develop novel M&S approaches that will support future immersive training and M&S environments. Innovative solutions to depict simulation-based megacities and their M&S technology challenges with dense, multi-level physical terrain and complex, multi-million population sized interactions should leverage commercial technologies/tools and simulation interoperability standards as it will support Live-Virtual-Constructive environments across the Army M&S enterprise (test and evaluation, training, acquisition, analysis, intelligence, experimentation).

PHASE I: Phase 1 should perform a study to investigate concepts and approaches for representation of megacities and their potential inclusion within future Army M&S environments to support training and other LVC simulation-based activities. The initial megacity conceptual design should include enhanced representation and interaction of political, military, economic (i.e. natural resources), social (i.e. interaction with dense heterogeneous populations/cultures), infrastructure (i.e. communication networks, sewage, power, transportation), physical environments (multi-level terrain), and time (PMESII-PT) and their role, activities, and incorporation into synthetic operational environments with Army units.

PHASE II: Phase 2 extends the deliverable concepts and approaches of megacity representation in synthetic environments and implements a proof-of-concept prototype that could be leverage across the Army M&S enterprise. Potential prototypes could potentially be linked within commercial/government simulation tools such as constructive-virtual environments provided by OneSAF. The prototype should consider specific aspects from Phase 1 investigation and demonstrate a synthetic megacity prototype of a dense, large, multi-tiered urban landscape, millions of individual civilians, and their select interactions across cultural, social, political and economic lines of activities with neutral, threat, and Army military organizations. Such demonstration should consider linkages with future Army training or other simulation-based environments. Demonstration will be at a TRL 4 to subject matter experts to incorporate and refine feedback.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: A synthetic megacity representation would have significant operational military applications and SBIR research transition prospects. First, the Army’s Synthetic Environment Core (SE Core) program has the mission to rapidly generate correlated runtime terrain databases for the Integrated Training Environment (ITE). An ability to leverage processes, tools, and standards for developing megacities would increase physical megacity urban terrain representation fidelity. Next, the OneSAF program of record provides a composable, extensible high fidelity entity level constructive simulation. Megacity capabilities carried forward from this research would augment urban operation behavior/interaction as well as non-kinetic effects representation into the calculus of military operations across the Army’s 6 M&S communities of interest. Finally, the future Synthetic Training Environment (STE) program has identified a One World Terrain capability that will feature a single global terrain database with support of megacities.

Commercial applications include gaming, augmented/virtual reality, law enforcement, homeland defense, and humanitarian relief.


    • Megacities Concept Team, Chief of Staff of the Army Strategic Studies Group. “Megacities and the United States Army: Preparing for a Complex and Uncertain Future.” June 2014.


    • Ehlschlaeger, Charles. “Understanding Megacities with the Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Intelligence Paradigm.” White Volume. Http:// April 2014.


    • United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2014). World Urbanization Prospects: The 2014 Revision, Highlights (ST/ESA/SER.A/352).


  • Headquarters Department of the Army. Field Manual (FM) 3-06, Urban Operations. Http:// 2006.

KEYWORDS: megacity, urban operations, terrain, modeling, simulation, synthetic environment, political, economic, social, live, virtual, constructive

  • TPOC-1: Fernando DaSilva
  • Phone: 407-384-5123
  • Email:
  • TPOC-2: Mr. Robert Forbis
  • Phone: 407-384-3884
  • Email:
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