Primordial Secures Defense News Best New Component of 2010 Award

Primordial announced today that it has won the Defense News technology and innovations award for best new component of 2010.

Defense News launched the technology and innovation awards to recognize recent advances in defense technologies by United States companies and defense agencies. Defense News solicited nominations through and also considered developments suggested by a panel of expert judges.

In addition to Defense News editors, the judging panel was comprised of Michael Bayer, chairman of the Defense Business Board; Pierre Chao, managing partner and co-founder of Renaissance Strategic Advisors; and Paul Kaminski, chairman of the Defense Science Board.

In all, the panel considered more than 80 product nominations that came to market in the past year, weighing how much each nominee advanced the field, helped the war fighter, and reduced costs.

One winner and two runners-up were selected for each of five categories:

  • New platform: A large-scale system or platform, such as an aircraft or vehicle, which incorporates multiple technologies and performs multiple missions.
  • New product: A weapon or system that can be used on its own or as a part of a larger platform, such as a radio, sensor, gun, etc.
  • New component: A part that goes into a product or platform, such as electronic controls, lasers, or armor.
  • New material: A basic building block from which a product or component can be built, such as Kevlar, nanotubes, hardened glass. The new material must be beyond the theoretical stage and actually ready for production.
  • New use of existing technology: Upgrades, innovative new applications for existing systems, products, components or materials.

Below is the article in Defense News on Primordial.

Ground Guidance: There's More Than One Way From Here to There

Published: August 2, 2010

To get troops from point A to point B, the U.S. military's Global Positioning System will generally draw a route that is a straight line. That might be OK for aircraft, but it can be treacherous for vehicles and dismounted troops.

So St. Paul, Minn., software company Primordial has built a better system - Ground Guidance. In addition to processing the signals sent by GPS satellites, Ground Guidance crunches data extracted from terrain maps, road maps, aerial photos, land-cover charts, light detection and ranging contour maps, and other geospatial information.

In a matter of minutes, Ground Guidance software can plot an overland course that steers clear of difficult or dangerous terrain, such as steep hills, cliffs and swamps. And with local intelligence data thrown in, it will avoid areas where enemy troops are suspected to be, or where bombs and mines are a threat.

If speed is essential, Ground Guidance can be instructed to plot the fastest course based or road conditions, terrain and other factors, said Steve Hersman, Primordial's vice president of military marketing.

If concealment is key, the software will map out a route that's best hidden by foliage, blocked from sight by terrain features, or sneaks through back streets and alleys and avoids exposed boulevards in a city.

When plotting routes, Ground Guidance software takes into account vehicle capabilities, Hersman said. Troops in Humvees will be able to cover steeper, rougher terrain than those driving heavy trucks. The software considers that when mapping a route.

And the software will plan multiple routes, such as a primary route, an alternate and an emergency route in case things go wrong, Primordial said. And it can be used to predict avenues of approach or retreat that enemies are most likely to use.

Troops who have seen the software at work say plotting a similar route using maps and intelligence would take hours, Hersman said. Ground Guidance can do it in about five minutes, he said.

The U.S. Army was impressed enough this spring to award Primordial $1.7 million to integrate Ground Guidance into the Army's Land Warrior Advanced Mission Data Support Equipment and its Land Warrior Laptop.

The Army's endorsement and funding will enable Primordial to transition Ground Guidance from a research-and-development effort to large-scale fielding, Hersman said.

The mapping software is scheduled to make its battlefield debut with Special Forces in Iraq later this year, Primordial reports.

Ground Guidance runs on desktop and notebook computers, and on a variety of hand-held devices. It runs on Windows and Linux operating systems and serves as a plug-in to the FalconView mapping system that soldiers use for mission planning.

The secret to Ground Guidance is algorithms, Hersman said. The data extracted from maps, charts, photos and the like "all becomes math" and are processed by algorithms - essentially, computer programs - into useful travel routes.

In addition to its military uses, Ground Guidance has proven attractive in the consumer market.

In 2009, the system won the "Apps on Maps" award in the Nokia mobile phone company Calling All Inventors Competition.

About Primordial

Primordial is a private company located in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Incorporated in May 2002, Primordial is the leader in off-road navigation software. The company has successfully executed contracts with the United States Army Topographic Engineering Center (TEC), United States Army Communications and Electronics Command (CECOM), United States Army Movement Tracking System (MTS), and United States Marine Corps (USMC). For more information, visit