The Weapon System Mapping Services (WSMS) is a defined standard within the Joint Technical Architecture - Army and is specified for use in embedded and/or real-time Army weapon system programs/applications. The need for the WSMS was established within the Army Weapon System community (Ground Vehicle, Aviation, Missile, Munitions, and Soldier sub-domains) and the requirements that dictated the resultant capabilities were identified via an embedded digital mapping system requirements analysis across the Army Weapon System Program Executive Office (PEO) community.

The WSMS is defined via an Application Programmer's Interface in a manner that facilitates access to the underlying services via the specification of a mapping architecture, a functional and behavioral description of the mapping services, a language independent application service interface, and programming specific language bindings.

The WSMS API provides for application portability across variant platforms (target hardware, operating system, graphics system). Application portability benefits include software application porting, software application reuse and lifecycle maintenance (plug and play of implementations).

The API has been defined in accordance with the weapon systems framework, developed by the Weapon Systems Technical Architecture Working Group (WSTAWG), such that it provides a common set of services required throughout the weapon systems subdomains (Aviation, Ground Vehicle, Missile, and Soldier). In addition, the API has been specified in a scaleable, extensible, language independent manner such that it can be tailored to application specific requirements (e.g. level of functionality, programming language, etc.), resulting in an increased potential for application reuse.

The WSMS requirements have been derived from a variety of programs within the Army weapon system domain (Air, Ground, Missile, and Soldier). The overall foundation of the WSMS is based upon required mapping capability as documented within the Weapon System Technical Architecture Working Group (WSTAWG) Hierarchy of Capabilities (HOC) and weapon systems framework. In that weapon systems mapping requirements are continuing to evolve, due to an increased focus on digitization as well as the incorporation of Pre Planned Product Improvements (P3I) and system block upgrades, this API will be periodically updated in order to incorporate new and updated requirements.

Largely, the WSMS requirements have been collected from three primary sources; the WSTAWG HOC and weapon systems framework, a WSTAWG weapon system mapping requirements survey, and requirements documentation for mapping products utilized within Army and other joint service operations. The WSTAWG HOC and weapon systems framework document C3I functional mapping requirements for existing and current Army weapon system programs. The WSTAWG map survey was developed to capture existing, current, and planned requirements of fielded and developmental weapon systems. The survey was distributed to weapon systems program managers and queried mapping requirements (functional and performance), documentation, and products as well as weapon system platform characteristics (underlying hardware and hardware architectures, programming languages).

Based on information collected from the above sources combined with the fact that the WSMS API will evolve over time to incorporate additional functionality, the following goals were identified and utilized in the construction of the WSMS API.
a) The WSMS API shall provide scalability to weapon systems applications, such that groups of functionality and differing data standards and formats can be supported to meet varying system requirements.
b) The WSMS API shall provide extensibility to weapon system applications, such that future upgrades can be easily incorporated to provide for advances in mapping system technologies.
c) The WSMS API shall provide support for the development of WSMS implementations supporting the performance and integration requirements of real time embedded weapon systems.
d) The WSMS API shall provide support for the development of WSMS implementations and applications within varying architectures utilizing varied hardware, software, and programming languages.

The set of components and component operations provided within the API have been developed to meet the WSMS functional requirements. The design techniques applied to the specification of the API have been utilized to provide the required application/implementation support as well as to provide for requirements growth via a well based extensible and scaleable foundation. It is envisioned that as new requirements are incorporated, the API definition shall be modified to incorporate newly established requirements through the modification or addition of API components and API component operations.