Why Systems Tool Kit? Part II

  • Oct 23, 2012
  • Tech Tip
My last blog left off saying that STK is in itself a system – and my final point to address on that topic was that STK and its value-added products each have a role in modeling, analyzing and measuring your system’s performance and overall effectiveness. So without going into feature dump mode for each module, or  the customization and integration aspects of STK, I’ll try to clarify some of the simple principles of our product line. First off, we feel that the free version of Systems Tool Kit can do quite a lot. Free STK will create an excellent generic model of your system or problem which you can use to visualize and analyze potential solutions through visual cues and reports and graphs. You will even be able to communicate those findings with images, movies or embedding the visualization in standard tools like Microsoft PowerPoint or Word. However, if you want to really determine the effectiveness of the system as a whole or optimize your findings – you will either have to customize STK with some mission-specific code (plugins/scripts), export your results to tools such as MATLAB or Excel or step up to some of our advanced modules. For example, to better define and represent your problem, we offer modules like STK Pro (custom sensors, constraints, terrain, links). To provide a higher level of fidelity in your position modeling for whichever asset you need, SatPro, Aircraft Mission Modeler and Missile Flight Tool will do the trick. So now you have rock-solid, high-fidelity modeling of your system, but you still need to quantify how well it works. Again, you can turn to your own mission-specific tools because STK offers a great API and lots of ways to export and interact with standard tools. But, after 20+ years of working with customers, we’ve developed a pretty good sense of what you need too. So when you need to get a good idea of your mission effectiveness – e.g. Where is the best spot to place my radar? Do I need to be concerned about RFI? What is my BER? When do I have a clear firing opportunity? Will the terrain effect my GDOP? – we have tools like Comm, Radar, Coverage and Analyzer. These are the tools that determine your mission effectiveness. One last very important mention – every system is different, right? And almost everything can be traced back to position or relative position and time. This is where the new Analysis Workbench comes in as the glue between the basic system you defined and the end result (mission effectiveness) that you need to determine. Analysis Workbench is a whole other blog topic, but consistent with the rest of this thread, here is the quick story. Analysis Workbench allows you to define custom position vectors and coordinate frames (Vector Geometry Tool), custom time intervals based on any other (or combination thereof) time element within the system (Time Tool) and perform simple math operations on your time intervals or vectors (Calc Tool). These user-defined elements become integrated components to all other basic operations within STK. I know this might be a bit confusing, but believe me it’s cool. It is sort of like an embedded programming language within STK without having to know any programming. In summary – our “system” of products works like this:
  • Basic system modeling , visualization and analysis - Free STK brings basic position and attitude modeling, great 3D visualization, reporting, graphing and output for analysis, and a full API for customization.
  • More robust system modeling of position and orientation - Use SatPro, Aircraft Mission Modeler and Missile Flight Tool.
  • Determining mission effectiveness (Does my system work? What are the issues? How can I make it work?) – Use Comm, Coverage, Radar, Conjunction Analysis Tools and Analyzer.
  • The bridge between what AGI generically provides and the nuances of the problem/system – Analysis Workbench is your answer.
We hope you’re as excited about STK 10 as we are. Stay tuned to to request to be notified when it is available, or join us at the STK 10 Training Tour or STK 10 Launch Seminar Series.