It started last November with a single Cobra pilot. He figured out how to load digital maps onto the iPad and word spread. Quickly.
Before using the iPad identifying landmarks from the air was an exercise in patience. Paper charts and grids filled the tiny cockpits, and required additional training to decipher. Being able to click through a digital interface, and search for compounds of landmarks in Afghanistan has proved infinitely easier than sifting through the 50 pounds of paper pilots used to carry on every flight.
Coordinating efforts with troops on the ground is now more accurate, easier and faster. The iPad has removed much of guesswork involved in identifying compounds. Before a vast array of maps was needed to interact with the often international ground forces. You can imagine the confusion working with completely different mapping systems.
"It's all about sharing situational awareness and using the iPad is much better than using a paper chart. It takes five minutes to teach someone how to use the thing – it’s so intuitive and easy, you don't really have to think about it." - Capt John Belsha