Army Vehicle Identification

I’m a big fan of (mis)using things in ways they were never intended – whether it’s the crazy antics of the MythBusters, my own more restrained adventures in applied creativity, or even pervertibles. Sometimes it’s creativity born of necessity; other times it’s a simple desire to be wierd or different… Sometimes, it’s just recognizing that one thing is perfectly suited to do something it was never meant to – like parabolic cookware antennas.

Now hold that thought for a moment, if you would.

The military loves PowerPoint presentations; as much as they might be mocked, “PowerPoint Rangers” know that well-designed presentations are an important way to get noticed, and get ahead. Of course, nothing spiffs up a computer presentation like clip art, and our military has lots of the stuff to be had all over the place.

Now – and please mind the irony, it can be slippery – some well-meaning soul at, as far as I can tell, the Army’s Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command made a PowerPoint presentation about clip-art late last year. Really.

I have no idea where the actual images he or she used came from, but they put together a sort of index of uniform clipart graphics of current military vehicles, for reasons unknown to me. Sounds deathly uninteresting, doesn’t it? Well, it just so happens that this hapless government employee accidentally produces a darn fine guide to visual vehicle identification. Seriously. Check it out for yourself here (5.28MB PowerPoint file.)

Sure, if you’re a military geek, it’s neat to have a reference to this kind of thing, but it’s got a lot of other uses, as well. Picture editors, photo researchers, book and magazine editors – anyone who might need to figure out in a hurry if something is an M932A1 or a M925A1, say, or tell the difference between an M870A1 trailer and an M870A3.

It might not be what it was intended for, but it works. And, in a result-oriented environment, sometimes that’s all that matters. And for free (or the time it takes to download), you’d be hard-pressed to top it.

For those who are PowerPoint-challenged, I managed, all on my own, to produce a PDF file of the presentation, which you can download right here (4.85MB PDF.) Yes, they’re big files, but that’s because the images on all twenty-two pages are surprisingly high-quality; see this 756-pixel wide image for an example; that’s a screen-capture from the PDF at nominal 400% enlargement.

Published in: Geekiness, General | on May 11th, 2007| Comments Off on Army Vehicle Identification

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