Military Date-Time group format....WHY????

Discussion in 'General GPS Discussion' started by Quiet Voice, Nov 4, 2004.

  1. Quiet Voice

    Quiet Voice Guest


    I'm curious to know if anyone can explain the purpose and/or benifits
    of the military date-time group format.

    As I understand it, the format is as follows


    dd - numeric date
    hh, mm, ss - numeric hours, min sec (24hr format)
    [TZ] - one letter timezone designator
    [Mon] - month (3 letter abbreviation)
    YY -- two digit year

    My question is WHY???

    I can see how the standard military date format (dd [mon] yy) both
    conforms to the international standard fo day-before-month (unlike in
    the USA) and using a 3-letter abbrev for month also helps further
    alleviate ambiguity.

    I can see how using an ISO 8601 date format has advantages (such as
    having files automatically organized in chronological in a computer

    But I see NO advantages to the military DTG format.

    Can anyone shed any light on the subject?

    Quiet Voice, Nov 4, 2004
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  2. Quiet Voice

    Andrew Guest

    I am no expert, but I would have thought the fact that the GPS
    satellites are provided by the US military would have something to do
    with it.
    Andrew, Nov 4, 2004
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  3. Quiet Voice

    Quiet Voice Guest


    Thanks for your response.

    Yours is a good guess....but this format has been in use by the
    military for dating telex traffic since long before GPS was around.

    (Even though it is not a strictly "gps sat-nav" question, I posted to
    this newsgroup because it was the only one I could find...or at least
    get access to.....on USENET that had previous messages which dealt
    with this sort of data format question.)
    Quiet Voice, Nov 5, 2004
  4. Quiet Voice

    David Lee Guest

    Quiet Voice wrote ...
    I suspect the best answer you will come up with is "Because"!

    It's likely that the standard is simply the format that was in use when
    usage became widespread and never got changed, so it will just have been
    what seemed a good idea to someone at the time. Whoever it was probably
    would never have considered that he was designing a standard!

    David Lee, Nov 5, 2004
  5. Quiet Voice

    Gary S. Guest

    Many "standards" are not the result of design, they just sort of

    Happy trails,
    Gary (net.yogi.bear)
    Gary S., Nov 5, 2004
  6. just guessing but it gives the important info first, i.e. telexes and
    signals would arrive soon after being sent, but 2 could possibly crossover
    so the 1st thing a military chap would need to know is the day it was sent
    followed by the time, the month and year are not really important for
    something that you need to react to immediately

    as for the timezone - a standard could be set, e.g. UTC, or you can allow
    local time to be used but then you need to identify the timezone so that you
    can set it in chronological order with other signals etc
    Kevin Thornton, Nov 5, 2004
  7. Quiet Voice

    Alan Browne Guest

    I've seen the US mil use dozens of formats for date and time. Possibly in
    recent years they've settled on a more common standard.

    Gasp, I've even seen them use the PROPER ISO format of YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS

    (Officially a "T" should be inserted between the DD and HH, but I find that messy).

    The only worldwid standard format is ISO 8601 which is YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS.xxxx

    TZ seems silly. The military should understand the value and importance of
    coordinating and recording time in UTC. Let local people (& systems) convert it
    to local time if need be...
    Except that with legacy data you don't know how it was really encoded (unless a
    description is in the file). Back when memory was expensive, programmers when
    to all kinds of lengths to pack dates so that 230778 was pretty clear, but what
    does 071278 mean?
    Like many things, it probably began arbitrarily, and then becopmes an ad hoc
    standard, and then some sob makes it policy and everyone is screwed.

    Alan Browne, Nov 5, 2004
  8. Quiet Voice

    Dan Condon Guest

    When I was in the Navy, the teletype machine was going 24/ 7... The DTG made
    it much easier for the communications crew to put these telexes in order on
    the clipboard which was read and initialed by the various commanders...
    (For what it's worth)
    Dan Condon, Nov 6, 2004
  9. Quiet Voice

    Quiet Voice Guest

    Thanks for the response.

    Y' that I think about it, you're probably right!!

    So much of what happens in the military reminds me of that joke about
    a camel being a horse designed by comittee. So bunch of bureaucrats
    buried deep in the bowels of the pentagon just somehow "come up" with
    an idea and >>presto<< hundreds for front-line GI grunts are saddled
    with a dumb burden....

    After all, who was the genius who came up with the idea for those
    berets???? Does a hell of a job keeping the sun out of their eyes,
    I'll bet! But then, pentagon bureaucrats don't need to worry about
    little thintgs like that.....

    Opps, now you've gotten me on a rant!

    [PS: Anyway, thank for the input. Any ideas where else one might go to
    track down an answer? I tried sci.military but google won't let me
    post there.]
    Quiet Voice, Nov 6, 2004
  10. Quiet Voice

    Alan Browne Guest

    That is worth a lot ... almost as much as if everyone adopted the ISO format
    once and for all...

    Alan Browne, Nov 6, 2004
  11. Quiet Voice

    gpsmaps Guest

    You should sent you question to the show called Mail Call on the History
    Channel and maybe it can get answered there.
    gpsmaps, Nov 6, 2004
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