How is visual documentation (e.g., illustrations, diagrams) created and managed in defense using DITA?

In defense documentation created with DITA XML, the management and creation of visual documentation, including illustrations, diagrams, and schematics, are critical to convey complex information effectively. Here’s how DITA supports the creation and management of visual documentation:

1. Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG): DITA allows you to incorporate SVG files into your documentation. SVG is a widely supported vector graphics format that is resolution-independent, ensuring that your illustrations and diagrams look sharp at any scale. You can create and manage SVG graphics externally and easily embed them in your DITA topics.

2. Modular Approach: DITA’s modular structure extends to visual content. Visual documentation can be treated as reusable modules, making it straightforward to update or replace diagrams when needed. When a change occurs in a specific component of a complex system, you can update the corresponding diagram without affecting the entire document.

3. Version Control: Just like text-based content, visual content in DITA can be managed using version control systems. This ensures that you can keep track of revisions, collaborate on visual updates, and maintain a clear history of changes, which is crucial for the defense industry’s compliance and documentation control requirements.


Here’s an example of how DITA XML supports the inclusion of an SVG diagram:

<topic id="radar-system" product="defense-training">
  <title>Advanced Radar System</title>
    <p>The radar system consists of various components...</p>
      <image href="radar-diagram.svg" format="svg" />
      <title>Radar System Diagram</title>
    <author>Jane Smith</author>

In this example, the DITA topic “Advanced Radar System” includes an SVG diagram of the radar system. The diagram is referenced via an <image> element, and metadata specifies the revision date and author information, facilitating the management of visual content within DITA.