Overlays - Purpose
An overlay is a clear sheet of plastic or semitransparent paper. It is used to display supplemental map and tactical information related to military operations. It is often used as a supplement to orders given in the field. Information is plotted on the overlay at the same scale as on the map, aerial photograph, or other graphic being used. When the overlay is placed over the graphic, the details plotted on the overlay are shown in their true position.
Overlays are used to display military operations with enemy and friendly troop dispositions, and as supplements to orders sent to the field. They show detail that will aid in understanding the orders, displays of communication networks, and so forth. They are also used as annexes to reports made in the field because they can clarify matters that are difficult to explain clearly in writing.