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"The world is really so surreal these days that it's necessary for us to blunt it somehow in order to stay sane. The artist functions to short-circuit the buffering mechanism, so that people can occasionally perceive the weirdness of things as they are."
- William Gibson

Battle Tank Display  
  Three-dimensional display showing tactical information for space battles.  

He glanced into the auxiliary battle tank, a three-dimensional chart in which color-coded points of light moved, showing each city, the nearby sun, and the Acolyte vessels, not to scale, but in their relative positions. The tank was camouflaged as a desk and could be seen into only from behind; hence it was out of sight of any eye but Amalfi's. In it the Acolyte force showed itself to consist of one trader's ship and four police craft...
From Cities in Flight, by James Blish.
Published by Avon in 1957
Additional resources -

Robert Heinlein used similar terminology - see his stereo tank from his 1961 classic Stranger in a Strange Land.

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