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"There was a time when one old eccentric guy with a notebook could do something important to science. Now even the resources of a major university are often not enough."
- Jerry Pournelle

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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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Cities in Flight
  More Ideas and Technology by James Blish
  Tech news articles related to Cities in Flight
  Tech news articles related to works by James Blish

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