BAE TRANSFORMS BIG DATA INTO ACTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE
02 Nov 13. Military Periscope highlights how BAE Systems’ products and services are easing the transformation of big data into actionable intelligence. This article is reprinted with express permission from Military Periscope.
Geospatial data is displayed via a web browser for intelligence analysts through a BAE Systems component of GXP Xplorer. The GXP WebView add-on product, shown above, has the capability to load full-resolution images.
The right information properly applied is generally more important than having massive amounts of facts that can’t be utilized. However, separating the figurative wheat from the chaff to get those vital kernels can be an overwhelming task in military and intelligence circles. Data accumulation is the norm.
Yet, finding those key pieces is the job of the intelligence analyst. As with many jobs, having the right tool makes the difference. Defense firms have come up with many potential solutions — sorting, filtering and searching the myriad bits of intelligence to make some sense of what can be a confused picture. The demand for such products is high.
How BAE Systems tries to meet that demand is instructive. Military Periscope met with members of BAE’s Intelligence & Security sector at the recent Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) exhibition in Washington, D.C., where we discussed the company’s latest products for intelligence analysts.
First up was BAE’s new GXP WebView product. This is a web-based component of the company’s GXP Xplorer geospatial data discovery and management tool. Its function is similar to the more advanced SOCET GXP, which is a separate device. The Xplorer and its WebView module allow an all-source analyst to view, annotate and publish products.
The main goal, say members of the BAE team, is to minimize the time spent searching for data. It is not unusual for an analyst to find that he spends half his time on the job just searching for information before taking the next step. These GXP products permit him to spend more time on analysis and delivering intelligence to decision-makers.
WebView is designed to be lightweight and affordable, more so than SOCET, which BAE Systems describes as a more robust software product. Developed using HTML5, WebView can be used in a variety of browsers — from Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox to Internet Explorer 8 or above. Xplorer also features a mobile app that supports iOS and Android. This level of interoperability stems from the fact that so much of the tool’s functionality comes from servers on the backend.
During a demonstration at the exhibition, Xplorer pulled map data from Google. In an operational setting, the tool would use more current imagery from government servers, said Darren Stelle, a member of BAE’s Geospatial eXploitation Products team. The tool also integrates with other data sources, searching documents, slides, videos, spreadsheets and imagery.
An analyst can, for example, zoom in on an area of interest, view images or video and pull up geotagged data. The tool also indexes various servers being employed by users, using metadata and other information to catalog the information. A user can search this information within Xplorer, with the results being presented on a map or with text.
The WebView add-on module is the newest feature of Xplorer and was the focus of the demonstration. With the click of a button, maps are streamed from a server, in the same fashion as, say, Google Maps. The imagery is tiled and streamed using HTML5, with each section loading as the user scrolls.
As long as there is network connectivity, imagery can be viewed as if it were on the user’s local machines. Displayed across the map are markers indicating if there is more information available about a particular set of coordinates. This might be, for instance, detailed, current satellite imagery of a certain location. With a click, the analyst can view that