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News

Data fusion technology for improved crime investigations

Southwest Research Institute : 14 May, 2009  (New Product)
Southwest Research developers have created Hydra, a data manipulation technology for use by law enforcement agencies for making the best use of their database records
Hydra, a prototype intelligence gathering tool developed by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) software engineers, combines data from multiple sources to help military or law enforcement officials identify and react to potential threats.

The patent-pending system gathers data from sources such as intelligence field reports, phone records, law enforcement reports, web page entries, news articles, and intelligence databases and combines them with known information about facilities and national infrastructure using integrated simulation, analysis and data fusion technologies.

Hydra uses plug-in technology to process raw data into a standardized format. After extracting the source data and relevant semantic data, the software categorizes, sequences and presents a visualization of the data in an analyst-friendly format.

"This tool is designed to aid in identifying potential terror threats using as much data as possible and allowing a human operator to specify the conditions that constitute a potential threat," said Peter Hottenstein, Manager of the Systems Modeling Section within SwRI's Training, Simulation and Performance Improvement Division.

"The system then compares incoming data against the specified criteria. The approach applies directly to the National Infrastructure Protection Plan specified by the Department of Homeland Security, but it could also be used by the military to support foreign operations," Hottenstein said. He added that other potential applications include industrial facility security operations.

Operational data may be static, such as fixed site locations; or dynamic, such as vehicle transport locations, large gatherings or special events. The fused data represent linkages of many contextual dimensions in time and space, where these connections can represent potential threats.

Threats are presented as warnings or alerts and automatic map movements provide analysts with immediate feedback as to location, threat content and other information. Threat definitions can be developed, stored and managed in libraries for a wide range of data fusion analyses, ranging from generalized screening techniques to specific target threats.

Hydra was developed under the SwRI internal research and development program, which broadens the Institute's technology base and allows engineers and scientists to explore innovative concepts.
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