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Marines Get Help with Data Overload

by Matt Cox on November 25, 2013

agile-bloodhound-220x150The Office of Naval Research recently equipped Marines in Hawaii with special technology to help them sift through loads of data to find only the information they need for the battlefield.

ONR officials partnered with U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific Experimentation Center and the 3rd Marine Regiment for the third annual Agile Bloodhound demonstration Nov. 13–14 at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Marines used handheld devices and special software to automatically sift through loads of data to help ease information overload.

Naval expeditionary operations involve more sensors, radios and computers than ever before. However, the management and dissemination of information has not kept pace with technological advancements, and Marines on the front lines can be overwhelmed with the amount of raw data coming at them, demonstration officials maintain.

“Marines in the heat of battle have more pressing things to worry about than trying to make sense of a lot of different pieces of intelligence,” said John Moniz, ONR program manager. “They need the right information at the right time, and Agile Bloodhound is helping us figure out what combination of hardware and software works best to deliver only the most relevant information as quickly as possible.”

The demonstration showed how information such as imagery from an unmanned aircraft sensors and communications and networking can be tailored to speed decision-making by expeditionary forces.

Some of the many technologies used during Agile Bloodhound include:

– A serverless chat system that allows person-to-person and group communications even for those not connected to the infrastructure network and servers.

– A knowledge discovery program that uses smartphones and tablets to streamline ISR data collection and exploitation, as well as create a unified picture of the battlefield through geographically identified imagery and automated force tracking.

– ActiveWiki software that allows collaboration for social-networking graphs and real-time updates of pictures and maps to produce unique views and overlays of the battlespace.

“We’re trying to create a user-oriented world view for Marines,” said Col. William Zamagni, deputy director of ONR’s Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism Department. “Whether they’re in command centers with PCs, in vehicles with laptops or on foot with smartphones, Marines need access to the most pertinent information possible.”

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