Monday, March 14, 2016

Who and where - why? (Biometrics, Geographic Information Systems, and the U.S. Army)

For many years, I have worked for MorphoTrak and its corporate predecessors. Starting with fingerprints, my responsibilities have grown to include palmprints, faces, irises, and other items. In essence, however, my professional life has centered on the question "Who?"

At various times during this professional career, I have interacted with ESRI out of Redlands. During the Printrak-Motorola days, ESRI provided software for our Computer Aided Dispatch product (which stayed with Motorola when MorphoTrak was formed). During my second stint in Proposals, I attended several monthly APMP webinars from a regional meeting point at ESRI's headquarters (before we started hosting our own regional meeting point at MorphoTrak, and obviously before APMP did away with the regional centers and just let everyone dial in to the webinar personally). ESRI, for those who don't know, concentrates on the question "Where?"

While "Who?" and "Where?" are different questions, there are overlaps at times. The U.S. Army has an intelligence system called the Distributed Common Ground System-Army (PM DCGS-A) which, according to Defense Systems, includes a lot of different types of intelligence:

DCGS-A is the Army’s common system for gathering, analyzing and sharing intelligence information from different echelons. It is capable of providing planning and direction, collection, processing/exploitation, analysis, prediction and production, battlespace awareness data dissemination, and relay capabilities. The system is able to integrate 600 sources of information.

For instance, DCGS-A is used to analyze imagery or map products, process collected cell phone data, report human intelligence, match biometrics and use NSA or aerial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance data.

As you can see, DCGS-A includes information on "where" (map products, cell phone data) and "who" (biometrics, cell phone data). Think about that before you take your T-Mobile phone and run off to join ISIS.

The Army is currently preparing to procure Increment 2, and has noted:

There is an explosion of data that is occurring.

All of that who and where stuff can certainly put a strain on the tubes.