We are proud to provide technology that helps keep people working in high-risk, or outright dangerous areas, safe. Our clients use our platform both for sharing their location when travelling, as well as to see and analyse security incidents — improving their understanding of where they work.
This is why we developed our Information Management System (IMS), an application for searching and mapping the location of security incidents which can then be compared in one place with our customers’ own location data.
Up to now, customers uploaded their own incident data to provide a complete picture of their surrounding area. But, outside of Iraq where we have provided data, this relied on them having the means to obtain the data to begin with.
This is why we are delighted to announce a data integration with global data provider, Intelligence Fusion.
We’ll show in this post how Intelligence Fusion data brings our system to a new level of completeness and helps you get even more out of it when analysing regions.
One of the main reasons for collecting intelligence data is to reduce the uncertainties of operating in an area or territory. A well maintained, actively monitored, widely sourced, and quickly updated data set is key to be able to anticipate likely scenarios through past trends.
‘Open sources’, such as national or regional newspapers often available on the internet, are a widely adopted way to monitor and analyse these trends. This intelligence can be added to our IMS both interactively, or in bulk upload via a templated spreadsheet.
Up until now, we’ve used our in-house knowledge of Iraq to reduce the data into a small set of incident types—standardising known incident patterns and helping to see those that could affect businesses operating there.
We can attest that cross-referencing data from multiple sources to ensure its accuracy is a labour intensive process. If it is not properly verified, analysts can misinterpret or miss important information altogether. Even highly automated systems, such as those using data ‘scrapers’ and machine learning, often have elements of a ‘human in the loop’ to add a contextual layer to the data, to verify its integrity, or ‘train’ the system
This is what we think is the advantage of Intelligence Fusion’s processes and in-house analysts. Not only have they globalised our product, but their data is sifted through by professionals with years of experience in intelligence gathering. This adds another layer of context to incident data, such as the wider impact of an event, that would otherwise be lacking.
Mapping transnational actors
We are excited by the transnational dimension that this data can provide. Analysts are now able to map and anticipate the actions of groups who themselves know no borders.
Below is a ‘heat map’ (density map) capturing the movements of a transnational group within different areas of the Middle East, using both Intelligence Fusion data and ‘base layers’ from our mapping and ‘routing’ (travel directions) partner, Mapbox (we’ll be writing more about Mapbox soon).
We show in this image how the Islamic State (IS) exploited the weaknesses of the Middle Eastern state system, operating across porous and ill-guarded borders between Syria and Iraq from December 2014 to the present. Here, all confirmed Intelligence Fusion IS-related terrorist incidents (IEDs, attacks bombs, mortar fire) are displayed from this timeframe
From this data, we can see three resupply routes used by IS from the Syrian desert to Iraq – crossing the three areas outlined and annotated below.
Routes through uncertainty
You can also see the previous incidents along any route using the IMS’s ‘incident-route query’ feature. Under the hood, we are making use of both IF’s global incident data, and Mapbox’s global directions (which are updated once per day based on the latest OpenStreetMap data, and in some places continuously, incorporating available traffic information).
We show above how a mine clearance organisation working in Mosul could use our IMS to show the previous incidents along a route from Bartella in Eastern Mosul to Mosul’s ‘Old City’, located in the west.
Here, the analyst has opted to draw a 1km radius (light blue) around the route (shown in green), filtering the incident types to explosives only, searching from July to November 2017.
Mosul’s bridges were badly damaged in an effort to clear Islamic State from the area. This is why the routing data diverts to Mosul’s ‘fourth bridge’ to the south, that was rebuilt by Security Forces in mid-2017 to link the eastern half to the west.
We can also see here that the area is still subject to explosions, both in east and west. Therefore, the necessary precautions – such as using armoured vehicles with satellite tracking and communication equipment – should be adopted.
Clients can use this global data source solely, or as an additional source to complement and extend their own data. Please get in touch with our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org for a demonstration of the system.