Ascend Gets DARPA Contract to Supply TIGR Multimedia Reporting System
Ascend Intelligence in Arlington, VA received a $14 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract from the US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) to supply the tactical ground reporting (TIGR) system for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
First tested in Iraq in 2007, TIGR is a multimedia reporting system for US troops at the patrol level, allowing users to collect and share information to improve situational awareness and to facilitate collaboration and information analysis among junior officers. TIGR complements existing reporting systems that focus on the needs of users at battalion or brigade level and above.
TIGR has a map-based user interface and supports multimedia and GPS input, as well as distributed search and caching capability. It uses software that runs on a laptop and taps into multiple databases containing intelligence about a particular area…
TIGR’s graphical, map-referenced user interface allows multimedia data such as voice recordings, digital photos, GPS tracks to be collected and searched. The system’s data distribution architecture minimizes bandwidth use on tactical networks.
According to DARPA, TIGR provides the following capabilities:
“TIGR enhances local knowledge – Local knowledge is hard-won and is critical to effective operations. TIGR helps ground soldiers collect information on key infrastructure, landmarks and terrain. Photos of key locations can be captured into TIGR, geo-referenced, and displayed as map overlays. Such data also serve as a navigation aid in the land where there are no street names or numbers. Overlays of routes, critical infrastructure, tribal areas and ethnic maps, recent attacks and recent changes in the terrain are all used to enhance soldier knowledge. TIGR is also used to capture and share information on human terrain. Meetings with religious leaders, encounters with local villagers or business owners can be recorded and shared in TIGR.
TIGR tracks dynamic changes – The data in TIGR are dynamic and easily updated. While infrastructure is usually viewed as static, the reality is that battlefield terrain and infrastructure is dynamic – new structures appear, bridges are destroyed, new obstacles appear along roads. TIGR manages this dynamic tactical landscape using before/after photos and updated imagery to provide the most up-to-date views of the battlespace.
TIGR assists the unit rotation process – During the regular RIP-TOA (Relief in Place – Transfer of Authority) process, TIGR can be used to transfer the key historical and contextual information to the new unit rotating into the Area of Operation. Instead of reviewing a stack of Powerpoint or Word files, new units can start the rotation process by reviewing past and ongoing activities in the areas of interest.”
A 2008 article [pdf] in Technology Review notes that TIGR enables junior officers who command patrols to clicking on icons and see the locations of key buildings, like mosques, schools, and hospitals, and retrieve information such as location data on past attacks, geotagged photos of houses and other buildings (taken with cameras equipped with GPS), and photos of suspected insurgents and neighborhood leaders. They can listen to civilian interviews and watch videos of past maneuvers.
The magazine said that the next step for TIGR is to move out of bases and into Humvees and other military vehicles, allowing soldiers to download and act on new information in real time.
Ascend will perform the work in Arlington, VA (86.95%); Fort Washington, PA (4.7%); San Diego, CA (1.95%); Falls Church, VA (5.36%); and Cherry Hill, NJ (1.04%), with an estimated completion date of Nov 16/13. Bids were solicited on the web with 59 bids received by the DARPA Contract Management Office in Arlington, VA (HR0011-10-C-0030).