Maritime security and incident response is a complex activity requiring close coordination, planning, training, and systems interoperability across agencies and jurisdictions.
In the maritime environment, the capability to provide information to remote operators and decision-support personnel is a significant force multiplier and operational enabler.
The Field Information Support Tool (FIST) represents an advanced capability to coordinate geographically distributed field operations, even in communications-austere environments, by sharing information in real time. Incorporating FIST into maritime security creates a measurable improvement in the ability to provide tasking orders to, communicate with, and receive information from the field to support decision-making, response, and resource allocation at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.
Kestrel Technology Group’s (KTG) Field Information Support Tool (FIST) is a proven, powerful system for collection, integration, and dissemination of data from the field for assessment by subject matter experts, integration into intelligence databases, and transformation into analysis products. By providing efficient methods of collecting data, automated means of integrating and displaying it, and improving the ability to disseminate it rapidly, the process of aggregating raw data and transforming it to meaningful, actionable information is greatly enhanced.
Maritime security personnel frequently encounter recreational boats with limited means to identify vessels on law enforcement watch lists. Existing optical character recognition (OCR) tools for boat identification rely on proper framing of the image for accurate results. Additionally, maritime security vessels may be faced with a variety of conditions involving distance, angle and atmospheric obstruction (i.e. rain, fog) that further reduce success.
We have developed ABID, Automated Boat IDentification, an innovative image capture system that employs state-of-the-art OCR combined with mobile digital collaboration technologies. ABID is a maritime-capable Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that can be quickly launched and maneuvered to capture a properly framed image of a vessel registration, overcoming distance, angle, and atmospheric challenges to acquire the needed images for vessel identification.
FIST represents a new paradigm for knowledge creation and sharing that reflects the 21st Century information environment. FIST seamlessly integrates with traditional command-control hierarchy found in military and police structures, and provides an interoperable capability to securely share relevant information in a controlled manner with any stakeholder with an Android smartphone, a personal computer, and internet service or satellite connectivity.