Developing Capabilities for the Visualization and Analysis of Qualitative Data within Geographic Information Systems
The complexities and challenges in today"s counterinsurgency (COIN) environment require warfighters to constantly learn and adapt to new social systems and networks, shifting alliances, and uncertain host-nation support. Understanding these dynamics requires the collection and analysis of nontraditional types of intelligence, which often take a qualitative or non-numeric form such as interview transcripts, drawings, photographs, and videos. Conventional Geographic Information Systems fail to express qualitative concepts that are not explicitly spatial and that do not fit nicely into the concrete points, lines, and polygons of a Cartesian framework. Since current Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are designed for quantitative data analysis and visualization, the proliferation of qualitative products brings a new set of challenges to the Army intelligence community. Securboration is developing the Stability and Reconstruction GIS (STARGIS) to apply Qualitative GIS principles and provide the warfighter with unprecedented knowledge regarding socio-cultural terrain. As a result, the warfighter will have new situational awareness with respect to deeply held socio-cultural beliefs and customs, reactions to events, and changing attitudes with respect to the indigenous government, insurgents, and external actors.
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