You are here

Intelligent “Object” Symbology


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is committed to using cutting- edge technologies and scientific talent in its quest to make America safer. The International Committee for Information Technology Standards (ANSI INCITS) 415-2006, Homeland Security Mapping Standard - Point Symbology for Emergency Management establishes point symbols focused exclusively on the emergency management and emergency responder communities. DHS includes component organizations such as FEMA, CBP, USCG, and NPPD, whose missions encompass areas outside emergency management, such as law enforcement and intelligence analysis. These require symbology standards and techniques above and beyond that which is provided by ANSI INCITS 415-2006.

The Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate is working on the next generation of geospatial web mapping and symbology technologies to identify challenges and develop recommendations on mission relevant applied research to address these challenges. DHS has a wide “spectrum” of missions. As a result, a one size fits all symbology standard for the entire department is not practical in this environment with broad ranging practices, methodologies, and applications across the components. The current practice requires users to identify data, extract information, create or reuse existing symbology, and manually apply these symbols within geo-spatial applications. Additionally, the end users have to manually link information or Meta data to symbology in order for it to be interpretable and interoperable. This current practice is time consuming and creates room for errors.

There is a need for an automated, dynamic application that ingests, processes, and analyzes data from a combination of sources and presents interpreted data in a meaningful way to provide the end user with valuable and accurate information relevant to their specific needs or functions. In order to address these challenges, DHS is looking at the concept of Intelligent Symbology, an active dynamic object or agent that is able to interpret information and provide the appropriate symbol automatically to the end user. In other words, this application technology will search and assess data (structured/unstructured text) from pre-defined data sources such as Law Enforcement and Public Safety RSS feeds, bulletins, and other applications for key words and geo co-ordinates such as “fire at 500 Elm Street” and identify the appropriate symbology to accurately represent the feature and event on a viewer or geospatial application.

This effort goes beyond just analyzing and tagging “free” text and geo co-ordinates, and uses dynamic symbology and attribution. For example, the state of a symbol is dynamically updated to reflect relevant changes to the underlying data within a specified time window. Using the same fire example mentioned above, the applications technology would be able to analyze data sources to determine the current event status of the fire incident and its effect on occupants or surrounding areas and find the appropriate fire symbol and dynamic attribution to accurately represent this information. Secondly, the application technology should be able to determine data “pedigree”, which would allow the end user to extract additional information from a symbol at the application level. Meaning, at the application level, the user should be able to view all Meta data and information related to an incident, its location, and the data sources thereby allowing the user to validate the integrity of the data and determine how to safely and effectively respond to the incident.

Essentially, this Intelligent “Object” would actively query data sources for specified types of data that can be identified, symbolized and geo-coded to support business intelligence, mashups and data analytics on the content. The results will provide: 1) meaningful information to the end user, 2) the appropriate symbology automatically portrayed to represent that data (it is assumed that the symbols are vetted and cataloged in the data dictionary), and 3) the ability for the end user to drill down on a symbol to access more information pertaining to the incident or event.

PHASE I: Research and assess the concept proposed, and work in close collaboration with DHS to develop various approaches and methodologies for ingesting, integrating, analyzing, and representing data within the context of geospatial intelligence and information sharing. Use the ANSI INCITS 415-2006 as the base standard. Develop and demonstrate two or more proof of concept applications or widgets that support the chosen methodologies. Propose relevant performance metrics to be used in assessing the accuracy of the proposed approach.

PHASE II: Develop and deliver a working prototype application that is compatible with popular browsers and geospatial applications from major vendors such as ESRI, Microsoft, and Google. Provide and test the prototype application and related source code, documentation, data and other necessary artifacts as required for migration of the prototype application into the DHS Geospatial Information Infrastructure (GII) infrastructure. Implement agreed upon performance metrics to be used in assessing the accuracy of the proposed approach.

PHASE III: COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS: Further develop the prototype into a working product and provide it as a plug-in service or widget to major geospatial vendors such as ESRI, Microsoft, and Google.

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government