Who cares about the Arctic? We do!

In a vast and mostly uninhabited country such as Canada—which borders the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans—Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) is a critical capability. It is MDA that provides awareness of potential threats from maritime approaches and prompts military and interagency responders. In the Canadian example, MDA not only requires the surveying of 10 million km2 across the oceans, 200 thousand+ km of coastline and 5 million km2 of Arctic landmass, it requires monitoring and controlling the vast amount of data and information that surveying generates. This is a big challenge; in fact, it’s a “big data” challenge.

These kinds of challenges are of particular interest to the people who work in the field of radar systems. Three hundred such scientists, industrialists and policy makers are set to meet at the 2013 IEEE Radar Conference (RadarCon13) to discuss potential solutions to remotely sensing the environment while monitoring human activity. The event takes place April 29-May 3 at the Ottawa Convention Center (OCC) under the theme, “The Arctic – The New Frontier.”

Looking at the Canadian MDA challenge again, the Arctic has been the subject of much discussion in the past few years. As Chair of the Arctic Council in 2013, Canada is leading the advance of Arctic foreign policy and is strongly promoting Canadian Northern interests. So it’s crucial to continue enhancing Canada’s capabilities with uninterrupted surveillance and a more reliable and efficient processing of the overwhelming amount of information collected by the ever increasing number of sensing and monitoring devices. For example, on any given day, Canada faces the laborious task of monitoring its marine activity, consisting of more than 250 ports and over 1,700 ships.

At Larus Technologies, we understand these big data challenges, as well as the rigorous operational requirements being placed on existing systems. This includes the needs to capture human expertise and guidance, lower computational complexity and automatically adapt to changing situations. We are experts in high level information fusion (HLIF), which is the focus of today’s research efforts in this domain.

We use a mixture of computational intelligence (CI) and advanced learning techniques to combine and analyze information from a variety of sources. This includes passive and active sensors (e.g. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) detection reports and Automatic Identification System (AIS)) to better identify abnormal behaviors and irregularities in areas of strategic and national importance. This helps reduce the strain on human operators as it provides automated and dynamic awareness of the reality of the remote environment as well as helps to produce the most accurate information possible while continually optimizing situational awareness for decision makers.

I hope you plan to attend RadarCon13. While there, I hope you’ll attend the Industry Showcase which is May 2 from 8:00-10:00 am in Rooms 205/207 because I’ll be giving a talk about state-of-the-art vessel tracking and anomaly detection techniques (look for Dr. Rami Abielmona, VP of Research & Engineering, Larus Technologies, on the agenda).

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