Got A Pirate Problem? There’s Even an App For That

Arr, matey.

The Department of Defense will begin funding an Office of Naval Research (ONR) – sponsored project aimed at developing Web applications to help multinational navies police the world’s oceans, officials announced.

Pirates, ye be warned! 

I don't know how effective this technology will be if you're...you know...fighting 18th century pirates. Capture of the Pirate, Blackbeard, 1718 depicting the battle between Blackbeard the Pirate and Lieutenant Maynard in Ocracoke Bay (Painted by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1920)

The International Collaborative Development for Enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness (ICODE MDA) was one of 14 projects selected by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to receive $1 million awards beginning this fall through the Coalition Warfare Program, which funds international collaborative research efforts.

The ICODE MDA project is a research alliance between ONR and Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific). ONR is partnering with scientists in Chile to build widgets, or Web-based applications, for use by sailors and maritime operators to analyze data and other information to combat pirates, drug smugglers, arms traffickers, illegal fishermen and other nefarious groups.

“A lot of maritime threats occur in developing parts of the world,” said Dr. Augustus Vogel,associate director for Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa in ONR-Global’s Chile office. “Our goal is to develop partnerships with countries that have maritime threats to help solve those problems.”

ONR will tap researchers at the Technical University of Federico Santa Maria, one of Chile’s top engineering schools, to create Web-based tools in an open source environment. The work will focus on producing software to improve automation, small-target detection and intent detection.

Oy!  Avast!  Or is that only said during sword fights…

Ultimately, the software will be compatible with multiple maritime network systems so that navies around the world can use the tools and share information for global operations.

Talk about an anti-piracy campaign eh? Get it?

“We’ll take those tools and integrate them into a widget framework that can be part of a coalition-accessible Web portal,” said John Stastny, an engineer in the advanced analysis systems branch at SSC Pacific, who is helping to lead the ICODE MDA project.

The effort in Chile is part of a larger collaborative project that encompasses nations in Africa, where ICODE MDA has been underway with researchers at the University of Ghana, University of Pretoria, University of Mauritius and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa.

That’s right you scurvy dogs, it’s a new techno-generation.  So watch out all ye who sail under the black flag, we’ve got our (metaphorical) cannons trained on you.

For more information about ICODE MDA, click here!

Information for this article provided by the Office of Naval Research

Jessica L. Tozer is a blogger for DoDLive and Armed With Science.  She is an Army veteran an avid science fiction fan, both of which contribute to her enthusiasm for technology in the military.

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