Powerful GIS toolsets for intelligence professionals

October 22, 2020 Pierre Bilodeau

Organizations are challenged to analyze large volumes of data to make timely and informed decisions. In the Defence and Intelligence communities, synthesizing data for better insights is a matter of defending our national sovereignty and protecting our well-being. The people at the forefront of these challenges are Intelligence Analysts, whose role is to collect information from multiple sources, analyze their patterns, predict outcomes and prevent tomorrow's threats. The need to integrate and link data to extract actionable intelligence and enhance understanding across teams has always been present, but never more important than today.

The theme of integrating data and exploiting relationships is truly evident in this year’s ArcGIS release. ArcGIS Pro Intelligence is a custom application designed for intelligence professionals working in Defence, Intelligence, National Security, and Public Safety. It leverages the powerful ArcGIS Pro desktop application to provide a custom managed configuration, offering streamlined workflows and specialized tools to help analysts examine spatial relationships, detect patterns, and select the most likely course of action. Its unique configuration and intuitive menu help deliver mission critical insights and share intelligence products much faster and more efficiently.

Take the example of creating Link Charts to help analyze and identify relationships that are not easily seen in raw data. The visualization of Link Chart networks helps provide a better understanding of how these connections relate to the organizational structure of the network. Networks can consist of anything from social media connections, military command structures, computer networks, and a variety of transaction-type data. Link analysis can help select priority targets and shape your intelligence collection strategy. ArcGIS Pro Intelligence 2.6 was recently updated with additional link chart commands for centrality, neighbourhood, and clustering analysis, to give analysts more options in performing spatial analysis of network connections. 

What’s more exciting about the update to link charts is the ability to create, edit, and view them in ArcGIS Pro outside of the Pro Intelligence configuration. This extends the value of your intelligence products and widens access to information across different groups, while allowing you to leverage outside expertise and contributed intelligence from partners. 

Esri also added a new Movement Analysis toolset containing tools that analyze point track data including comparing tracks over different areas, extracting unique identifiers from a point tract dataset, and identifying locations where tracks meet. For example, this new toolset can identify locations where multiple unique tracks have dwelled for a defined time period, therefore signaling potential meeting locations for people or targets being tracked.

The volume and velocity of operational data continue to define the intelligence cycle and the need for rapid analysis and product dissemination. It is therefore very important for Intelligence Analysts to harness new GIS capabilities within their organizations. If you’re ready to get started, install the new ArcGIS Pro Intelligence 2.6 version now available with your ArcGIS Pro Installer and explore the new tools for yourself. But be sure to join us on Thursday, November 19, for a webinar, “What’s new in ArcGIS Pro Intelligence” to learn more about this new release.

This post was translated to French and can be viewed here.

About the Author

Pierre Bilodeau

Pierre A. Bilodeau is the Defence and Security Industry Manager at Esri Canada. His efforts are focused on advising customers how to use GIS technology to support their mission planning, situational awareness, and decision making activities. Pierre joined Esri Canada in 2008 after 32 years of service as a Military Engineer Officer, including 18 years with the Defence Geospatial community. Pierre believes that all you need to succeed is a good plan, a “map” to get there, and the courage to press on to your destination. Map on!

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