User-Configured Situational Awareness Mashups

The Department of Defense (DoD) is increasingly interested in having front-line soldiers carry handheld computing devices to support their missions in tactical and hostile environments. Such devices could also support missions of search-and-rescue, humanitarian aid, or disaster response. However, current mobile systems either provide too much information or the data is fragmented across multiple systems. Vast amounts of data make customized filters important. But with current smartphone software, users cannot add new capabilities, such as unique filters, easily.

The SEI is developing a capability that allows soldiers and first responders to build customized mashups of data from multiple DoD and public sources and to view the results on a single display on Android smartphones. Users will also be able to easily add relevant information about mashup elements, or other elements of interest, using their smartphones.

This work consists of two activities. The first activity, development of an app called ListPad, provides a list-based user interface for rapid entry of unstructured information into a smartphone. Although the user types unstructured text (similar to typing on a notepad), the underlying mechanisms save the information in a structured format. ListPad minimizes the cognitive load on the user through contextual clues that inform data-entry autocomplete and automatic data-type detection. Preserving the structure of data makes it easier to relate new data to existing data, and to analyze and share the data.

The second activity, development of an app called eMontage, allows end users to rapidly configure map-based interfaces on a smartphone that filter data from multiple databases containing geo-located data. The map interface is configured using a "rule-by-example" approach in which rules are executed dynamically on a proxy server. Users can then apply these rules to increase the relevance and reduce the volume of the data displayed onscreen.

Publications

Simanta, Soumya; Cahill, Gene; & Morris, Edwin. "eMontage: An Architecture for Rapid Integration of Situational Awareness Data at the Edge." Presented at the Software Engineering Institute Architecture Technology User Network (SATURN) Conference, Minneapolis, MN, May 2013.

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