Automated Motion Imagery Exploitation for Surveillance and Reconnaissance

Airborne surveillance and reconnaissance are essential for many military missions. Such capabilities are critical for troop protection, situational awareness, mission planning and others, such as post-operation analysis / damage assessment. Motion imagery gathered from both manned and unmanned platforms provides surveillance and reconnaissance information that can be used for pre- and post-operation analysis, but these sensors can gather large amounts of video data. It is extremely labour-intensive for operators to analyse hours of collected data without the aid of automated tools. At MDA Systems Ltd. (MDA), we have previously developed a suite of automated video exploitation tools that can process airborne video, including mosaicking, change detection and 3D reconstruction, within a GIS framework. The mosaicking tool produces a geo-referenced 2D map from the sequence of video frames. The change detection tool identifies differences between two repeat-pass videos taken of the same terrain. The 3D reconstruction tool creates calibrated geo-referenced photo-realistic 3D models. The key objectives of the on-going project are to improve the robustness, accuracy and speed of these tools, and make them more user-friendly to operational users. Robustness and accuracy are essential to provide actionable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information. Speed is important to reduce operator time on data analysis. We are porting some processor-intensive algorithms to run on a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) in order to improve throughput. Many aspects of video processing are highly parallel and well-suited for optimization on GPUs, which are now commonly available on computers. Moreover, we are extending the tools to handle video data from various airborne platforms and developing the interface to the Coalition Shared Database (CSD). The CSD server enables the dissemination and storage of data from different sensors among NATO countries. The CSD interface allows operational users to search and retrieve relevant video data for exploitation.