20 Dec

Company Spotlight: BAE Systems

How do you compile results from hundreds of different sensors as one image rather than a hundred different ones? How is it possible to map an ever changing, dynamic environment and report in near real time? BAE Systems Inc. holds some of the solutions. This nearly ten billion dollar corporation, employing 32,000 people in the US subsidiary, is based in Arlington, Virginia. The international company covers a wide variety of products and services for air, land, maritime and cyber domains. BAE Systems offers many capabilities and products, all of which can be traced back to geography.
Perhaps the most widely used among those products is the GXP (Geospatial Exploitation Products) project, a commercial product. GXP enables BAE Systems Inc. to develop advanced geospatial intelligence for the discovery and exploitation of information. It is a commercial product that they license around the world, reaching tens of thousands of customers.

BAE Systems also employs C4ISR systems (Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance): you can think of it as a model that builds systems which sense the environment from anywhere: from underwater, to looking at the surface of the earth, and even outer-space. It takes information that is sensed in the environment and compiles it into data that can be analyzed. It looks for patterns, has supporting systems that reason over the environment, can help militaries in their understanding of the terrain, and can also support relief operations. These are tools that allow for an essential understanding of what is going on in a very dynamic environment. When hurricanes hit and relief workers need to be properly positioned to manage workflow, these tools effectively become lifesavers. BAE Systems was able to provide hurricane relief using C4ISR this past hurricane season. For these multiple capabilities, C4ISR systems are fairly sought after by federal and local governments as well as commercial parties.

To gain more insight into BAE Systems, AGS spoke to David Logan, who leads the C4ISR systems department of BAE Systems Inc. Mr. Logan explained that a common conundrum for their clients is the challenge of addressing very large volumes of data. They often need to process very diverse sets of data to find confirmation or look at patterns and trends. In having to process data from the external environment, clients face the challenge of knitting together the disparate types of data. For instance, a common data challenge might be processing the physical movement of people paired with terrain, roads, moving vehicles. Logan explains, “Making that into an integrated view is a problem that many of our customers need to address. BAE Systems Inc. helps provide decision needs and tools that will help those customers, not to just collect and analyze the data, but also adapt the way that data is collected over time.”

For future developments, Mr. Logan is excited to see progress in machine-type-learning to be more effective in analyzing and making use of geographic and geospatial data. In many cases, the company looks at small bits of information hidden in large volumes of data. Their machine learning systems allow for quick, simple processing of those large volumes of data, especially in picking up patterns or anomalies that would be very difficult for humans to find in a timely manner. At the moment, BAE Systems Inc. is heavily investing in applying machine learning like- capabilities to be able to aid operators and analysts.